Rob from London, ON:
Louise from Estey’s Bridge, NB:
Jeff from Abbotsford, BC:
Louise from Ottawa, ON
Rob from London, ON:I was diagnosed with asthma as a child, and was in and out of the emergency room many times as an infant. When I was young, my puffer was always in my baseball bag, and it was normal to use a few puffs every game or practice. I tried my hand at a few other sports including cross-country, but was unable to control my asthma enough to complete races without walking. As I grew older, I gradually left sports to focus on school and part-time jobs. I gained my “freshman 15” and more, until my weight was another factor harming my asthma. But I was someone who didn’t know what asthma control was. In my University years, If you asked me if I thought I was ‘in control’, I would have said yes – because I hadn’t been in the urgent care clinic or emergency room for years. But I also needed 2 blasts of my blue puffer in order to go to sleep every night, and sometimes a few more when I woke up in the middle of the night. I couldn’t mow the lawn, visit my friends with pets, or fall asleep in unfamiliar places like hotel rooms. I wasn’t taking my prescribed controller medication because I didn’t feel the effects immediately and didn’t understand what it was supposed to do. I found the Asthma Society in 2010, and learned why my controller medication was important. Within weeks of taking my controller twice a day as prescribed, I was falling asleep without my puffer and using it far less during the daytime. When I was convinced to run with Team Asthma in 5km division of the 2010 Toronto Waterfront Marathon, I began to exercise and lose weight. I convinced myself I could cross the finish line without walking, and I did! Nearly a year later, I’ve now lost over 60 pounds through running! I feel a huge strength difference when curling in the wintertime and can “lean into the broom” to sweep harder. I’ve also recently completed my first try-a-triathlon, and look forward to racing with some friends I’ve converted into Team Asthma members with the Education Kits I received.
Louise from Estey’s Bridge, NB:I was born with asthma, although the doctors originally thought I had pneumonia as a baby. As I got older, my asthma did not get better, as some had hoped. In fact, it became almost impossible to treat. I was never active, never ran or carried on like most kids do. My asthma was always acting up, and even when it wasn’t, I didn’t feel like doing anything. I now recognize I was using my asthma as an excuse not to participate in life. When I turned 30, I started to go through what I consider to be a mid-life crisis. I weighed nearly 300 pounds, smoked (even with uncontrolled, severe asthma) and couldn’t breathe well enough to walk from the car to the door without thinking I was going to die. I knew I had to do something to change my life – and soon! I decided to take charge of my life. I went to my doctor and asked for a better treatment plan for my asthma. She started me on different inhalers and within a few weeks, I could breathe so much better. I decided to join a local YMCA. Within the first few months, the weight was dropping off me and I decided to up the ante by quitting smoking. It wasn’t easy, but I knew that’s what my lungs needed. Four years later, I’ve lost 125 pounds, run countless of miles and have not smoked a cigarette since. I feel invincible!
Jeff from Abbotsford, BC:Over the years my wife and I had been typical couch potatoes, go to work, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to bed. My wife joined a local Bootcamp program in 2009, and twisted my arm to join. I was getting in the best shape I have ever been in, but during and after my Bootcamp program I sometimes felt soreness in my chest while breathing. I thought maybe I was pushing myself too hard, so didn’t think too much more about it. In early 2011, we were training to run a half-marathon, and it seemed every training run we did, whether 2km's or 20km's seemed to be a struggle. In April, I woke up one day and could barely breathe. Tight chest, feeling light headed and gasping for breath. I forced myself to see my doctor and was diagnosed with Asthma 3 days before my half-marathon. That news was a bit of a surprise, but it made complete sense. The puffer worked very quickly, and I started on controller medication as well. On race day my chest was a little tight, so I took my shot from the puffer before the race and my wife and I headed for the start line. We had a beautiful sunny day as we ran through Vancouver and Stanley Park with the other 10,000 plus runners. I felt like a million bucks. Just as we hit the 18km marker I felt like I ran into a concrete wall. Chest tightened, body just started to shut down. At that point I was not going to stop and let my long fought goal end. As I pushed on for the last 3.1km's I had never pushed my body to that level before. I was getting closer, step by step. As I was cheered on by the large crowd, I could see the finish line. It was only then that I remembered I was carrying my puffer as I crossed the finish line with a time of 2hrs 25 mins. With great pride I put my medal around my neck and stuck the puffer in my mouth. After this race I vowed I would never forget to carry and REMEMBER I have my puffer with me. My so called VICTORY could have ended up being a medical emergency. My wife and I are planning more races, and next time I will be a lot wiser.
Louise from Ottawa, ONI was an active runner and cross country skier in my youth, but into my 20’s realized that hot, humid days were not good for my breathing. In 2000, I did my first ski marathon and joined a bicycle club. In the fall of that year, I developed a cough and could not do a brisk walk without coughing. I was diagnosed in 2001 with severe asthma. I was able to keep cycling and skiing, but during my second ski marathon, suffered an asthma attack (I did not know what it was at the time). Now, I manage asthma with proper medications, and continue to ski about 6000km per year, and bike about 8000km more. I rarely have problems with my asthma anymore, and I know I can train harder. Still, I hope that someday, a cure for asthma can be found.