Living Positively (Part 2): Embracing Asthma
In my previous post, I wrote about the conversations I have had with my friend Jay relating to positivity and choice when living with chronic disease, consider checking that out for context, but this is an okay standalone too :). Today, I’ll step past diagnosis and try to do some justice on how—wherever we're at—we can come to embrace asthma.
The word embrace in the context of chronic disease sounds ridiculous—yet, it’s a paradox that I have come to accept within my own life regarding not only my asthma, but also my ADHD and learning issues. Each of these things changes how I see my world, and recognizing this is something that has become important to me.
I cannot get rid of these diagnoses, I have no choice in living with the things I live with. I am not my asthma, I am not the atypical way my brain is wired, but they are a part of me that makes me me. So instead, I choose to embrace these things rather than fight them. “Embracing the uncertainty of chronic illness,” as Jay wrote1, is not an easy process, but it’s a worthwhile one—where I can see positives in the chaos (and recognize that, yep, it keeps my life interesting ;).)
So… What does embracing asthma mean to me?
- I do what I can to control my asthma as much as possible, so that I can live life on my terms… not asthma’s.
- Just because sometimes it’s harder for me to do things, does not mean that i shouldn’t do them.
- …But if maybe a particular day is a day that I really shouldn’t do something—like exercise during an asthma exacerbation—it means not being completely derailed or sidelined and saving that enthusiasm for another day.
- Recognizing that my asthma can indeed have an impact on others. They may not live in my body, but they deal with me—if I’m sleep deprived or frustrated with my asthma or irritable because I’ve been short of breath for days… that can affect more than just me. How you deal with your asthma affects others in a similar way.
- Realizing that at any point i may simply need a break from this disease—which may come out of nowhere. While it’s impossible, embracing asthma means dealing with my feelings and stepping back when I need to—and feeling out all the negative stuff when I need to, too.1
- I may have to change the roadmap to how I get somewhere but I can still get there. As I have said for years, asthma is not a roadblock, it’s a speed bump.
- It means that I do not have to talk about asthma all the time, but, that I am open when I need to be. My diagnosis does not define me, but, I am not afraid of or ashamed of it.
- I have the ability to demonstrate to others that yes I CAN do that, even though I have asthma.
- …And that means others can, too, if they choose to. However, everyone’s asthma is different, and embracing my asthma also means embracing the fact that everybody’s asthma is different.
- Living intentionally, and making the choices that are best for me. And yes, sometimes this means that I do decide to trade-off my asthma control for a day or three to do something that I want to that my lungs may not necessarily like. Balance.
- I recognize that—without a doubt—asthma has absolutely impacted my life positively. And I keep my eyes open for those moments, because they make the negatives more tolerable!
- I am much more than my asthma. It “doesn’t define me, but helps explain me."
For me, coexisting peacefully-ish with asthma means embracing asthma. I may find more to add to this list, but right now, that’s what embracing asthma means to me.
What does embracing your asthma mean to you?
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?