Patient Blogs | Asthma
Five Things I Learned While Journaling About My Asthma
photo of woman writes in journal

I guess if Leonardo da Vinci can do it, so can I. They say he kept more than 5,000 pages of journals describing ideas and inventions. As much as I love to write, I must admit, I’ve never been too fond of journaling. It seemed corny to me at first when my elementary school teacher had us journal our thoughts about something. First, who might see this book I’m supposed to keep of my deepest, darkest fears? Second, since when did writing about your problems fix anything?

Well, sometimes I try to prove others wrong and end up learning the lesson myself. Enter: a 30-day journaling exercise to capture my life with asthma. Exciting, right? All I need is to pull my pants up really high and start talking about my asthma journal at parties!

Little did I know I’d learn a thing or two about myself. Here are five fears revealed through my journaling.

I’m more dependent than I know. Like a lot of women, I like to change purses to match my outfit. I went out with my sister-in-law to celebrate her new law practice. I had on cute white slacks and a lime green top with a stitching of a woman wearing a head scarf that I picked up in Paris. Well, I was in my car, music cranked and ready to go. No – I wasn’t! I had forgotten my rescue inhaler upstairs. I had to retrieve it and the whole process made me about 15 minutes late. I hate having to be so dependent on one thing like that.

I’m tired of having asthma. For kids, it seems they can grow out of asthma. Well, when you’re diagnosed as an adult like me, do you also grow out of it? I’ve changed my eating habits, attempted to lose weight, and have reduced stress. All of these recommendations were made by my doctor to lessen or prevent asthma symptoms. So far, I’ve seen minimal impact, but I’ll keep trying. I’m tired of taking a twice daily maintenance inhaler. I’m tired of not being able to do some of the activities I used to do. I’m just tired.

The future is uncertain. Both of my parents celebrated a milestone birthday recently. Although they are healthy, I often wonder if I will be able to care for them when the time comes that they need my help. Between asthma and other health conditions, I worry. I really do worry.

When I’m alone, it can be unsettling. My husband was away on business recently. While he checks on me regularly when he’s traveling, it can be nerve wracking to be alone when you have asthma. I have an aunt who had an asthma attack when I was a little girl. I remember eavesdropping to hear the story while my mom talked on the phone. “Ain’t Annie” collapsed on her porch because the ambulance couldn’t get to her in time. This has stayed with me for years – enough for me to write about it during my 30 days.

Packing has to be thorough. I don’t want to think about how a trip would be if I left my maintenance or rescue inhaler. I’m not sure how I would get a replacement, and, unlike a painkiller or other type of medication that most folks have in their bags or in their homes, it’s not so easy to borrow someone’s inhaler. I often check and double check my bags to make sure I’m not forgetting any of my asthma essentials.

I’ve been living with asthma for many years now. I have learned through journaling that I have a lot more to unpack when it comes to this condition. I’ve buried a lot of feelings and fears that were surfaced through my journaling. I’m grateful for this process.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Grace Cary / Moment via Getty Images

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Michele Jordan

Michele Jordan

Diagnosed since 2005

Michele Jordan, a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, was diagnosed with asthma in 2005. Her writing background includes magazine and online journalism, grant writing, and now screenwriting. She is passionate about both physical and mental health and is the author of the book Thanking Your Way to Joy: Daily Gratitude Journal. When not writing, Michele enjoys traveling with her husband, trying new, healthy recipes, and cuddling beagles. Her latest passion includes exploring and discussing issues around equity in housing, health care, and the justice system.

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