Saturday, September 15, 2012

Singulair...No Magic Fix

Things have been a bit wild around here the past few days.  At least for me anyway.  I last posted on Wednesday when I was feeling down and my motivation was low.  I didn't exercise on Thursday, I just didn't feel ready for whatever reason.  But I continued to eat light and that helped lift my mood.  I also went to the doctor on Thursday and spilled my laundry list of concerns.  I'm not anemic, I had a physical back in April and they tested my iron levels - totally normal.  No reason to believe it's changed now.  She wasn't concerned about my hot flashes.  But she was very interested in my report of wheezing in the afternoons and sometimes with exercise.  After all was said and done she diagnosed asthma - either allergy or exercise induced - and prescribed Singulair (and asked me to carry an inhaler until it kicks in).  I was to take it for two weeks and then have a follow-up appointment with her.  Today was my second dose.  More on that in a bit.

Friday was my WW meeting and it really helped to get my head back in the game.  Of course seeing a weight loss on the scale that morning helped too.  It was only .6 pounds but it might as well have been 5 I was so thrilled.  I went to the gym too.  I'd planned to do a recovery week type session but when I got there I felt the need to do a normal session, as if I had to prove something to myself.  So I did the upright bike on level 8 for 25 minutes and while it was harder than it had been before, I got through it.  My last gym session was on 9/3 so I hadn't been in the gym for 11 days by that point.  Of course things will be a bit harder.  After the bike I did back/biceps/core.  I left the gym feeling like things were getting back to normal.

Normally I take today (Saturday) off but doing my long run today worked much better for our weekend schedule.  And since I've hardly exercised this week there was no reason it wouldn't work.  But I had to do my 9 mile run in the hot afternoon so I headed out to the Sausalito-Mill Valley trail for some cool bay air.  Things started out well enough, I was running in the 10:30 range and running felt really easy.  Which, considering I hadn't run in 13 days, I was super pleased.  I don't know when exactly the run got "hard" but I know by mile 7 I was counting the minutes.  And the weird thing was my heart rate, it was much higher than normal, especially considering I didn't feel like I was breathing hard or working that hard cardio-wise.  My legs were feeling very heavy though and my pace was getting slower and slower.  By the last mile I was fighting to stay under a 12 minute mile and my heart rate was in the high 160's.  Weird.

So of course I wondered if the Singulair had anything to do with it.  I came home and started to Google Singulair and weight gain.  But you know how Google offers suggestions as you type.  I got Singulair and typed out when Google suggested and weight gain.  Of course I had to check that out.  Holy Mackerel!  The first link was pages and pages of (mostly women it seemed) writing about unexplained weight gain after starting Singulair.  I read a few pages of the posts and it was enough to scare me away.  Yes, I am that bad patient that reads about scary side effects on the internet and stops a medication without consulting her doctor.  I will carry the rescue inhaler on my runs though, just in case.  The doctor did manage to put the fear of death into me on the possibility of an asthma attack, "this is exactly what we see, someone like you, fit and healthy, who has no idea of the asthma and has an attack and the results can be catastrophic."  I took catastrophic to mean death.  So sure, I'll carry the inhaler but I'm not taking that Singulair.  I'd already been down on the idea of having to take a medication for the rest of my life anyway.  And I talked to a nurse friend who gave a lot of CAM suggestions to consider.  In reading more online there are a lot of folks out there like me, who have mild asthma (if I do indeed have asthma), and don't take meds for it.  So what I hoped would be my magic solution for being tired - doc thought having lower oxygen from the wheezing could be making me tired - and what I also hoped would lead to faster run times (more air = better running, right?) isn't going to work.  I'll see the doctor in two weeks and see what she thinks about all this.  I hope she doesn't lecture me.

Alright, I have my calf compression sleeves on and I've been icing my knees.  Now I'm off to bed so I can get at least 7 hours sleep tonight.  That has to be the new bare minimum.  I can't skimp on sleep and then go to the doctor complaining about being tired, that just doesn't make sense.  Night all! 


  1. I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma this year and was given an inhaler to use 30 minutes prior to my runs. It has helped tremendously and I haven't had any issues. I only use it with running (don't need for indoor activities like Zumba), because my allergies are what make it worse. Maybe talk to your doc about that option.

    1. Thanks Betsey! That's the kind of option I need, I'll ask the doctor. In the meantime, I'm carrying the inhaler on my runs just in case.


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