a couple stand on a beach and contemplate a very large dune

Overcoming The Asthma Excuse

This past weekend my husband and I decided to drive to the Michigan coast and watch the sunset from the top of some sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan. It was a place I had never been to before and I was super excited to experience something new!

We followed the directions and arrived to the beach parking lot about an hour before sunset. Perfect. We grabbed our blanket, water bottles, and my inhaler and headed toward the entrance--which was a staircase. We started to climb and the stairs turned to sand and they kept going and going. I looked up ahead and started to panic a bit.

Was I ready for this?

I had used my rescue inhaler prior to getting to the beach in anticipation for a decent workout on the dunes, as is outlined in my asthma action plan. The moment we got to a clearing I thought we were done.

Then I looked up and saw a very tall, almost vertical dune that we had yet to climb and I stopped and told my husband that there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to make it to the top. He told me we would take it slow and take breaks. I told him I couldn’t do it because of my asthma. My husband stopped and looked at me and said, “Since when have you let your asthma stop you from doing something you put your mind to?”

I was using asthma as an excuse

He was totally right. Getting to the top of that dune was completely doable and I was using my asthma as an excuse as to why I couldn’t do it.

Having asthma has its own set of unique challenges. I want to point out that asthma is not a one size fits all disease. We are all different and what I am able to do and not do due to my lung capacity will be different than yours. Some people with asthma will have no issue climbing to the top of a giant sand dune while others may not be able to even attempt it due to the severity of their asthma.

Once I had a moment to realize that climbing that dune was feasible and I was only holding myself back out of fear and intimidation, I made the decision to go for it. Was I the fastest to the top? NOPE. I would venture to say that people were doing laps around me to get to the top, but I didn’t let it get to me. I went slow and steady and took many breaks as to not push myself past what my lungs could handle. When we made it to the top and saw the spectacular sunset I was overwhelmed feelings of pride and accomplishment.

Not letting asthma be an excuse

This experience taught me that a lot of the time I can do more than I give myself credit for. Exercising isn’t always easy for asthmatics. I know I get short of breath pretty easily and often times I use that as an excuse to just give up when all I have to do is take it slow until I can increase my stamina. It’s a marathon and not a sprint.

Have you ever overcome a time when you immediately used your asthma as an excuse for something you didn’t think you could do and then ultimately overcame your fear and accomplished what you were afraid of? I would love to hear your story!

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