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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!


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

A post shared by AAFA Kathy P (@aafakathyp) on


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!


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.

You can help too! Donate today and I’ll put your name on my shirt! You can help cheer me on when I’m discouraged. And your donation will benefit families everywhere who need to know that asthma is just a thing you have. It doesn’t define you. And it doesn’t have to hold you back!


kathy-przywara-aafa-kathy-pKathy 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.

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Thanks @AS! I'm definitely learning how to read my body better. There are subtle signs I was not realizing. That should hopefully allow me respond to asthma episodes before they become severe. 

Kathy P
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