Aaron Foulds is a severe asthma sufferer. We were delighted to welcome him to share his thoughts on his life coping with asthma but also to hear how he feels asthma care can be improved in the UK and beyond.
How long have you had asthma?
I have had asthma all my life but it wasn’t until my family changed doctors when I was about 6 years old that I was formally diagnosed as asthmatic. I remember the day I got my first inhaler. It was a powder in a capsule type. I can’t remember the name of it but it wasn’t very effective or pleasant to use especially as a child.
Does asthma rule your life or do you control it?
This is difficult to answer as there have been times it has controlled me and times I have not let it beat me. As I child and teenager it definitely ruled and ruined my life. As an adult, I have, on a number of occasions gone to work rather than A&E when my asthma has been very bad. My stubbornness has probably put my life at risk on several occasions, just because I wouldn’t let my asthma win.
Currently, I’m in a new phase. My asthma has been poorly controlled for a number of years. There have been numerous A&E visits and I spent a month in the hospital on the chest ward last year. The various medications, inhalers and prednisolone have not worked quite as expected and I have now started showing signs of the many side effects of long-term steroid use.
So late last year I decided to take back my life with some new thinking, my own research and a supportive local wellbeing medical team, who are buying into my thinking and I’m buying into their thinking and research too. We are being radical compared with standard severe asthma treatments and I’m currently about 5 months A and E visit free.
Are you happy to share what medication you have been prescribed to control your asthma?
My current medication is;
- Azithromycin 250mg 3 times a week.
- Esomeprazole 40mg tablets twice a day.
- Fexofenadine 180mg 1 a day.
- Fostair 200micrograms two puffs twice a day.
- Gaviscon used at night.
- Salbutamol 100 micrograms 2 doses 4 times a day or as required through a blue spacer.
- Uniphyllin Continus 200mg twice a day.
Does this shopping list work in controlling my asthma? No, not totally I still have plenty of bad days.
What is a typical day for you living with asthma?
There isn’t a typical day, to be honest. Some days start with waking up in the early hours in bed and having to take my reliever inhaler but it’s not always that way. It is the same with when I get up in the morning I may or may not need my reliever but more often than not.
Walking is difficult but is a little better than this time last year I was struggling to walk a 100 yards full stop. Now I can just about walk it with the aid of my reliever and a number of breathing techniques that my physio has taught me. I can walk longer but it involves frequent stops and puffs of my reliever.
My work is sedentary in nature which, to be honest, it was always going to be. I carry a lovely black “Man bag” around with me. This has my reliever, spacer, peak flow and my very own oximeter in it. It’s the must-have accessory for all severe asthmatics
Click here to read part two of the interview