I am – as the name of this blog indicates – asthmatic. I don’t know a life of not being an asthmatic, atopic, eczema suffering human being. BUT. I do know a life that is getting better and better everyday WITHOUT MEDICATION.
From the beginning:
As I mentioned, I was always allergic to basically LIFE and supposedly had my first asthma attack at 2 years old. My father has asthma and his side of the family is extremely allergic, so the condition had to stick somewhere. Some people have asthma and allergies that get better with age – mine gets worse (fun!)
If you are confused about your type of asthma and allergy I suggest you go see a doctor but if you just want to understand the basics go here:
Even though living with asthma is sustainable it really sucks. As a kid I dreaded the pool, I couldn’t run, and couldn’t play with too much excitement on my own birthday parties or it could well turn into an asthma attack. I couldn’t get near a cat and I had to bring shots and tons of equipment to trips, which made my friends life a living hell.
That said, my mother was restless in trying all sorts of treatments. I had this weekly vaccine treatment at the age of 7; tried all sorts of pills and conceptions until at 12 I went to homeopathy. I decided I wanted to try this radical thing – I couldn’t take any pills or medicine at all for a specific amount of time. Needless to say, it resulted in allergic crisis, attacks and severe inflammations and me passing out of fever. But I guess something happened because I started to get better.
I had to go back to medication because I almost gave my parents heart attacks during this extreme phase. But I also felt empowered for the first time – as if I could actually reverse this thing. One day I heard there was a free fencing class on my sports club. As a James Bond die hard fan I decided tot try. Luckily the coach was ALSO asthmatic. And he told me two things I had never heard before:
- You could actually be good at this sport and join the junior team
- I can teach you how to run
R U N ?
I could barely speed walk at that point. But yes – he did teach me how to breathe, how to run, how to control my pace and all that. And so, slowly, very slowly (years) I started to get better.
When I thought I was GOOD, running 30 minutes without much effort and going to clubs without choking on people’s cigarette I managed to twist my feet a few times, go skateboarding, rupture three ligaments and break a bone.
Guess what? One more attribute from my condition is that I have extremely flexible joints (extenuated by years of ballet classes) and my bones brake easily. Very easily.
So, there I was, thinking I had life under control, and my prognostic was surgery and nearly 6 MONTHS on a wheelchair. I needed help to pee, shower and carry a bottle of water to the living room.
That was the worst and the BEST THING EVER.
My mother was a running marathons at the time and had a fantastic running coach whose daughter was also born with asthma. I started physiotherapy and then realized how fragile my body was. How difficult walking could be. Or bending your knees. All these simple movements that I took for granted because I wanted a body that ran, swam, was allowed to dive, survive altitude and even smoke cigarettes (gross) like everyone else.
I decided then that I would take care of it. I would no longer see my body as the enemy.
I re-learned how to walk. I spoke to my mother’s trainer and he devised a really really slow and gradual plan. I would walk for 15 minutes and be literally exhausted. I was much much heavier then I had ever been from sitting on my ass for 6 months. It was a struggle to cycle at 90 rpm with no resistance.
But I kept going. I started running a bit. 18 months later, I ran a half-marathon in 2h09m!
Ok, maybe not great for a “normal“ person but freakin’ amazing for this little asthmatic boneless babe. And I don’t compare myself to other people. Some people run without a leg. Some people are born blind and ski down mountains. Some people just run. We all have our own limitations, and the beauty of running is that, first and foremost, you are just testing your own limits.
Next up: turning vegan 😉