Diane A., MT | American Lung Association

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Diane A., MT

I was diagnosed with asthma at age 50. I never smoked and did my best to avoid secondhand smoke. I maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat well, get daily exercise, and my weight is where it needs to be.

My diagnosing physician told me that allergies and chronic sinus problems often trigger asthma, and now I hit the trifecta. I am able to control my asthma through daily medication. I try not to let it stop me when it is out of control, but I do find it is quite depressing and burdensome to deal with asthma every day.

I get attacks from nothing in particular. I have developed a sensitivity to certain cleaning products, lotions and fumes. There are days when just swallowing wrong triggers an attack.

Summer 2012 in Helena with the fires kept me indoors more than I would have liked, and if I did venture out, I wore a bandana over my mouth and nose. I never know how a cold will affect my asthma. I also fear getting pneumonia, because I can't take the vaccine, as I had a reaction to it.

I am grateful for a job with a prescription drug plan, as I get a three month supply of drugs at an affordable cost. I will say that while I want to make some life changes, as my husband passed away a year ago, I feel anxious to do so, because I do need this prescription drug plan. I don't know how I would pay for the medications, as they are quite expensive without a plan.

For those of you who carry a purse or have a spouse who carries one, you know they can get heavy. I look at my asthma inhaler and spacer in my purse every day and realize it has become the metaphor for why my purse remains so heavy. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31, that was easy compared to living with a chronic disease. Thank you for "listening."

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