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LUNG FORCE Heroes

Joy P.

I live with a chronic lung disease called asthma. I have been an asthmatic my entire life but asthma does not define me; it is just something that I live with. Live being the key word.

I grew up in the '60s and '70s and they did not have the wonderful medications that they do now. Because of that, I was told to sit on the side lines a lot! This included times with friends, gym class in school and many other activities. Throughout that process, I learned to manage my asthma with environmental changes as well as physical and medical ones. With new decades, came new medicines which meant greater asthma control.

I am so happy to tell you that in my 50s, I am more active than I was in my teens. I joined my first team sports (softball and volleyball) at 52 years old. I just took up bike riding, I kayak, I walk all over the city for fun and exercise. I still experience daily asthmatic symptoms and asthma will always be part of my life, but as I stated before, it does not define me.

When my asthma is acting up, I tailor my activity level. I do my best to keep my environment allergy friendly, I avoid sick people (even those with just a cold) like the plague, I do my best to educate my family and friends about strong scents and I personally avoid them and even some food triggers, I do a daily sinus rinse and other things. These are things that are just part of my "normal" routine. That is what life is when you live with a chronic condition. but mostly, there is no stopping me. I am a wonderful work in progress and keep trying new and challenging physical things. I am so grateful to the American Lung Association and all the wonderful scientists and doctors that have helped make my life great!

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