Community Member Spotlight: Meet Michael Knightmage Wilson
We conducted an interview with Instagram community member, Michael Knightmage Wilson. He works in Law Enforcement and has been a Deputy Sheriff for almost 21 years while living with asthma. Michael has a passion for cosplaying and frequently posts photos on his Instagram, which you can find here. Let's meet Michael!
Our interview with Michael Wilson
When and how were you diagnosed with asthma?
My earliest memory of breathing issues was around 12 years old. I was an active kid always playing outside, riding bicycles, and playing basketball. At the time my doctor believed it to be mainly allergy-based so that was the treatment they went with. As I got older my allergies worsened, but further visits to the doctor showed it was my lung function that was the core issue.
It wasn’t until I got to be about 18 years old when I started using various inhalers and asthma treatments along with the allergy medication. Also, I’ve always snored when I slept. Every person that has been around me when I slept has said that I would stop breathing in my sleep. Of course, I would never notice it or feel anything in the morning but it was happening. Finally, at 36 years old I went to get a sleep study done and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I’ve been using a CPAP machine ever since.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned on your asthma journey?
As fundamental as it is, the most surprising thing I found out was how much better your body performs when it can breathe properly. This goes for using inhalers, as well as using a CPAP machine. I really didn’t think there was a problem until issues started getting corrected.
How has asthma impacted your life?
I’m currently 41 years old, 6’0, and 255lbs. My career is in Law Enforcement. I’ve been a Deputy Sheriff for going on 21 years. It’s a profession where things can go from zero to a hundred in a blink of the eye, as well as possibly being in a physical altercation for several or more minutes.
My passion is cosplaying where it can be physically demanding when it comes to constant interactions and photos/videos. Having asthma has actually motivated me to be more health-conscious in both physical exercise and diet. While my allergies may inflame asthma, I’ve found that proper exercise and diet helps immensely with controlling it on a daily basis.
What is the biggest adjustment you had to make since being diagnosed with asthma?
Aside from making that decision to be more active and diet conscious, just being aware that I do have it and being prepared for sudden attacks. Always having a rescue inhaler on hand as well as having backups. Making sure I’m taking my allergy medications regularly and avoiding the things I know will trigger it. Sleeping with my CPAP machine is also now a MUST, even when napping.
Has asthma caused any limitations to your cosplaying?
Not at all, but I also think that’s because I try my hardest to take those precautions that work for me so that I won’t need to have limitations.
What advice would you give to others with asthma?
First off, don’t be ashamed of it! Find out what triggers your asthma and find out what works best for you to combat it. Consult your doctors and don’t be afraid to tell them what’s working and what isn’t. Like anything, it may not be an easy fix as you may have to do some lifestyle changes but in the end, it’s worth it and you’ll definitely see a difference.
How many control medications do you take to treat your asthma?