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Pushing Past It

We have shared quite a few recipe posts over the past few weeks. One reason for that is because food = good. Or even, excellent. I am a firm believer that one can never have too many good recipes on hand.

I mean, what if the neighbors drop by? Or your mother-in-law decides to visit? What if – shocker – you need something new, something different for a change?

Tried and true recipes from awesome people can help you come through in the clutch.

More of those to come later this week, I promise!

But today’s post is to correct a misconception. And it’s a tricky one to explain.

If you have followed our blog, you have probably read my story in No Regrets. My health journey has been a long one, and I have not always looked – or felt – the way I do today.

In fact, today I feel pretty rotten. If you missed it, I was hospitalized at the beginning of July with a major asthma attack. Out of nowhere, at the gym, I found myself unable to breathe.

A trip to the ER and some quick testing revealed no blood clots in my chest (yay!), but an oxygen level of 82%.

In case you weren’t sure, that’s not good, and the doctor decided to keep me overnight.

After discharge, I underwent more testing, which ultimately a) confirmed that I do have asthma and not some random oxygen eating disease, and b) my asthma is not the result of allergies.

Great. Because it would be too simple if there was an easy answer here.

And I now get to carry around this ‘pocket-sized’ rescue inhaler.

Point of fact, there are over 25 million Americans with asthma. That’s 1 in 13, 7.7% of the adult population.

Allergy-based – or extrinsic – asthma is pretty easy to diagnose and treat, especially when an allergist works with you to figure out triggers. There is a huge variety of medications to treat allergy-based asthma, and reducing exposure to triggers can result in long-term control of asthma symptoms.

But if you have non-allergy, or intrinsic asthma, your triggers are more complex, including:

  • cold
  • humidity
  • stress
  • exercise
  • pollution
  • irritants in the air, such as smoke
  • respiratory infections, such as colds, the flu, and sinus infections

And doesn’t figuring out which one is causing your specific issue make for a fun time? Given the nature of these triggers, reducing exposure can be difficult. I mean, how do you avoid exposure to the cold? Or pollution? Or stress? Daily life right now is definitely not conducive to avoiding stress!

Yeah. We’re still working on all of that.

So, here I am. Over a month since my asthma attack. Just finishing my third round of prednisone. Puffed up like a balloon with water retention. Emotional (because watching the championship of The Titan Games will do that). Not hungry but wanting to eat anything and everything I can put my hands on. And I am still struggling to take a breath.

In the gym on Saturday, I struggled. A lot. My heart rate was way higher than it would usually be. I had trouble moving through a typical bicep/tricep workout.

I had to laugh at the look on my face in these pictures. Can you tell I was not happy?

But life goes on. I absolutely refuse to be defined by my health. I need to exercise. I need to be outside. I need to be more than a medical puzzle.

So I push through it. I struggle and sweat and grit my teeth and push.

And sometimes, late at night, I cry. Because it hurts. Because my body continually betrays me. Because I am afraid that one day I will not be able to push through it. And then what?

But I don’t cry in public. So no one knows. And they assume that everything is just peachy. That I have always been this way. So I’m telling you – sometimes, everything is not okay. Just because you don’t see my struggle, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Are you getting it yet?

Courage has been defined over the years as, not the absence of fear, but acting in the face of it. That does not mean we go charging through life, paying no heed to basic common sense, or the wisdom of those who have come before us. We need to pay attention to those people. They know stuff.

But we can push through our fear. We can find balance in all things. And if today was not my day, tomorrow might just be the best day ever.

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