Last updated on December 16th, 2022 at 04:10 pm
I was born in 1939. I had my first asthma attack at the age of 3. There were not many medications then for asthma. So whenever I was breathless I was put into bed until I got better. I learned to live with breathlessness over time. I eventually grew up, got married, and had two children. Whenever I had a cold my asthma would become a problem. I was hospitalized for pneumonia right before I got pregnant with my first child. After my second child, I started going to an allergist to see if that would help with my asthma. I was given the usual tests and put on allergen shots against various things, including mold. I did not notice much difference. The doctor I was seeing believed in prednisone for asthma attacks. I gained 60 pounds that year. The asthma doctor said it was not the prednisone, I was just eating too much. This was in around 1968. At that time I checked into the side effects of prednisone and found that one of the main ones was weight gain. I then switched allergists. The new allergist did not believe in using prednisone at all. They gave me all new tests and said that mold was not one of my main allergies. I started new allergen shots. I again did not notice much change in my health.
In early June of 1976, I was exposed to a large amount of dust while hanging a banner that had been kept in someone’s attic for years. I immediately started wheezing and felt very sick. I stayed sick and breathless and went to my allergist who could not seem to figure out what was wrong with me. She continued with the allergen shots but seemed unable to do anything else for me. I spent the entire summer sick and getting sicker. I tried to get my allergist to do something for me all summer without success, though she did give me various antibiotics during the whole of that time. With each new antibiotic she tried I would feel better for a short period of time, and then just got sicker.
In early September of 1976, I went to see my family internist who immediately had me xrayed (something the allergist never did). He said I had pneumonia and gave me a prescription for one more antibiotic, but said if I was not markedly better by the next day he would put me in the hospital. The next morning he hospitalized me with pneumonia. I was put in Presbyterian Hospital in San Francisco. After numerous xrays, and the fact that each xray showed I was getting worse, the pulmonologist diagnosed me with Allergic Broncho Pulmonary Aspergillosis and I was treated with high doses of prednisone. I was taken off of all antibiotics. I was in the hospital for nine days.
From September 1976 on I had various flare ups several times a year of ABPA, and was hospitalized with pneumonia many times. In 1985, I moved to the mountains in the hopes that I would have less things to be allergic to and so perhaps I could stay well longer. I only went on prednisone when I had a flare up or pneumonia. In May of 1998, I heard that there was a medication for people with aspergillus disease. I demanded that my doctor put me on Sporanox. I remained on Sporanox at 200 mg. a day for several years and found that I no longer was getting sick with anything, no colds, no pneumonias, no hospitalizations. At the end of several years my doctor and I decided to try Sporanox (itraconazole) at a lower daily dose and I was able to lower my dose to 100 mg. a day. I increase this amount to 200 mg. a day only if I feel I might be coming down with a cold. As soon as I feel I have full control, I go back to the 100 mg. a day. I have been on itraconazole from 1976 until present and will be on it for life as long as it keeps working for me.