I do enjoy a hot summer day. A day with so much heat it feels like the air conditioning isn’t working and I enjoy how the heat makes my back less achy from past injuries. I love how the warmth embraces me.
What I don’t enjoy is smog. Smog is evil for people with lung conditions like me. I have asthma and breathe smog every day. Sure, a lot if people have varying degrees of asthma and many different triggers but I have not met someone yet whose asthma is as severe as mine.
I commute to work on public transit. Each day when I walk from the train station to my office I can’t breathe properly by the time I reach my destination. I have to walk through the covered station that is full of carbon monoxide from the idling trains. Once I have reached outside, I then have to weave around all the smokers lighting up and try not to inhale their nasty habit as we all head in the same general direction. All this is after I have sat in a train full of people for 45 minutes who must bath in perfume and colognes for whatever reasons. My chest is already “tight” at this point and by the time I am in my office, I am officially out of breath and wheezy. I don’t panic. I don’t use my rescue inhaler. My asthma is under control and I know that using proper breathing techniques while sitting at my desk are much better to relieve the symptoms instead of taking more drugs. Then, at the end of the day, I do it all over again.
When I was young, the doctors thought I had cystic fibrosis. Only after multiple “sweat” tests were conducted, they were convinced it was asthma. I used to go to breathing classes. I got so sick at one point when I had the chicken pox, I ended up hospitalized with a partially collapsed lung and on oxygen. I got to know the nurses names at the ER because of my frequent asthma attacks when I was little. I could not play outside in the winter without starting to have an asthma attack. I could not run without an asthma attack. I still can’t run… My asthma is not just allergy or environmental. My asthma always has and always will be chronic. It is managed asthma though. Sure, I have to take meds twice daily, but that’s no big deal. I get to keep breathing.
If I ever had a chance to change my past, I wouldn’t do it. Growing up with a respiratory disease has made me who I am and I like me. If I didn’t have asthma, I would never have learned how to sew, crochet, do embroidery work, cross-stitch or build a doll house using real tools, etc. I would never have learned my love of home improvement if I didn’t have all those magazines and tonnes of craft projects. I would never know how people with other lung disorders would feel. I would never know how my Grandpa feels not being able to breathe properly due to lung cancer. I would not be the strong woman I am today and I don’t believe I would be as understanding and patient as I am today.