Being an Asthma Role Model
Being a role model with asthma isn’t about being perfect—in fact, being human is a far more attainable standard, and in my mind, a lot more admirable! The ability to admit your mistakes, personal or character faults, and where you’ve tripped up is a huge step towards growing as a human being—and, as long as you’re not using your ability to admit your shortcomings to prevent you from working on them, the ability to self-reflect and admit your weaknesses is something that people value—or, at least something that they should.
If being an asthma role model isn’t about perfection, then… What’s it about?
A quick Google search defines a role model as “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.”1 To me, at least, the most important role models are those who just live their lives—like they would without asthma—and take their asthma along for the ride, working to control it in all of the wild and wonderful situations they encounter, and not letting it stop them. They do not have to be celebrities, although they can be.
In my mind, an asthma role model does the following things—your thoughts might be different, and I invite you to share those in the comment section, below!
- Knows about their asthma: they understand how their lungs work, their triggers, but also considers how asthma is unique to each person.
- Takes their medication regularly, asks questions of their care team, and carries their rescue inhaler all the time, in case they need it
- Self-advocates when they need to, to ensure that they stay healthy
- Works with their doctor as a team, asks questions, and asks for referrals where they believe they are needed.
- Stays as active as possible, despite their asthma.
- Makes an intentional choice to not be limited by their asthma, but also knows when they need to take a break, or give themselves time to recover from an illness or exacerbation
- Does not let their asthma stop them from achieving their dreams
- Teaches people around them about asthma—even just in casual conversation.
- However… they do not talk about their asthma all the time, because they know there is much more to life than asthma!
- Stays on top of their treatment, as well as looking into new treatment options when they hear of a new available medication.
- Remain open minded, but choose to be educated and cautious, regarding new scientifically-backed treatment suggestions.
- Continually challenges themselves to achieve greater asthma control, maintain control of their asthma as best they can, but without making the quest for asthma control the focus of their life…. After all, living with asthma is about living first… asthma later.
- Finds a balanced coexistence with asthma.
Asthma is a balancing act: it affects us all differently, but I think of these things—no matter how mild or severe your asthma is—probably apply to most people with asthma. Bottom line: always strive to be better! Whether that’s changing your treatment, or your outlook.
What do you think? Do you have different criteria for who an asthma role model would look like to you? Do you consider yourself an asthma role model—or would you like to become one? Let’s discuss in the comments.
Has asthma changed your exercise routine?