For as long as I can remember I have had chronic asthma. My doctors used to think that it was exercise induced, and I would grow out of it, but as I got older, it not only didn’t go away; it got worse.
As I was doing a show every 6 weeks in high school, my primary function was to stay healthy enough to do the show, and then audition for the next one. Oh- and also to take all 6 of my classes and maintain a near perfect average. Due to my asthma, I was more prone to illness. Nobody seemed to know why. Some thought I was too skinny and needed more body fat on me, some thought I had a weak immune system, and some thought that I simply was a complainer with a low tolerance for discomfort.
In all actuality, (and anybody who has had pneumonia, or acute bronchitis, or any kind of respiratory infection knows) it’s not very comfortable when your airway is restricted in any way. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s scary! Try dealing with one or more of these illnesses every year! And they last a long time. So, because my life was so hectic, and I was simply trying to get through from one show to the next, I needed that instant fix. Many would say it has to do with my generations’ need for instant gratification, but in reality, it was my doctors convincing me that I needed another antibiotic, or that extra dose of prednisone.
For a long time, I needed that quick fix- and relied on it heavily. What I didn’t’ know, is that slowly, all of that good bacteria in my gut was slowly being diminished, each time I took that z-pack. Nobody told me that taking something that would help me get better would actually adversely effect my body in the long run. After all, when you’re 16 years old, you can’t imagine much more than a time past your final exams.
"117 million people in the US suffer from chronic illness"
My struggle with asthma has been endless, and tiring. It’s been extremely frustrating to say the least.
Due to all of these health issues - and a nice little trip to the ER in May - I have reminded myself that I need to find alternative preventative options to improve my quality of life without relying on persistent use of prescription medication.
I realize that not all change can happen at once. SO - I am documenting my journey as best as I can, in hope of bringing to light that 117 million people in the US suffer from chronic illness. That doesn’t mean that you are weak. I always feel like when I talk about my health that I get the comment, “you’re sick AGAIN? Aren’t you always sick? Are you okay?” Anybody who deals with daily, chronic ANYTHING knows that these questions are always the worst to deal with. How do you explain to someone that gets sick once a year (if that) that you’re constantly battling your body to remain healthy? You don’t want to be a complainer, and you also don’t want to explain to the 20th person what your ailment exactly is. Like being a huge proponent of removing the stigma from mental illness, I want to remove the stigma from chronic (if only acute) health issues, and raise awareness. I think that transparency is the best policy and unfortunately, in today’s society- we don’t get much of that. We get a lot of transparent people, with really cloudy ideas and execution.
My journey has not been simple, but I’m looking to simplify that conversation. Stay tuned for my most recent remedies and my foray into preventative care.