By Kathy Przywara, Community Director at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
The past month has been filled with many personal breakthroughs and self-revelations. At times, I’ve made great progress and other times, asthma has stopped me in my tracks.
July 30 was a great day! I climbed a set of hills that have been my nemesis since the start! It was the first time I climbed them without having to stop to catch my breath at least one time along the way. Today I was able to #TackleAsthma and #TackleHills!
Today I could #TackleAsthma and #TackleHills! Climbed the usual set for the first time with out stopping! Then we added in the "bait and switch hill" and I cranked up that without stopping too! Of course there was a #raptor circling overhead! Not today my friend! . . #gettingstronger #icandothis #beatyesterday #myonlycompetitionisme #asthma #athleteswithasthma #athletes4aafa #biking #cycling #roadbikelife
These are the same hills I attempted in June and learned my asthma was not as well controlled as I thought it was. It was right after that ride, having an asthma attack that felt like a hot knife through my chest and having to stop several times to take my rescue inhaler, that I saw my doctor again. We put together a new asthma treatment plan. This meant adding more medicine to my daily maintenance plus more for pre-treating before riding. Doubt set in again – will I really be able to do this? Is this all worth it? Should I just give up now?
I decided that “Yes, I can do this!” The new pre-treating plan was working well. I was able to ride longer and faster! I was making slow but steady progress on my goals. I did my first long (25-mile) solo ride one weekend and it was great! I was able to figure out my own pace and enjoy the ride!
Today was a day of personal breakthroughs and self revelations. 1. My first long (25 mi) solo ride. #myonlycompetitionisme so no feeling like someone is behind me silently judging my every choice - gear, speed, stopping just to take a photo! 2. I'm not a #roadbike warrior. #thetrailismyhappyplace whether #hiking or #biking I'd rather be on the trail! 3. #cycling is an interesting study in gender dynamics. I plan my ride and my goal for the day. They I stick with it with maybe only small adjustments. Every goal is not a constantly moving target to hit the next bump in distance. 4. When I can breathe, I enjoy #biking! When I can't breathe, or when I look at all the meds I have to take to keep breathing, I get discouraged. Doubt sets in and I wonder if it's really worth it. When I can breathe, I can work on skills. When I can breathe, i can overcome obstacles and conquer challenges. Today I took on several challenges and came out not only physically stronger, but mentally stronger too. Today I could #TackleAsthma
When I can breathe, I enjoy biking! When I can’t breathe, or when I look at all the medicine I have to take to keep breathing, I get discouraged. When I can breathe, I can work on skills. When I can breathe, I can overcome obstacles and conquer challenges.
I continued to increase my distance and one day, I rode a total of 42 miles! I was feeling strong and confident. My distance goal was in sight!
But when my asthma flared, for no reason that I could figure out, I was sidelined for more than a week. More medicine to control the flare, including prednisone and all its side effects. Suddenly, I’m short of breath doing anything more than walking around the house. I was ready to throw in the towel!
I took my medicine and I was feeling better. Slowly, I got back out there to ride. I felt like I was starting all over – breathless after just 10 miles. I’m feeling almost back to where I was before the flare. I’m still coughing more than I should be, but it continues to improve. And I’m more determined than ever to show asthma who’s boss!
#personalrecord - slowest #bikeride evvah! LOL it may have been a slow 8 miles, but it was 8 miles more than yesterday. I will #TackleAsthma! Even if you can't #beatyesterday, do what you can today! . . #feelingblessed with all my supporters written on my shirt riding with me! #fillmyshirt with a donation to @aafanational to support #asthma education and research - link in bio. . . #bike #cycling #icandothis #beatyesterday #myonlycompetitionisme
When I get discouraged, I look at my shirt and and can hear my supporters cheering me on! Knowing they have my back and support my efforts to show the world that asthma will not win. Knowing they are helping me raise money to support AAFA’s mission of educating families so no one has to sit on the side because they have asthma while watching everyone else have fun.
Kathy Przywara is the Community Director at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. She manages asthma, nasal allergies and food allergies. She is a passionate advocate for education and support for those managing asthma and allergic disease.