Never let anything discourage or stop you!

In 2007 a doctor I happened to be on an adventure tour with during my travels in New Zealand told me I had exercise-induced asthma. It was a terrifying experience and I remember thinking that if I was going to die, at least I had been fortunate enough to have spent an entire year exploring my number 1 travel destination....beautiful Australia! And, I was lying on a beautiful glacier in New Zealand, one of the most magical places I've ever been to. Heaven on Earth. The attack passed with the help of my doctor friend and I figured because it happened at an elevation much higher than I am used to (I grew up in a beach town...), that when I got home it wouldn't be an issue. 

I haven't had any major attacks since then, only minor ones. Maybe it's the air quality, the change of season, pollen, smoke, I dunno...but lately the minor incidences have been happening more frequently, and with more intensity. And my experience today was like reliving my attack 6 years ago. It happened during my morning workout. It wasn't a workout I typically struggle with, 150m overhead walking lunges with a 25# plate. Difficult for sure, but my legs handle it quite well. Somehow, about half way in, I realized it felt very different than in past weeks. All of a sudden, I was EXHAUSTED. To the point where I wanted to call it quits. On my way back, I took longer breaks than usual and the plate burpees in between felt like I was lifting dead weight off the ground. But I pushed on, trying to breathe through my nose and focus on finishing. When I did finish, it took me much longer than usual to catch my breath and get my heart rate down. Much, much longer. Then, I started coughing. Uncontrollably. So much that I nearly vomited and I had tears streaming from eyes. I felt like shit, and I couldn't breathe. I knew I was having an asthma attack so I had to calm myself down. My heart was racing and the air seemed too thick to inhale. Part of me wanted to just fall down and yell out for help but then I realized that the doctor in NZ had told me panicking was probably asthma's worst enemy during an attack. So I sat down (within view of other people) and focused on deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. About 10 minutes later I had my heart rate under control and was breathing without gasping. The pain in my throat was still so sharp. Like little needles stabbing me with every inhalation....terrible.

I went home and took a nap, telling myself that I had to go back eventually and complete the 2nd workout. A few hours later, I did just that. What followed was another asthma attack. I almost allowed myself to feel defeated. I almost said "Fuck this, I'm not training anymore this whole week!" I almost let it get the best of me. But then I had to remind myself that there will ALWAYS be ups and downs with anything in life. Training for this competition has shown me how dedicated of a person I really am. Never in my life have I committed so strongly to something like this. I was never part of a sports team nor did I participate in athletic events recreationally. I was embarrassed about my body, I always felt inferior, and I used every excuse in the books to not take action. It stopped me from doing A LOT in life and when I finally made a lifelong commitment to ME, I vowed to never again let that happen. 

So, I've scheduled an appointment with my doctor to talk about modern and holistic intervention. I don't want to rely on medicine but it's important for me to be able to perform and breathe normally. I'm lucky that my doctor is of Ayurvedic practice as well as a doctor of Western medicine so he always gives me insight into various options. I'm not going to stop training, nor am I going to let today influence my attitude tomorrow. I've spent a lot of time falling down and picking myself back up so I know the process. I'm alive, thriving, and enjoying the happiest and healthiest years of my life...that's a lot to get back up for.  

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