Posted 4/17/2007 11:23 PM (GMT -6)
This is probably a question more for people who developed asthma as adults. Although I could be wrong, I'd imagine people who have had asthma all their lives have learned to cope with it better than those who develop it later.
I developed EIA (Exercised-Induced Asthma) after a bad chest cold and bronchitis several years ago. Before that I'd never had asthma in my life. I used to be very active and adventurous. I used to go camping, hiking, horse-back riding, biking, and play racquetball. I used to like to push myself to the limits. I'd hike 10 miles at 10,000 feet even though I wasn't in shape for that just because I knew I could push myself and survive. I even once took a wilderness survival course where I slept under a rock without a sleep bag and lived on 500 calories a day. Now, since I developed EIA, I hesitate to even take my dog for a walk around the neighborhood.
I think my fear is more debilitating than the disease itself. I'm told EIA is not a dangerous form of asthma. It can be miserable, but it's not life-threatening. But it still prevents me from living my life. I still want to hike, play racquetball, etc. I want to travel too. I see a show on Machu Picchu and think, I've always wanted to go there! I need to go! But then they say it's a tough hike to the top and I immediately think, oh, I couldn't make it!
Before I just did things. If I wanted to hike the waterfalls in Jamaica I just did it. If I wanted to go photograph wildlife in Yellowstone I just did it. Now I'm too scared to do anything and it's kind of depressing. I know in my head that all I have to do is take a couple puffs of albuterol before I go and I'll be fine. But it's that dependency that causes the fear. What if I forget my inhaler? What if I get a mile up the trail and realize I forgot to use it and it's in my coat pocket in the car? What if I travel to Peru and lose my luggage with my inhaler it?!
So my question is, do you still do the things you used to and want to? How do you deal with the fear, and this feeling of being handicapped and fragile when you were once rugged and fearless?