Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Breath'n Easy"

Do you remember the Preparation H commercial, “I was twitching from the itching and squirming from the burning”? Sure that is a light-hearted advertisement, but swap those terms around a bit. Imagine twitching from shortness of breath or squirming in panic from being unable to calm your racing lungs. In a nut shell, that is an asthma attack.

I was brought into this world, at no fault of my mother’s, with asthma. Never having a drop of alcohol or abusing a single drug, my mom was and is the picture of health. Unfortunately I was going to grow up with asthma regardless. Many other people battle much worse situations, and I have an incredible life, but asthma has always been a race I cannot finish.

Thankfully healthcare has vastly improved over the past twenty-one years of my life. Controlling my asthma has transitioned from hooking myself up to a machine during every episode to carrying around nothing more than a pocket sized inhaler. Lucky me.

Much like the advancement of healthcare, I have also begun to outgrow my sickness. My inhaler usage has been depleted from an unhealthy amount of “puffs” daily to just several weekly. Despite the giant steps I have taken, the constructing of my air ways during an attack often leads to severe anxiety. My problem is that I panic and cause my asthma attacks to worsen. As I pump medicinal oxygen into my lungs during these onslaughts, I feel as comforted as a small child cradling their favorite stuffed animal.

Whether I have my teddy bear in my back pocket or not, asthma is a chore I dread each day. Each task is, to a degree, more difficult. I have always been a half of a step slower than my friends in each sport, I have always had to take that unwanted rest mid-run, and I have always had to avoid certain circumstances such as spending the night at a friend’s house because they have a shedding cat or dog.

Still, asthma has only given me that much more of a chip on my shoulder. Whether it is school, athletics, or even my social life, my will to succeed is unmatched. Having to struggle when others thrive, I have gained if even a small amount, an advantage. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I have begun to understand that each person has daily issues, and how we deal with them is the real key. Life is good, don’t worry be happy, relax and breathe easy right? In my case, as long as I have my tinker toy sized life support at my side, then yes.

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