My Mysterious, Miraculous Cure.

 For the past eight years I’ve had asthma, the main symptom of which was frequent coughing. Several times a day the coughing would progress to a full-blown asthma attack with thick mucus building up in my throat and lungs.

My doctor sent me to a pulmonologist who measured my lung capacity and poked me with needles. He prescribed two kinds of inhalers, a steroidal nose spray, and an antihistamine.  At his suggestion, I bought special covers for my mattress and pillow; I washed my sheets every week in hot water; I even replaced my wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.

I was a good, obedient patient, doing everything he told me to do even though it didn’t seem to be helping. But hey! Maybe I would have been worse without it, and he didn’t seem to have any other workable ideas. (He’d already tried a scan of my sinuses and sent me to a gastroenterologist to see about GERD.)

On my own, I bought doctor-written books on asthma, changed my diet, did time-consuming breathing exercises.  (Are you getting tired of all this? In case you’re already bored, I’ll jump now to the cure.)

The Cure.

One of the side effects of my asthma was dental problems. I spent a good portion of most days sucking on cough drops. I think you can imagine the effect all that sugar had on my teeth.

One day last month (only weeks after a previous dental appointment) I noticed a bad taste in my mouth. I traced it to an upper molar and quickly called for a new appointment.

The tooth already had a crown, but I thought the dentist might be able to put a little filling down at the edge of the crown. But no. The crown had to be cracked in two and taken out. Well then, I thought, maybe she could give me a new filling and a new crown. Sorry. No can do. Oh, dear! I thought in my usual understated way. Not a root canal!

Nope. Not even a root canal. The tooth had to go.

I’d never had a tooth pulled before. Well, as it turns out, you don’t really get a tooth pulled. They extract it. A specialist cuts into your gums and digs the tooth out. In my case, the tooth had three roots, each heading in a different direction.

It was a long procedure, done with an adequate amount of pain killer. Not long afterwards, though, the meds started wearing off and my mouth hurt. That afternoon, I was focused on the pain and the bleeding. I barely noticed that I wasn’t coughing. Strange! By the next day, I still wasn’t coughing. Stranger still.

That was August 17, and I haven’t had an asthma attack since.  I guess I’m cured. Hurray!!!

So … how did that happen? Like I said, it was a mysterious cure. Although I do remember reading in one of my asthma books that a low-grade, chronic infection could trigger the immune system to overreact and result in asthma. That must be what happened. I told the dentist who did the extraction, and he said, “Hmm. Might have been a necrotic nerve.” The thing is, whatever it was, it didn’t show up on an x-ray.

Since my “miraculous cure”, many things have changed for me. When I had asthma, laughing made me cough; singing or talking for more than a few minutes made me cough. Lying on my back, eating spicy foods or drinking a cold drink, sitting still too long and exercising made me cough.

As you might imagine, it was hard to be sociable when I couldn’t laugh or engages in a conversation without interrupting it with my coughing. Now I’m feeling more friendly.

Last night my daughter and I watched Spy with Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law. It was hilarious. I laughed until I cried.

I hadn’t done that in a very long time.

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About Nicki Chen

About Nicki Chen Nicki Chen is a writer living in Edmonds, WA. Her first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is set in China during the Japanese invasion and occupation, 1937-1945. She's working on a second novel set in Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation where she and her late husband lived in the early '90s.
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48 comments


  1. Oh Nicki!! I’m so happy for you! That is amazing! Makes me wish I knew a good joke to include with this comment, since laughter is something you can indulge in without ill effect.

    I’ve had teeth extracted. Not fun. But what a great result for you. 😀




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  2. So sorry to hear about the tooth extraction but no more asthma and you can laugh all you want! 😀 I hope that the no-tooth isn’t bothering you and you are able to eat what you want. Moving forward, in a way maybe this is a new lease of life for you, one with many more smiles and laughing non-stop, haha lol 😀

    I’ve always had asthma, had it for as long as I can remember. It’s pretty mild and doesn’t get in the way of my day to day activities except when eating spicy foods where it makes me cough a bit.




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    • The lack of a tooth does feel strange, but I’m going to get an implant in a few months when everything has healed.

      I’m glad your asthma doesn’t interfere with your life. Mine was really uncontrollable. I avoided some social gatherings because I hated to disrupt them with my coughing. I sat at the aisle in movies so I could walk around the lobby when an attack started, as it usually did. So yes, I have a new lease on life. I can go to movies and plays and social gatherings and enjoy them all the way through.




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  3. Wow. So glad you’re cured! All those years of treating the symptom but not the cause. Wishing you continued good health!




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    • I think the general belief among doctors is that there’s no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled. My asthma didn’t fit that mold. It couldn’t be controlled, but eventually it was cured.




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  4. Maureen Rogers

    HI Nicki, I can’t believe you’re cured. I’ve watched you for several years deal with this issue. And to think it was related to a nerve/tooth problem! I guess you can stop those crazy exercises now. Congrats on finally finding a real cure!




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    • Thank you, Maureen, for sticking with me when I couldn’t stop coughing. Last Thursday, to celebrate, I let Dianne and Katie read first and second. It was nice to read my pages last and still be able to do it.




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  5. Now that really is interesting, Nicki… So glad you are feeling better! The medics have been messing me around for months. Maybe I should try the dentist too…




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  6. CAM

    I’m so glad you’re able to enjoy laughing and singing again! It must be such a relief.




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    • It is a relief, but I still have a way to go to get my singing voice back. Today at Mass, I could sing all the verses of the first song, but my voice was gone by the second. It came back more or less by the last song. I guess I need to practice singing around the house.




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  7. What a story, Nicki! I’m so happy to hear that extracting that tooth has been your miracle cure. I’ve heard about people suffering with what they thought were sinus issues, but really a problem with a tooth. For some reason I’m not longer receiving your posts in my WP Reader. Has something changed on your end? I’ve tried to subscribe via email, but no luck. I apologize for my absence.




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    • I suspected sinus from the start. The pulmonologist sent me for a CAT scan I think it was of my sinuses. I guess they were so focused on the sinuses that they didn’t see the tooth.

      I wish I understood the technical aspects of WordPress. I looked on my lists. You’re not on the “WordPress.com Followers” list, but I see your name on the “E-mail only Followers” list. It says you joined 2 years and 11 months ago. Do you still have the same hotmail address?




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      • Yes, I have the same address. I’m not seeing a “Follow” button on your blog. All of your posts used to come into my WP Reader.




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        • At the top on the right, it says “Subscribe to Blog via Email.” Then it gives a place for your email and a place to click “Subscribe.” I hope that will work for you.




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          • I’ve done that already, but never received a confirmation or any of your posts. I was referring to the “Follow” option that WP has to allow posts into your Reader.




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          • I always subscribe by email, so I’m not too familiar with using WP Reader. I do have three little round buttons in the top right, Twitter, Facebook, and another thing. (Someone else set it up for me.) If you click on the other thing, it says, “Subscribe to this feed using Live Bookmarks.” Also, under META, there’s Entries RSS. I wonder if I have a different version of WP. That may be why I don’t have the button you have.




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          • Don’t ask me what I did, but I did some tinkering in WP and now your post from today is in my Reader. I’ll keep my eyes peeled next Sunday.




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          • That’s great, Jill. I hope it continues to work.




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  8. How wonderful and of course also what interesting story. Who would have thought that asthma would be cured for you after such procedure!
    Makes you wonder how many people might have similar health issues caused by tooth problems




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  9. Wow! My family has the asthma gene. I don’t have it but my grandmother, mother and brother did/do. A low grade chronic infection can cause a lot of things like IBS. The problem is finding it. So glad you were successful. I know all the stuff you had to do to treat asthma. What a freedom!




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    • I can imagine infection being linked to cases of other autoimmune diseases. Also, wasn’t it an Australian doctor who found a connection between some bacteria and ulcers? We still have a lot to learn about our bodies.




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  10. That is fantastic and fascinating. Chronic, low-grade infection. Wow.




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  11. Amazing, awesome, and fantastic news!!!




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  12. How weird . . . and wonderful!
    Life is full of surprises ~ glad this one has been a pleasant change for you.




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  13. So many health issues can arise as a result of tooth/teeth problems. Heart diseases and tooth rot seem to have a strong connection that the medical community are just beginning to uncover. Such good news that the asthma has gone/settled down whatever..enjoy some mildly spicy food and lots of laughter!!

    It even applies to animals. When in Scotland last month I took our elderly border terrier to the vet for a general check-up. The vet discovered he’d developed a heart murmur, and he also had one nasty tooth. Two days later they extracted (!) the tooth; two weeks later, he was fine, and the heart murmur had gone…




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    • Your terrier’s experience is so exciting. It’s wonderful when a doctor (or vet) finds the cause of a problem and can do more than treat the symptoms. Thanks for sharing this interesting story.




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  14. PAT Taffera

    Nicki, maybe you might add another previous enjoyment back in your Sundays! We would love you to come back and sing with us🤗😍😊😁!
    I am so happy you have been freed of this debilitating illness! Thanks to God! (And the dentist)!haha




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    • I’d love to come back to the choir, Pat. If I can just get my voice back. Eight years of coughing has been hard on my throat, and my vocal chords are really out of practice. I seem to be able to sing one song and say a few prayers before my voice gives out. I need to work on it. I’m sure singing at home will help. You have such a beautiful, powerful voice. I’m impressed each time I hear you sing.




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  15. So strange!! But I’m so glad you’re cured now!




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  16. Jeri Hansen

    Nicki, what a wonderful outcome!!!! So glad you were able to recognize that after the tooth was gone (pulled in my words) that you didnt need your Asthma medication. Hope one day we can both walk into Edmonds, like we are 20 years old,for a cup of Tea.




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  17. That is an amazing result, Nicki and I’m so happy for you. Having had a tooth out a few months ago I know how big a task that is…but what positive side-effect for you. My asthma also causes me to cough whenever I laugh…some films are almost lethal for me as I struggle for breath. It’s interesting to read about the consequences of low grade infection, I wonder how much this affects people overall? A lot more than one would imagine, I’d guess. Keep smiling, laughing…hooray, no more coughs! 😀




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    • It’s such a shame when we have to curtail our laughter because of asthma. I hope you’ll find something that helps so you can laugh to your heart’s content.

      I was wondering why we talk about “pulling” a tooth, so I looked it up. Before the 18th century, that was what was done, often by barbers tying a string around the tooth. Then they came up with various instruments, like a dental key and forceps. It didn’t always work out. “Often, the tooth shattered as the key was turned and had to be plucked from the bleeding gum tissue piece by piece.”

      Here’s a bit of history that relates to my situation: “Before the discovery of antibiotics, chronic tooth infections were often linked to a variety of health problems, and therefore removal of a diseased tooth was a common treatment for various medical conditions.” I guess they knew something about the link between infected teeth and other health problems long ago.




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      • I hope so too, Nicki – I like to laugh! There’s a few scenes in films like RV where I will be laughing, eyes streaming and then have such a huge coughing fit it’s scary. Alas my tooth extraction didn’t have such a positive effect but interesting piece of history. Oh, my dentist actually pulled the tooth out…lovely guy, so gentle but I was surprisingly emotionally overwrought for a couple of days afterward.




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        • It’s interesting to hear that your dentist pulled your tooth out. I guess it depends on each individual person’s situation. Seeing the x-ray of my tooth, it looked like the three roots were spread out in three directions. Maybe that was why it couldn’t be simply pulled out.

          Best wishes.




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  18. So glad the coughing went away! I mean, it wasn’t great that you had to get your tooth extracted to get the results you wanted…but hooray that you’re able to really do things without discomfort now!




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    • Thank you for the good thoughts, Jennifer.

      The other problem with my asthmatic cough was that I used lots of cough drops to keep it under control, and the sugar in the cough drops was hard on my teeth. A vicious circle.




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  19. I’m glad that you found the reason for your asthma, Nicki. I’ve been told that teeth affect our health much more than we think. So it’s good to keep up with our yearly or bi yearly check ups. Take care!




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    • I was worried that, despite my bi-yearly checkups with the dentist, I was having more dental problems. The reason: I needed to use lots of cough drops to keep my cough under control. It was a circular problem. I’m so glad I don’t have to stuff my pockets with cough drops anymore.




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