Asthma Chronicles: Navigating Life with Breathless Moments
Sibling Perspectives: Contrasting Journeys with Asthma
I have asthma, or that is what I have been told for the last almost eighteen years. Growing up with asthma has not been a walk in the park, but I am handling it. This is the story of my life with asthma.
It all started when I was little, having chest pain and breathing problems. This has only gotten worse over the years. I remember being in middle school and having to leave physical education to use my inhaler because I had shortness of breath and chest pain. I remember getting out of running the mile so I would not have an asthma attack. I have physical activity-induced asthma, so I cannot breathe when participating in running or fast-paced activities. This is not just chest pain and breathing problems; I have always had a bad cough with it. Sometimes, I wonder what life is like for nonasthmatic people, being able to breathe and not always seem like you are coughing your lungs out during a coughing fit. My asthma was not nearly as bad as it is now. I had to do breathing treatments three or four times a day, but now they do no help for me.
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My sister also has asthma, but hers is not as bad as mine. When at doctor appointments, seeing the folders of our medical history, my folder was twice or maybe even three times the size of hers. My sister has never had many breathing problems like I have. I made several doctor visits and even missed many days of school because of it, but my sister did not do much. Obviously, we both inherited asthma from our father, but for some reason, mine is the worst of all three of us. My sister has pretty much grown out of her asthma, except for the occasional chest pain; I wish that was my case. Unlike me, she never had to go to a pulmonologist, and I have had to more than once, and I am five years older than her. I do not wish her asthma was as bad as mine, but sometimes I wish she or others knew how it feels for me on a daily basis.
Uncertainties and Struggles: Navigating the Complexity of Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment
Asthma attacks are not fun at all. Everyone experiences asthma attacks differently, so I am not totally sure if I have actually had an asthma attack before. I do know I have most likely had mild attacks during physical education from running, even though I should not have pushed myself so hard. Experiencing what I believe is a mild asthma attack felt like breathing through a straw while squeezing the middle, feeling very lightheaded and almost passing out, and wheezing like the stereotype of asthmatics.
Usually, wheezing is not the case for me, but during what was probably an asthma attack, that happened. My asthma, or whatever it actually is, has actually gotten so bad that when I was in regular high school, teachers actually thought I was having an attack because I was coughing so much. It got even worse towards the end of my junior year; I actually got bullied and made fun of because of my medical problem. It was not only people fake coughing, but one girl would actually push my desk forward so I would not apparently get them sick.
After all of this that I have gone through already, I still do not actually know if asthma is what I have. Doctor appointment after doctor appointment and several different medications, no one knows if it is truly asthma. Over the years, my asthma was supposed to get better, but it has not; every year, it gets worse. Lately, it has gotten so bad that I have had to go to the nearest children’s hospital to a pulmonologist, but so far, still nothing. I have had to do chest X-rays, pulmonary function tests, and more doctor appointments.
During my first visit there, the doctor said that my cough was not an asthmatic cough but actually an irritated vocal cord that repeatedly got damaged from all the coughing. Since the first appointment, I have actually had less coughing fits but more chest pain and difficulty breathing. The doctor at this hospital did not listen to me when I said a certain inhaler did not help me at all, and I still got put on the same inhaler until my next appointment. I am currently waiting for the twenty-second of January to go back to the hospital for my next appointment and pulmonary function test.
In conclusion, living an asthmatic life has not been the easiest thing, but hopefully, it will get better. To sum up, this has been the story of me living with an upper respiratory disease called asthma.
- Asthma For Dummies by William E. Berger.
- Breathing Room: An Open and Honest Conversation About Asthma by Elizabeth Vierling.
- The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology often publishes research studies and articles on asthma and related conditions.