Guest Interview: Kyky Knight

Welcome! In this interview, we get to know one of our community members a little more closely! We're hoping to understand how different people who live with asthma manage it on a day to day basis, understanding their asthma journey, and spread a little more awareness about asthma and what it's like to live with this condition.

We're pleased to introduce our guest Kyky who lives with asthma.

What's your name and your asthma diagnosis story?

Hi! My name is Kyky (pronounced Key-key). I was diagnosed with allergic asthma as a young child, having to take breathing treatments from as early as daycare age. I grew up in a household where my siblings and I experienced a lot of second-hand smoke and allergens, and as a very young child, I had to take several trips to the ER for difficulty breathing. As I got older, I gained more control over my asthma and allergies through a regimen of albuterol and allergy medicine, but in college, I was also diagnosed with exercise-induced anaphylaxis and asthma. This diagnosis came about when I began, for the first time in my life, to attempt to exercise regularly (something I thought to be impossible for me). I had to be rushed to the ER on two separate occasions from my college's gym after exercising caused me to experience swelling and breaking out into hives. I have also experienced random anaphylactic episodes seemingly due to nothing in particular, with asthma symptoms accompanying these episodes. I am currently on a journey to learn how to exercise with asthma as an adult.

What do you wish you knew when you were first diagnosed with asthma?

I wish I'd known more about living an active lifestyle when I was diagnosed with asthma. For as long as I can remember, I have dealt with asthma, and so I thought that my inability to move my body and be active was a fact of life for me. Because of that, I never attempted to play sports or dance or really spend much time outside. Since I was a very small child when I was diagnosed, I always thought I had been relegated to inactivity for fear of not being able to breathe or breaking out into hives. I am now learning in small ways to be more active while carefully still attending to my asthma.

What is one shocking thing you'd like to share with those who don't live with asthma?

One shocking thing I recently learned about that I'd like to share with those who don't live with asthma, thanks to an article on actually is that certain asthma medications can cause some patients to bruise easily. This was not something I had ever considered, but I have always dealt with easy bruising and am now seeking about more information about the steroid inhalers I have and do use. It can be kind of wild to see the overlap and different affects things we consume have on our body, and as someone who suffers from a few different chronic illnesses, I am always finding out new things about my body that sort of feel like a light bulb. I was totally shocked when I read about this possible correlation. This is especially interesting to me when thinking about childhood asthma patients, as parents might not know that the reason their child might bruise easily could be their asthma medicine.

What advice do you have for those who are newly diagnosed with asthma or those who are struggling?

One piece of advice I would give to new patients or those struggling is to remember that we are not our illnesses and that there are things we CAN do, even if it seems like we are not supposed to or meant to. I spent twenty-five years of my life thinking I could never succeed at regular exercise because of my illnesses, and I am learning that although I may have to explore different options for the lifestyle I would like to achieve, I am not completely limited by my asthma, and it does not define me. No, I can't just go run for miles at a time or engage in exceptionally intense routines, but I am finding that I can do more than I thought possible with a little innovative thinking and creativity. It may not seem like I am doing a lot to people who are very active, but for me, I am exploring a whole new world. I would challenge and advise those struggling (as well as myself) to try to find healthy and safe ways to challenge our illnesses and their supposed limitations on our ability to explore.

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