Asthma Took Away My Childhood
I've had asthma since I was born. Severe, persistent asthma that flared up at anything and everything, but especially during exercise. It was awful-- no one would want to play with me and some kids even thought I was contagious. I was an energetic child, too, who loved to explore. This had me constantly having to slow down and get a puff of my inhaler since asthma affected my childhood.
When we got out of homeschool and into a regular school, I was ecstatic to join cheerleading. They never ran so it would be fine, right? Wrong. We had to run laps for exercise among other high-intensity workouts. I found myself in and out of the hospital and constant ER visits.
My asthma attack after a game
Then, one night after a game I was having an attack. We didn't have any medicine for me as we couldn't always afford it. We had to call an ambulance to my house as mom tried carrying me out of the house.
I remember it all vividly. I collapsed to the grass when mom was standing me up. My chest was on fire and all I could do was scream (mind you, it was around 3 in the morning) help as loud as I could, crying and sobbing. I thought I was about to die.
Trip to the hospital
Finally, the ambulance came and they got me in. They had to put me on oxygen, but my O2 still wouldn't go up. So, they gave me a nebulizer at the same time and started on some steroid shots. I was exhausted, struggling, and facing my worst fear.
I can remember starting to doze off, but they kept making me talk and shaking me a bit to keep me awake. Later they started talking about intubating me because I wasn't getting any better.
Everything ended up okay, thankfully, and I had to stay at the hospital for a week on oxygen. I hated it. Missing the games and practice and new routines. Missing my friends and my boyfriend. No one came to see me, except my family.
My asthma got worse
After that, my asthma seemed to be worse. Everything winded me. In high school, they forced me to run the pacer test to pass gym class. I managed to run about 5 before I would collapse and have to go to the nurses, who would then have to call an ambulance. I had an ambulance called to the school around 4 times, and the nurse took me herself twice.
There were a few times when my O2 would be great, but I would be struggling. I later found out it was because I had dysfunctional vocal cords, which my doctors believe could be from me being choked by a bully in school.
I hated it because so many people would tell me-- and still tell me that it's all in my head. That if they have asthma (controlled, mild asthma) and can do that stuff, then so can I. They would say I'm faking it or overexaggerating.
Asthma affected my childhood
Vocal cord dysfunction and asthma both took away my singing. My passion for singing, cheering, and everything else was stripped away from me and as a child, I got severely depressed. I loved running and sports and moving around and yet it was the one thing I was unable to do.
Now, I am better. I still struggle with severe asthma and deal with a lack of medication since I work to support myself and it isn't always easy, but I manage enough. I've only had one hospital visit this year!! I still can be a bit bitter about how much I missed out on in my childhood because of my asthma. However, I am glad that I still have my life and that I was able to get the help I needed so I can keep pushing on through.
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