An Asthmatic Cyclist

 My trusty Jamis mountain bike. 

My trusty Jamis mountain bike. 

 

A little over a year ago, my lifelong asthma was diagnosed as eosinophilic asthma — something about 5% of asthmatics have. 

Basically, my body produces too many eosinophilic white blood cells, which are great at fighting parasites like ringworm, and for causing bronchiole constriction. 

After a simple blood test and some insurance wrangling, I now receive a one-a-month injection of mepoluzimab, trade name Nucala by GlaxoSmithKline. 

At my first appointment, I said to the nurse I’d read white blood cells can stay in your system for about 8 hours — I wondered if I’d feel better starting the next day. She smiled and said most people feel better within an hour. 

One injection and observation period later, and I was taking huge deep breaths. And enjoying them. There was no wheezy chaser at the end of a big inhale-exhale.  

I biked back to my temp job, and ran up 5 floors of stairs. Winded, but *not wheezing*.  

I felt like the first time I ever had espresso. 

The upshot is I’m able to chase my kids some more, I cycle commute as much as can (which I was already doing - but now I enjoy it again) and I’m going for longer rides. 50k is my longest. I’m sure I can do more but that’s a big chunk of time (4 hours) as a parent. I bike from Little Italy Toronto to Mississauga to visit my nephew on occasion, and to the Queensway movie theatre. 

I still have asthma. I still need ventolin and Zenhale. I still wheeze. But the injection stops me from having an asthma attack. I can push my self harder during exercise and just be out of breath, not wheezing.  

Being out of breath and able to deeply breathe in is a wonderful feeling that I’m chasing more and more. 

If there was a version of heaven that required me being totally alone, it would be on my bike, racing through the green of Toronto’s ravines and the sunsets on our city’s beach.  

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Not my longest ride at 42km, (26 miles Americans) but a typical route involving the Don Valley and Toronto’s waterfront. #BikeTO