The summer of 2000 was one of the most humid northern Virginia had seen for years at that time. It was so thick, you could see a haze, as well as millions of black specks of mosquitoes. My family had just moved from San Diego because my dad got transferred to the military base in D.C. Needless to say, it was a little difficult that first summer exchanging dry heat to wet heat.
My younger sister and I both contracted bronchitis that summer. But, we both jumped right into sports, as we loved recreational sports. We joined soccer, which was by far the most popular of the area. Eventually, our bronchitis cleared up, but it left me with a permanent effect.
Now, I have always had seasonal allergies. When spring and fall come around, I get stuffy. In Virginia during the spring, sometimes the pollen was so bad, there was literally a yellow layer on the ground. My eyes burned, my hose was stuffed, my throat was sore.
However, during soccer, which was played during fall and spring, there were a few times that I had to take a knee because I literally couldn’t catch my breath–and I was super fit. I’d sub out, take a few minutes to breath, then I’d be ready to pop back in. During P.E., while running laps, I could easily keep pace with my athletic friends, but I couldn’t hear them breath. Meanwhile, I was very loud while trying to keep my breath and running. I wasn’t going over my speed or anything. And then, I’d cough most of the day afterward.
In high school, I started to guess if I had asthma. But, it wasn’t like what you typically saw on TV. And, because of my seasonal allergies, my family just thought that was the case. And, it did get a little better once I moved to Provo, Utah for school. But, it came with it’s own problems–I was at a much higher altitude with thinner, dryer air. And, in the winter, there is inversion (the winter clouds create a green house effect in the valley so pollution stays in the air and doesn’t clear out until it rains or snows…it makes cold, dry winters very stale) which affects me pretty badly. Sometimes, I can’t even go outside because of how bad the air quality is.
My dad was a marathon runner and he trains often and has a pretty good pace. He was also in the Marine Corps, so he was definitely in good shape with good cardiovascular system. But, he would always cough all day after a long run as well.
Justin has a generic non-prescribed inhaler due to a time that one medication gave him the side effect of a swollen throat. I’ve used it once or twice during spring and summer or after a long run or during a panic attack. But, I never thought I needed one of my own. Again, I did believe I had asthma, but it wasn’t like what you typically thought of asthma.
Throughout the past year, Rhys has developed eczema pretty badly a few times. During one of his baby well-check ups, I mentioned it to my pediatrician. Now, my mom has eczema, and my arms get pretty bumpy, a little red, and dry sometimes, but Rhys looked like he had rashes all over. My pediatrician said that it was genetic. And that eczema, allergies (hay fever), and asthma were all different entities of the same issue. They are all different manifestations, but related to each other. And, if one was present in both child and parent, but parent had more than one, it is likely that the child will develop others. I then mentioned to him about my breathing and hypothetical case of asthma (I also had a very bad, long lasting–like 6 months–upper respiratory infection/chronic bronchitis early this year) and he told me flat out it was asthma. But, since I was active and my “attacks” typically only happened with panic attacks, colds, or after strenuous activity, he prescribed me a low-key inhaler.
As per his instruction, I take before I go on runs. And let me tell you. I have never thought that you could breath so clearly while running. I never thought that your breathing could be so silent when you finish. I haven’t coughed after a run since I started taking my inhaler. I am so grateful for it. But, I am also so very grateful that it isn’t as bad as it could be. I’ve had students with asthma so bad that they weren’t allowed outside during recess during the winter sometimes. I am so grateful that I can still do my typical athletic routines.
But, I also now know to keep an eye out for Rhys since he might develop asthma as well.
So, there you have it. No real moral or lesson to this post. I’m just putting down my experience with asthma, and I’m not really sure how to end this post….
I’m Tayler, and I have asthma, but I don’t let it define me. There. The End.