Welcome to Healing Well! Your experience is actually similar to mine. One difference is that I had asthma my entire life. Still, it was in control. My PCP discovered that my reflux was causing my asthma to become worse. That was at least 15 years ago. Gradually, my reflux became a bigger problem, and so did my asthma.
Whatever doctor treated you first did you no favors. If you were having asthma symptoms, you needed more than a rescue inhaler. That just treats the symptoms, no the underlying cause, which is inflammation. You needed to be on a steroid inhaler as well. (like Advair)
I'm glad you went to a Pulmonologist, but actually think you might be better served by an asthma specialist. In my experience, asthma doctors seem much more in tune with how reflux creates lung issues/asthma.
The reflux is causing your lungs to become increasingly inflamed. Then when you get a cold, they become even more inflamed, which is why you become so sick and have so much trouble. The more inflammation you have before you get the virus, the more severe the inflammation caused by the virus.
You are definitely NOT crazy. After six years of having extremely sick lungs, I was finally referred to a surgeon, and had the Nissen fundoplication surgery five years ago. My PCP said that my lungs were life-threatening, and pushed hard to get me the surgery. My GI doc didn't think my reflux was severe enough to be causing my asthma problems, but my PCP was certain it was. It was hard to get my GI doc to refer me, but finally, he did.
I had the surgery 5 years ago, and I just wish I'd had it sooner. After two or three months post op, my lungs improved 100%, and I continue to do very well. From what you are saying, surgery would be a lifesaver for you.
Until then, be sure to follow the medication directions from your pulmonologist, and be very compliant. The reason the medications don't seem to work is that the reflux is continually assaulting your lungs. Therefore, the anti-inflammatory action can't get ahead of the reflux effects. Still, it's important to use the inhalers regularly. Be sure to rinse your mouth after taking the steroid inhaler.
Glad you've joined the forum. You're definitely in the right place!
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
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