I've had asthma ever since I can remember. I vividly recall standing in the doctor's office as they performed all sorts of tests on me to gauge just how much air I could actually get into my lungs. I'll never forget blowing into a tube as hard as I could without passing out, desperately trying to blow out the virtual candles on the doctor's computer monitor.
I remember the time my mom rushed me to her office to use my nebulizer after having an asthma attack while our power was out. I especially remember all of the nights my mom laid awake next to me, to make sure I was still breathing as my body shook itself to sleep from all of the medicine.
As I got older I realized that so many more people than I thought battle asthma as well. Actually, one in 13 people have asthma according to the CDC and most times, you'd never even know it.
As I entered high school, my asthma would subside for about four years. The only times I brought my inhaler to school was on days I knew I'd be doing any sort of physical activity. I had, what they called, sports induced asthma, which would also worsen during weather temperature changes.
It wasn't until cold weather set in, in November of my junior year of college, that my asthma came back worse than ever. I was on medication for my cough and I was using my inhaler 15-20 times a day.
Those of you with asthma can probably attest to how not fun it is to wake up feeling like you're breathing through a straw. The inhaler only works temporarily until you realize you've forgotten to bring it to class and all you can think about is taking slow, short breaths until you can get home. Or those times you wake up and need it in the middle of the night and then can't fall back asleep because your heart is racing too fast.
My asthma has since gotten better, but I still don't leave home without an inhaler.
Throughout my college career, I've discovered that so many of my close friends have asthma. Although you may feel weird whipping out your inhaler at the bar, I doubt anyone will bat an eye because they're probably thinking of doing the same. So if you ever feel alone about not being able to breathe, don't worry, you've got a whole community of people in the same boat.