World Asthma Day 2013

For those of you who care, today’s World Asthma Day. It’s also Asthma awareness month. I think it’s been a pretty big part of my blog since I started, but lately I’ve been trying to not have my entire blog focused on it. But being WAD I thought I’d do a blog on it. But instead of doing a big essay about it, I’m going to do a question and answer type thing. Got this off some website I was having a look at the other day. Can’t remember the name but remember some of the questions.

When were you diagnosed with asthma?
– I was originally given my first inhaler when I was 14. From 14 till about 18 it was relatively well controlled, with the odd course of steroids and doctors visits and adding on a couple of different inhalers and tablets etc.

What made you visit the doctors in the first place?
– I used to play a lot of sports and I noticed I was struggling to catch my breath when doing them and that my chest got quite tight and I was coughing a lot. Our coach was a nurse and was noticing it aswell and asked me did I have asthma, and when I said no, suggested I went to see my GP about it.

How well controlled is your asthma?
– At the minute? Not very. I spent a lot of time in hospital and have been in Intensive Care several times because of it. I now take a lot of medications for it and am on long-term steroids and home nebulisers to try and keep me out of hospital.

How does your asthma affect your day to day living?
– Quite a lot. Obviously with having a lot of attacks and spending a lot of time in hospital, I can’t really plan things in advance, and when I do, I have to set up contingency plans incase it doesn’t happen. Because my family live in other countries, booking flights to see them is quite difficult because on several occasions I’ve had to cancel flights because I’ve been in hospital. I’ve also ended up quite ill in Ireland when I was home for Christmas which was rather nasty. But I’ve decided now I’m going to start booking flights regardless and just making sure that I do my best to make sure I’m as healthy as I can be when I go away, and have things in place incase something did happen while I was away. Also because of the medications I’ve been on for it, it’s caused a lot of problems with other parts of my body, mostly my joints. As a result of this I’m facing a hip replacement this year on my right hip, and one on my left hip in the not too distant future.

Have you found any positives to having asthma?
– Yes. I have made so many friends through Asthma UK and have received fantastic support through the website. I’m now living with my best friend who I met on Asthma UK and when I moved to England the first time, I moved in with someone I met on AUK. I feel very priviledged to also have been to the House of Lords and to have spoken at conferences in different parts of the country about my asthma and how it’s affected me. If I didn’t have asthma these opportunities wouldn’t have arisen. Although asthma has taken a lot from my life, it has also given me a lot.

What advice would you give any people who have been diagnosed with asthma?
– Don’t be afraid. It’s not the end of the world being diagnosed with asthma. It might sound scary, and if you’re reading this, I’m not the best person to speak to that won’t scare the crap out of you. But it’s only 5% of people with asthma that have as bad control as I do. With the right care and treatment you can be easily controlled. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re doctor or practice nurse are there to help you. They’ll explain how to take your inhalers, when to get help and will be there to help you when you’re struggling and should always listen to your concerns. The AUK Asthma nurses are fantastic for getting advice and you can find out if you should go to the doctors about this problem and what the best way to discuss it.  But don’t be afraid to ask questions to your doctors or nurse about it. And the AUK forum is also a great place for starters.

But anyway. I have asthma. It doesn’t have me. I try and do as much as I can despite it and I have been SCUBA diving, jumped off the Sky Tower in New Zealand and been on adventure trips with school.  But things are going well for me at the minute 🙂 Apart from my hip I’m doing quite well. I’ve got the dentist tomorrow, which is slightly scaring me and then my pre-op assesment on Thursday. Now that is scaring the shite out of me. I’ll find out what’s going to happen in my op and whether they’ll let me have a general anesthetic.  Found out last Friday aswell that we should be moving into a two bedroom flat pretty soon.  With the new bedroom tax that’s come in, a lot of people are desperate to get into 1 bedroom flats, whereas we’re desperate to get out! It’s a win-win situation!

But I shall update at some point soon about how the pre-op went. Not that anyone reads this anyway. If you do read this, please comment so I know!

Ta!

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