Today (Tuesday 2nd May) is World Asthma Day, so today seems the perfect time to reflect on how asthma has impacted on my life.
My life is not likely to be ‘normal’ or at least the same again, my asthma has become more severe as I have gotten older and it has prevented me from doing so many things and realistically this isn’t going to change in the foreseeable future.
My attendance record at work is very poor, whether it be down to asthma attacks and the recovery period that follow or whether it be the numerous hospital appointments there is never a month goes by without me missing at least a few hours from work, these alone are a hindrance but I usually have the majority of the winter off sick as a result of my attacks and when all these absences are added up it doesn’t make good reading. This has caused a lot of arguments with work, threats of disciplinary and removal from the company sick pay scheme. All this results in additional stress and worry as to regards me potentially losing my job, I can go months where the only pay that I receive is SSP, this then causes financial concerns. At times I feel that my absences have put a strain on my relationships with the company and. Y work colleagues, after all it is only Asthma!!!!!
My social life is virtually non existent during the winter months, I can go weeks without hardly leaving the house or seeing anybody other than my family. This causes periods where I start to feel down and even though I hate to admit it I eventually start to feel sorry for myself.
I struggle to get to many football matches, I struggle to get to the boxing or book holidays, all things which I have enjoyed doing for years.
I never have any energy, I don’t sleep well, I am a lot more moody and temperamental than I used to be, at times I can’t be good company. It is impossible to plan too far ahead, even popping out of the house for a few hours requires planning, when to take my medication, what I need to take out with me, checking the weather forecast, is it going to be too cold for me or too windy etc.
As I have written about previously I take a silly amount of medication, some to help my asthma, some to help with the side effects of some of the medication that I take. Then of course there are all of the side effects, one of which now means that I am diabetic.
As you can see my life has changed somewhat because of my asthma but in some strange ways my asthma has changed me as a person, some of which are changes for the better. I feel that I am a lot more sensible now (some may disagree), I feel that in someways I am a little more laid back than I used to be, I don’t worry about things as much as I used to do, a lot of this down to realising that I can only control certain aspects of my asthma and without sounding morbid I accept and understand that my asthma has probably taken a few years off of my life span and who knows, eventually I may have an asthma attack so severe that I don’t survive it. I can’t spend my time worrying about it. I have made a lot of new friends as a result of my asthma, whether it be in person, through social media or through this blog.
Yes I really enjoyed my life and I miss doing a number of things that I used to enjoy doing but despite everything (and boy I hate having severe asthma) I could be in a lot worse position, I still have my family and friends, I still have a job and I still mange to do some of the things that I enjoy doing. To quote a popular asthma phrase, I have asthma but asthma does not have me!
My one wish or hope is that such things as World Asthma Day may help to put more information out in the public domain and that people begin to understand how serious a condition that asthma can be, that there are different types and severity of asthma and that asthma effects many people in many different ways. Not only do the public need to realise this but also a lot medical professionals need a better understanding and appreciation of this condition which can’t always be controlled by a little blue inhaler!