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Asthma – Heather’s Story

When I was about 4 or 5 years old I had my first major attack and it lasted for three days. At first the doctors didn’t know what was wrong. I guess asthma was still new 26 years ago. Anyway, it was all I could do to move from the sofa because I would be so out of breath. Finally, it went away. Shortly after that, I was officially diagnosed with asthma. I was put on a lot of medications to counteract the subsequent attacks. Because of being on steroids I started putting on weight which, in turn, made the asthma worse. We later found out I was allergic to my new kitten.

allergic to my new kitten

Over the years, I had several asthma attacks; none were as bad as my first one. I was almost 18 years old when I had another severe attack. By this time in my life, we had three cats and a dog. It was the third cat, a kitten, that set me off. I joke even to this day that the cats ganged up on me and tried to kill me.  I was rushed to a hospital where they found that the oxygen in my blood was about 80%. The normal level should be in the upper 90’s (96-98%). I was put into the ICU department. I overheard doctors talking to my mother about wanting to put a tube down my throat to help me breathe. Now the reason for that, was that I was holding my breath for as long as I could because my chest hurt so much. Well, needless to say the doctor scared my lungs into getting better! The next day my O2 was about 85-90% and they were able to move me out of the ICU. Sadly though, when I was released from the hospital, we had no choice but to get rid of all three cats.

The last attack I had was back in September of 2007. I remember, because I was in the hospital when my son turned 2 years old; he is now 6. I also remember it, because everywhere I went people were telling me my lips were blue. I was in the hospital for about four days, doing breathing treatments to get my lungs to open up and recover.

Having asthma for 26 years has been very frustrating. I used to be in a bowling league and bowl every week; now I can’t do that. I used to be able to walk for miles; I can’t do that either. Because of all the attacks I’ve had, my lungs have scar tissue and I have to carry an inhaler everywhere I go, just in case I have an attack.

Now for those who have never had asthma and wonder what it’s like to have an attack. Well, I would recommend getting a coffee straw, and try to breathe in and out through it a few times. That’s exactly how it feels. It’s scary to see someone having an attack because, well, they’re scared too. If you see someone having an attack, don’t panic.

If you have any questions, post your questions and I’ll answer them as best as I can.

Heather

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