Posts Tagged ‘asthma’

So this is a post I would love some feedback on, particularly from others with invisible disabilities.

My last several Krav Maga classes have not gone very well for me, and it has me wondering if I should find a way to speak with instructors about my health issues. In particular because Krav Maga classes have this borderline bootcamp feel. Though so far, when I’ve needed to slow down or even rest I haven’t gotten shit from instructors about it, so that’s good and maybe I’m making something about nothing.

The class before my last one, I had a migraine and was nauseous. I took meds before class and was feeling better, up until I started the class and it came back. So I had to take a lot of rest during the class and half ass a lot because I spent the whole class on the verge of throwing up.

I’ve also been having issues with my last several classes with my asthma due to missing my inhaler/inhaler not working. And part of the problem with my asthma is the symptoms don’t seem bad during activity. I can feel when I start having trouble breathing and need to cut back, but it looks no different than just being a bit out of breathe from working out. I might cough a little bit during an activity, but it’s actually after when it gets bad. If I push through feeling short of breath during activity, triggering an asthma attack, the coughing will progressively get worse for hours after the activity. And if it’s bad, the coughing and trouble breathing will last days. So it’s not noticeable to anyone else at the time, but is a big issue for me.

So I feel like maybe I should take time to explain somehow that due to my invisible illnesses/disabilities, I sometimes have to go slower, or take rests. I haven’t done this before now because… well I hate having to single myself out.

Has anyone else had experience with this?

Advertisements

This is just a post about me, and my health. I haven’t been particularly active recently between the plantar fasciitis and asthma.

So to catch folks up: turns out I have exercise induced asthma. Found this out after severe coughing following a krav maga class lasted several days rather than the several hours it used to. Went to my doctor, got diagnosed, prescribed an inhaler to use before exercise.

Inhaler helped but didn’t completely eliminate the coughing and trouble breathing. I then started having panic attacks when working out from panic that I wouldn’t be able to breath which just exacerbated the asthma.

Well, I finally got back to my PCP today about this. She prescribed a daily maintenance inhaler in addition to the as needed on I’ve been using. She also informed me that the as needed inhaler (albuterol) increases heart rate. Since I was (and am) supposed to use it before exercise, I think this as part of why I was having panic attacks (my fear + the physiological response to the albuterol). I feel a lot more relieved and in control knowing this.

Between this and improvements with my foot pain I’m hoping to get back to a higher activity level again.

So this post doesn’t directly address any big important topic, other than I think it’s good to recognize that health stuff happens, treatment is good, and if other folks are having trouble with a physical issue that is making it hard to exercise, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Often it’s easy to put it all down to personal failing I think, especially breathing problems which we often attribute to “I’m just not in shape enough”. This is especially a problem for fat people because when our health problems are so often boiled down to “lose weight” regardless of what they are, it encourages people to not see doctors. Yet sometimes, medical intervention is necessary to allow people of any size to exercise safely, and there should be no shame in seeking that out.

And of course ignoring health problems because “I must just be out of shape” or “I’ll see a doctor after I lose weight” can be deadly. 

I mentioned that I did a Krav Maga class recently, but I thought maybe I should write a whole post about my first class experience. It was a while ago now, unfortunately it takes me awhile sometimes to get around to writing up blog posts.

So a few weeks back now I did my first trial Krav Maga class. I’ve been wanting to learn Krav Maga for a while but it’s expensive so I hadn’t ever gotten around to actually doing it. So the closest Krav Maga studio to me has trial classes where you can come in and do a free class to see if you want to sign up. So I signed up for a Thursday evening class.

Before the class:

I got off work about 5pm as planned, rushed home because I still needed to dry the clothes for class. Rushed around to make sure I had shoes and water, only to realize that it was still over an hour before I needed to leave even for planning to be there early. So then I just relaxed for a bit, lost track of time, and ended up leaving later than planned in workout clothes with jeans over my workout capris, separate shoes (as required by them), and a water bottle. Put the address in my GPS and headed out.

So I got to the Krav Maga place and was still early for the class. I had signed up for the trial class online so when I walked in and heard “Erin?” at first I just thought it was someone who had seen an “Erin” sign up for the class, it took me a minute to realize the person who said my name was actually Claire, who I had gone to high school with!

After that I got a tour of the building from a staff person, then chatted with Claire a bit. A Krav Maga level 2 class was wrapping up so I watched for a little bit as they did some disarming moves. Honestly from the little I saw I was surprised that was considered level 2 moves, but I only saw the tail end of the class.

Level 1 Class:

Then the level 1 class I signed up for was going to start, and I certainly felt nervous. I set down my stuff in the back of the room, quickly retied my shoes and rushed to get lined up at the start. We all formed a line in front of the instructor, he asked if it was the first time for anyone and I raised my hand. Two other people in the class were there for the second time I guess, but also doing a trial. He asked if anyone had any injuries and I considered if I should mention my issues with my foot but I didn’t want to draw much attention to myself and it’s only really a big problem if I run, so I decided not to mention it. We did some bowing thing to the front then back of the room, then he says to make a circle of the room, and it took me a few moments of seeing what others were doing to realize we were being told to run laps of the room.

Oh.

“Only a problem if I’m running” and what do we start with? Running.

I was clearly not expecting a Krav Maga class to involve running.

I started out at the back of everyone but keeping pace, after a lap or 2 though I started falling behind, I was out of breath and my foot was killing me, but I kept pushing through as much as I could. I was being lapped by several people and definitely feeling embarrassed and out of shape. Then we added various arm movements while running. Then a weird sideways shuffle around the room which felt awkward and I was out of breath and just thinking this is clearly not for me.

After all this we are instructed to find a place around the room and I think, ok, warm up done, now we do krav maga, right?

No.

The downside of writing this so long later is that I don’t remember all of what we did. But there were ab exercises on the floor, jumping to the floor and back up, and then we did some punching at the air. It felt like just another standard fitness class all through this and I’m thinking to myself, just get through this hour long class and be done with it, this is not what I was looking for. I want to learn krav maga, if I wanted just generic fitness classes I could join a random gym closer to me and for cheaper.

Then we do some punching at air, fast paced, so still very aerobic and I’m still out of breath and struggling.

The instructor then makes a comment about how this isn’t some fitness kickboxing class, this is Krav Maga, punch like you mean to hit something. And I’m thinking in my head “is this really any different than a generic fitness kickboxing class?”

Seems though that this was just the warm up, though it was a long warm up in my opinion. I’m not used to a warm-up taking up a full quarter or longer of the class/session time.

Then we were instructed to get a pad from the corner and pair up. A woman comes to me and asks if I want to pair up with her. I was thankful she came and asked me because the “find a partner” stuff always makes me feel uncomfortable. I was feeling awkward and out of place already and asking to partner with someone for fitness endeavors brings back too many memories of being the fat kid in gym class who was always picked last.

I got the feeling that she was probably also an instructor though just taking the class at that moment. We started off then with taking turns one person holding the pad and the other punching it. I finally felt like I was doing what I came there for but was still out of breath and feeling very out of shape because of it. But it was getting fun for me finally, and the woman I was partnered with was incredibly nice and helpful. She kept giving me pointers on everything, showing me how to hold the pad for her to punch, and offering encouragement. After punches we took a water break and then did some kicks. Again, the woman I was partnered with was being helpful showing me what to do and giving advice. The instructor came around and corrected my stance for the kicks.

After kicks we put away the pads and in pairs practiced breaking away from someone trying to choke us from behind. I kept having to be told to be rougher when I was the one doing the pushing/choking from behind. I struggled a bit since my only time doing things like this was a required training at work on safety and getting out of chokes, what to do if someone tries to attack us, et cetera. But being a required work training, even faking everything I was apparently the most rough person in the class. Was hard for me to adjust to a situation were people weren’t afraid of being rough and wanted to practice with more realistic force.

We ended after this lining up again and doing the bows.

After class:

I hung around after chatting with Claire and waiting because by then I had had fun and decided I was going to sign up. I sat down with the two other new folks to go over the membership options. They were a lot less sure and had more questions for me whereas by then I was just like “let’s do this!” This is when I started coughing. At the start just a bit here and there, by the end of the meeting and sign up  a lot more.

I ended up signing up for the krav only option, with a year long commitment. They also do some other classes like yoga, weight lifting, and so on, but you have to have a more expensive membership to do those. I was tempted, mainly for the weight class as it would give me a change to lift with someone in person who could check and correct my form. But it was already super expensive and already going to be a struggle to fit just krav maga classes into my schedule, so I just did that.

Of course I’ve mentioned the rest in other posts- by the time I got home my coughing was pretty severe and kept getting worse all night. By morning I was still coughing constantly and ended up calling in sick to work because I couldn’t imagine trying to talk to people when I was hacking constantly like that. Not only was I coughing though, but after a coughing spasm there would be a few seconds were I felt like I couldn’t start breathing again. Coughing kept up though it got marginally better over the weekend and so I went into the doctor and was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and prescribed an inhaler.

Oh, and after I got home Claire posted a video on facebook:

At first I hated how I looked, but after a bit I liked it.

I just got back now from my second class. Went fairly similar to before. People are nice and helpful. Had a bit of a panic attack for fear of not being able to breath after. And despite the inhaler I am coughing again :-\

Still, it is fun.

My first introduction to Jillian Michaels, before I really knew about the biggest loser or anything related to that, was looking at workout videos that were available for streaming on Netflix years back and I tried one of hers, and I didn’t finish it because her mentality pissed me off so much. Specifically what pissed me off was she stated at one point something along the lines of “I know you feel like you’re dying, but you aren’t, so don’t stop”.

tumblr_mvg0xf9wln1smdqr0o1_1280

Image of Jillian Michaels with a quote “I want you to feel like you’re going to die.”

Excuse me?

Are you in my living room with me? Do you know my health background? What makes you talking to people you don’t know and can’t see qualified to actually say that none of those people are actually in danger if they push through feeling like they are dying?

That attitude and disregard for the well being of people so disgusted me that I couldn’t stand to finish the video with her. I later learned more about her and discovered that her entire fame as a trainer is based around a total disregard for the well being of others

This is also an attitude that I see often put forth  in“fitspo”- encouragement to just push through no matter how awful you feel, and the insistence that feeling “bad” is always normal.

The truth is though, not all kinds of bad feelings during workouts are normal, ok, or safe! Pushing through some of that “I feel like I’m dying” can be dangerous! “I feel like I’m dying” sometimes is the precursor to death!

The thing is, not only can someone who doesn’t know us, what we are feeling, and what our health is, say for certain if we are really ok when we feel bad during a workout, sometimes we don’t know enough to make that judgment either!

I’m thinking about this now following my brand new diagnosis of asthma!

See, after a krav maga workout last week I started coughing, which is not very unusual for me. Though the coughing kept getting worse, was far worse than ever before. and lasted longer than usual. Maybe or maybe not related to me working out around others and feeling embarrassed to stop and take a breather when I felt like I couldn’t breath.

After this I started looking up info on coughing after workouts and talked with a few people about it, since like I said- it’s far from the first time I coughed following a workout. I’ve always before though just thought that was normal. One woman replied to me online telling me she was the same, until it was so bad she ended up in the ER and found out the coughing was not normal but rather asthma. Thankfully I got in to my pcp for the diagnosis and prescribed an inhaler before ending up in the ER.

It reminds me that sometimes feeling like you can’t breathe isn’t normal out of breath from a workout, sometimes it is a serious (if not treated) medical condition!

It is really dangerous that we have this mentality that workouts should make you feel like you are dying and the correct response is always just to “suck it up” and push through anything and everything no matter what. People absolutely can get hurt by this.