I’ve carried this very vivid memory with me for over 30 years and sometimes I wondered if I made it up. It’s not a dream it was my reality as a baby, toddler, adolescent, and for most of my adult life, it was something that stole from me, that literally took my breath away, it is asthma and I want to share with you how I healed my body from it and have gone almost 100% off any puffers.
Let me start with my personal story because I know many of you will have a similar one. I was put on formula like many 70’s babies. In addition my Mom was told by her doctor to add cornstarch, and some white sugar to my formula which was mixed with cow’s milk. Could this have been where it all started…. Maybe.
Babies are not born with asthma.
Well that’s my theory anyway and I am not a medical doctor. I think asthma starts developing whether it is through the internal or the external environment. Of course anyone with asthma knows that there are triggers same as someone that suffers from migraines. This may include dust, pollen, allergies, exercise, cold air, and so on but can also be brought on by certain foods.
My asthma was life threatening.
I was in one of those horrific, or at least that is how I remember it, oxygen tents for days at a time. The cold misty air soaked my only source of comfort which was my pink teddy bear. I wasn’t allowed out very often and I can remember my dad sneaking me in a mint Aero bar. I even remember that I escaped the tent one night and went straight to the playroom.
After that experience I was enrolled into asthma programs at the college. The room was very creepy, dark, I could be making this up now but I’m almost certain for some reason there was a sarcophagus in the corner, RANDOM and again HORRIFIC. We spent time blowing out matches and blowing bubbles with tubs of soapy water. Back at home I was head down on my dad’s leg as he pounded on my back to help open my lungs. In addition there were meds. This disgusting peach coloured syrup that was followed by my reward for swallowing it, which was I got to punch out a tiny little paper bug. YAY!
I was sick, and I think it was a lot. I often had to have “the machine” as my Mom called it in my room to help me breath. Same thing blowing this cold misty air onto me and getting Misser Bear all wet and gross.
So yeah, asthma sucked as a baby and toddler, then it kind of went away. This mystery was never explained but it does happen. I remember not having to use puffers or meds for some time in my life but then of course in my later teens years I was a total idiot and started to live a life that is really not good news for an asthmatic.
By the time I was in university I was constantly sick with bronchitis and at 21 I was hospitalized with what started with my regular asthma attack and head to the ER for some oxygen and prednisone, but this time I was a lot more sick than that. My left lung collapsed! My nurses button did not work and I spent the longest 3 minutes of my life, pushing the button, trying to get someone’s attention and watching a bunch of alarms go off, my oxygen plummeted and I was scared to death that I was finally going to die from not being able to breath.
After a week in the hospital I got back to my poor lifestyle choices and the asthma was worse then ever. I took so many hits off my puffers, my body would have the worst tremors and shakes. I was basically overdosing every single day. I could not go anywhere without a puffer for fear that I would die.
At 15 I began a vegetarian. I also began a PETA member and I started to dabble with Bulimia. My already poor health only got worse, as if anyone would be surprised by that. I’ll be honest when I say I was a vegetarian that did not eat any vegetables, okay well French fries but they don’t count, right?
This lifestyle which was killing me inside and out, along with a horrible attitude about life, zero self-worth and not being able to breath could have ended my short life at any time and I know in my heart it would have. I joked about not living to see 30 years old, ya my friend’s didn’t find that very funny at all. But it was the truth.
Long story short, I found yoga yadee-yadaa, it changed my whole life! I learned how to deal with stress, was more accepting of my body, ended my relationship with my eating disorder, cleared up my insomnia (which was also rampant), and was able to breath a bit better and reduce some of my puffer use.
Things got better in my life, much better but I was still suffering from random asthma attacks and was still being hospitalized. At least when I moved to London, Ontario, the moment I was first hospitalized because of asthma I was immediately sent into the asthma program here, saw a specialist and thankfully he constantly hooked me up with free puffer samples because I could not afford them, at all!
I started to run but some days the asthma wouldn’t effect me and other times it would cripple me on the sidewalk, never mind running I could barely walk home. I never understood why it was triggered and I think I didn’t really care either. I just accepted that I had asthma, it was a disease that I had no control over, I would always have it and my life would be about managing the meds, so interesting because I was given that exact same story about my clinical depression and of course I was on anti-depressants too.
So in my bathroom, I had Zoloft, tons of puffers, different kinds too, a plastic thingy to blow into to test my breathing and if I came up short I was to start rounds of Prednisone. I know I’m not alone when I honestly say that Prednisone absolutely sucks ass! It’s horrible and the side effects were very intense.
I don’t take any meds and I don’t suffer from Asthma anymore!
Yep, that is the truth! How? Not possible? Yes, very very possible and very very doable! After being the most unhealthy vegetarian ever, I started to become a healthy one. At this point I still suffered from asthma and needed a few puffs a week when I was having trouble breathing or exercising which became a very big and important part of my life.
The real change started when I finally decided over 2 and a half years ago to go fully vegan. Now it’s not so much the vegan part for me that did it but what really cleared up my asthma was getting rid of dairy! Remember when I said that the moment I entered the world the first thing I consumed was cow’s milk? Well…… if you want to managed your asthma, reduce your meds (maybe because I would never tell you to go off any meds), live better and not worry about dying from not being able to breath then maybe this is something worth trying out.
Dairy is the most mucous forming substance that you can ingest. There are many but it is up there. Why? Dairy is acidic and the body produces extra mucus to well, protect you from the acid. How’s that bowl of ice cream looking now? Dairy includes; milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, lard, ice cream and other products. In the grocery store there is a whole section dedicated to good ole’ dairy! If you are asthmatic maybe you should avoid that aisle all together and stick to the veggies and fruit.
I still own a few puffers, they are expired and to be honest I can’t fully through them out for that “just in case” part of my brain that exists. I am okay with that. I don’t own any prednisone and haven’t needed to take any or haven’t been hospitalized because of asthma in many years now, this was a common occurrence for me over the course of my life and I have much better things to do with me time too.
I am passionate about my life and my health and I’m also equally passionate about helping others. If you are sick, on meds, and so on where you really need to start is in your kitchen! I’m not saying it will be easy but I know it’s worth it! Start to exercise at least 3 times a week, you have to get your lungs working, get them stronger and keep em clear by giving the finger to diary and kicking it out so that you can free up some of the energy that you spend worrying about dying from not being able to breath.
To end, I’m not suggesting that you will be asthma free, medication free instead my wish is to enlighten you that there are people out there that are healing there bodies of aliments, diseases and other issues through food, nutrition and better lifestyle choices. You can set the stage and your body will heal.
Breathe well and easy,
Health Coach, Yoga Teacher