Here’s How Asthma Has Benefitted Me

Annoying: My asthma adjective

My asthma is annoying. I feel lucky that I can write my asthma down in the same column as standing in line at the DMV or having to wait for the HVAC repair person. Over the years annoying might not have always been the word I would’ve picked.

In the early days it was downright scary at times. Some of this is of course the feelings of uncertainty that would accompany any new health concern. With time, I found self confidence in knowing that I had made it through prior asthma episodes. I assume it’s a natural response to being short of breath to panic at least a little bit. After all breathing is a basic necessity for life. It was debilitating to have poor control and no idea what was triggering my asthma. As always we have own experiences with asthma and I was fortunate enough to get things under control relatively easily.
I have fairly good control. Yes, I take multiple medications throughout the day but I don’t really feel like asthma holds me back all that often. When it does it’s things like coughing after climbing the 5 flights of stairs to my cubicle or after bicycling 40 miles. Not something simple like walking to the mailbox. Yes it sucks that sometimes I can’t push as far or as fast or as hard as other people people in their 20’s. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on too much. Honestly, it probably keeps me from doing something too classically young and stupid like trying to take on a super long bike ride or do a marathon with no preparations.

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Wordcloud derived from Asthma in America survey conducted by Health Union LLC in early 2016.

It’s inconvenient that I have to carry a rescue inhaler with me everywhere especially since I’m not really a purse person. Of course there are ways to get around this; I can and do wear cargo shorts or other pants with pockets. I wouldn’t exactly say having to take daily medications and always have an inhaler is something that brings me joy.
One thing that strikes me about this word cloud is that all the descriptions we chose for our asthma are negative. I don’t see a single “empowering” or “awesome”. Maybe someday the science will get good enough that more people will fall into the place where asthma is nothing more than a speed bump in life. Perhaps we also need to think about the energy we project onto our difficult asthma times. Getting your anger and frustration out is important; scream, cry, write a poem, or crank up the punk rock. Then think about where you go from there, how are you going to define your journey. That few minutes a day you take to take medications or stop to catch your breath can be a welcome pause from the hustle and bustle. I take being told I can’t as a challenge and thus asthma gave me the motivation to try different activities. I promise I’m not always a ray of sunshine. I think that we can find some positive adjectives to describe our lives with asthma. What is your asthma adjective?

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