Growing up with Asthma

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.




Filed under General Ramblings

5 responses to “Growing up with Asthma

  1. Keep breathing. We would miss you if you were gone.

  2. Joy

    Thanks for your post. My son has asthma. After several trips to the doctor and ER when he was younger, they suggested it was asthma. I hate that he is on so much medication. His asthma is allergy-induced but he also can’t go out in the winter. Can you refer me to a site with those breathing techniques you were talking about? It seems like so many kids are getting diagnosed with asthma these days so I was surprised to read on this Mom’s Guide ( that tooth decay is actually the most common illness among kids. I hope my second son doesn’t get asthma but even as an infant he’s already shown some signs.

    • Hi Joy,

      Sorry for the delay in responding. I wanted to think about my answers before writing whatever came to my brain. First of all, I an not an expert nor claim to be one in asthma. All my opinions are just that and based on my personal experiences in learning how to manage the disease.

      When you think about it, there are much worse things a child could have than asthma however I can understand your concern and can see you are searching for answers on how to help. Being informed on what asthma is is the most important part of dealing with asthma. It is a disease. It does not go away and there is no cure. I have not had an attack in 12-14 years but I believe that is because I manage it and it took me until I was in my 20’s to learn how. Not knowing anything about you, I need to reiterate some of the most common triggers and hindrances to attacks and maintenance. Dust. Animal hair/dander, cigarette smoke, pollen and ragweed. Have your child avoid these as much as possible. I grew up with a cat and dog and still have cats today so it can be done, it is just not recommended and harder at times to handle (winter is usually the worst). I take claritin daily in the spring and fall to prevent seasonal allergens from affecting me. I had trouble with running and still do but I bike everywhere now and as a child with no issues. I used to use a rescue inhaler prior to exercising and it worked most of the time. This helped in gaining confidence over managing it. I was preventing or lessening the severity of the attack. Breathing while asthma is especially important. All too often and too easily asthmatics panic when having an attack. Keeping a calm mind knowing it will pass is very important. The breathing classes I took in the very early 80’s were for cystic fibrosis but ended up being very helpful for my asthma. It was focused breathing through my abdomen during rest, play and an attack. It becomes natural after a while. Long slow steady inhales though the nose. When you can’t inhale anymore hold for a count of 2 then long steady exhales through the nose as well. See if you can count to 5-7 during each inhale and exhale, hold for 2 and continue. Breathing this way calms your body and heart down. Counting occupies your mind. This breathing technique is also used in meditation and yoga to achieve calm. Don’t baby your children about their asthma. They are the ones who need to learn how to handle it. You won’t always be around and they new to be confident and sufficient in controlling it. You should go see an asthma specialist. They know more than your regular doctor and can better assess their needs. I saw my first specialist at 21 yrs old. I thought I was under control but no wear to the level I am at today. And make sure he exercises. Being fit helps control your asthma.

      Good luck. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have.



  3. Pingback: Diagnosing asthma is relatively simple

  4. Pingback: Asthma is one of the most known illnesses that are seen as chronic

What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s