From the time I was nine years old to 14 years old, Asthma held me prisoner, at random, pretty much all of the time. Life was extremely difficult for me during those years socially and physically, and the illness didn’t make matters any easier for me.
You’re nine. You’re outside during recess and you are having a ball. It’s kickball, who wouldn’t be? A burning in your lungs comes on slowly, gradually, until you can’t seem to be able to get air into them. This strange rattling sounds comes out of you and panic sets in. You’re nine. You have no idea what is happening to you but you know you can’t breathe.
This keeps getting worse until you find a teacher. In my case, I found mine right before I blacked out and had to be sent to the hospital. I seem to have a knack for finding ways into an Emergency Room. This time, it wasn’t some freakish injury or infection. As my Mother informed me, I had had an Asthma attack. I learned all about Asthma that afternoon in the hospital and I kept learning about it for years to come.
Armed with my trusty steroid inhaler and all of the jittery side effects that cam along with it, I began to trudge my way through the next five years. Being wrought with a plethora of different allergies, exercising too much was the least of my worrisome triggers. Winter was awful. If there is something Asthma likes a lot, it’s frigid winter air. Pretty much anything could set it off. Stress, a simple cold, a nearby smoker, it, to me, was anything and everything.
As I turned 13, my social circle and interests, as well as my beliefs seemed to shift almost overnight. I began hanging around with older kids. Kids my Mother certainly would not have approved of and I knew it was the worst idea possible but I didn’t care. So, one evening, I smoked Marijuana. It was a poor decision.
I coughed the most painful coughs I have ever had. Nonstop. For a solid half hour and once that subsided, the burning, rattling, wheezing set in. Followed by the inability to breathe. I hit my inhaler, twice as much as prescribed and it after what seemed like forever, it all went away. One thing that was missing was the anxiety attack that I typically had. It made me question whether the sedating effect of the Marijuana had anything to do with my ability to rein it in.
This is by no means an endorsement for illegal drug use and in fact, I haven’t touched the stuff since that evening. It did, however, leave me curious as to whether there were any legal herbal supplements that would help with it.
First thing I discovered, at a local health store, was Magnesium. After speaking to the store’s proprietor, I learned that Magnesium is somewhat of a bronchodilator. So I began taking extra Magnesium. I noticed marginal results, mostly centered around an attack’s severity, which over the years had gradually waned. The next things that were recommended were ginger and turmeric. Both are easy to find, cheap and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
I started using this mixture daily, alongside with my inhaler and other medications and after spending some time tailoring the combination, I found that, surprisingly, my attacks were much less frequent. Of course, not everyone is the same, so definitely talk to your doctor about these types of things before you just start cramming them into your system.
It took another year before my major attacks just, seemingly, faded away. I’m thirty-four years old now and I still have minor breathing issues from time to time. During winter, allergy season or, interestingly, after I’ve had a really cold drink.
The keys are management, avoiding triggers, being prepared, watching what you eat and not overdoing it. In time, With the right combination of things, you can get control over the illness and, hopefully, eliminate it for good.