Asthma is like a neighbor: it will never go away. You are constantly reminded that they are there by the things they do, or don't do.
You can either let them crawl under your skin (or into your lungs) and let them irritate the crap out of you, or you can take the humble path and learn to cope with them.
Heck, you can even become good buddies.
No, I'm not pulling your leg either.
There is this old rumor that seems to lag over this disease that goes something like this (tell me if you've ever heard something like this): "Rick, when you grow up your asthma will probably go away."
I was told that when I was 15, and I was told not only by my doctor here in little, old Michigan, but I was told it by the most well educated, and best asthma specialists in the world at what is now called National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado.
My asthma was bad, really bad!
My doctors placated me by telling me it would just go away!
"In the mean time," she said, "It can be controlled."
Well, that was (hmmm, calculator please!) 18 years ago!
It's hard to fathom it was that long ago.
Those doctor were the best in the world, and they were right: they did get my asthma under control.
That's the best part about asthma is it can be controlled, and if you want tips on
how you can get your asthma under control you can click here.
That year was 1985.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was so sick in 1984 that I made over 14 visits to the emergency room for asthma, and that doesn't even count the unexpected visits to my doctor's office (thank's Dr. Oliver!).
I remember my doctor meeting me in his office
Man, you never hear of that happening anymore. I was admitted to the hospital for seven days twice that year, and it should have been more.
I got so tired of emergency rooms I sometimes would just sit in my room and suffer.
Yes, I got pretty good at pretending.
That was then, though -- this is now!
My local doctor was great; he did the best he could with the knowledge he had.
But, as the old saying goes, as you learn better you do better.
Local doctors today (thanks to efforts by NJH and other such experts) are much better educated about this disease.
And, thanks to the asthma experts, many of whom who are at NJH, so much more is known about this disease:
- Asthma does not ever go away
- But it can be controlled (Yes it can! Trust me on this: I know)
Like an old neighbor, your asthma will make an appearance once in a while.
Yeah, surely there will be long stretches where you don't know they're there, but then all of a sudden, when you least expect it, there he is in all its glory: the chest tightness, the wheezes, and all that goes with it.
Thankfully, though, most cases of asthma can be quieted just as easy.
Yet, like those neighbors, sometimes you may need a little help.
Doctors at local offices are now educated with the state of the art asthma wisdom, like the experts at NJH in 1985.
No longer do kids have to be shipped away (I was a patient at NJH for six months!
Yes, it's true. Can you imagine?)
When I was in my 20s I realized that my good friend (Mr. Asthma) was never going to go away: I was going to have to cope with it (like that neighbor).
Yet, like your neighbors, you can become good friends with your asthma if you want.
You might as well, because it's not going to go away.
Don't let this information scare you either.
I live quite a normal life with asthma.
I have a good job, a great family, and a wonderful life. I do have to make some comprimises, yet met my asthma and I have become pretty good friends.