I can’t isn’t in my vocabulary

My DNA carries some pretty powerful stubbornness. Combine that with a father who ingrained into me that it didn’t matter if I was a girl I was expected to do all of the chores he assigned and I will admit it is the perfect cocktail for making me willful.  Sometimes much to my own detriment (a la the hives I had in March).  That being said it is also my greatest asset.

Recently I was approached by an asthma company to “tell my story”.  When I popped up their Instagram page it will filled with lots of people saying that they “can’t” because of their asthma.  My jaw hit the ground.  Is this the message we want to be sending to people? Just because you have asthma you “can’t” do things?

Now, don’t get me wrong my asthma is extremely severe.  When they tried to put me on a clinical trial a couple of years ago they had to disqualify me because I ‘might’ wind up in the placebo group and my breathing off of my medication is, well, in a word horrible.  I believe the phrase the screener used was “dangerous levels of O2.” Therefore, I know I absolutely have to do what I can to help myself out.   I take my drugs every day.  I carry my inhaler everywhere I go.  My house has no carpet.  I control my environment where I can (a la bed casings). I don’t go to certain parts of the globe because, well, it will kill me.  Honestly, though, that’s about where my line ends.  If I did all of the things that I “shouldn’t” do because of my asthma I’d live in a bubble.  Being single I even do things that are on the definite no no list (lawn mowing, vacuuming) because if I don’t do them then who will?

There are days (like tonight) where my breathing is more challenged.  Even in an air conditioned studio my chest was tight.  I knew that I had to get it under control quick or risk disturbing an entire spin class.  However, I recognized the early warning signs and I took care of it.  That is truly the key to having asthma.  Find your limits and then push against them just a little bit because the next thing you know your boundary will be bigger than it was before.

Just like with running.  Never in a million years did I think I’d run 4 miles without stopping from my lungs aching, but I did it the other day. Granted, not every day is a good day. Nor am I breaking any land speed records, but I’m running.  Just like every other human being.  I push myself, on my good days, to go a little further without stopping.  On the bad days?  I still run, but there may be a bit more walking in there.

I may have asthma, but it doesn’t have me.  I will finish.  I may not get there as fast as everyone else.  I may not get there without having to take extra medicine.  I may not get there without having my trusted alert dog by my side.  I WILL get there.

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