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Katelyn S., NY

Anybody can be born with asthma. My brother and I inherited our disease when we were babies. His developed quicker than mine because of allergies, whereas mine did not take hold until kindergarten. We were both born in the 1980s; I was first 1983 and weighed 1lb 14.5 ounces. My brother was almost 5 lbs bigger but still a preemie. 

My brother developed pneumonia very young, and I got bronchitis. Our family was military, so we became frequent hospital flyers because our bodies could not adjust to our parent's smoking or the weather condition.
W both had to take Theophylline at a young age for breathing to keep our bronchial tunes opened up and had rescue inhalers and steroidal inhalers from a young age. We were given many types of inhalers, injections of Epi for breathing, nebulizer treatments and tons of steroids. 

Anytime the humidity, especially in the south, would increase, we would be very sick. Not to mention the years of secondhand smoke from parents, grandparents, and cousins in those days did us any good either. The pollution indoors was obscene, and breathing in secondhand smoke was second nature. Our docotrs in the military did not mess around. One doctor had us trained to tell him in 2nd and kindergarten exactly what was going on with our lungs especially, and he made sure to heavily educate us so we could wean away from the need to rely on our parents to talk for us.

My brother and I are lucky that we outgrew our severe respiratory illness, but we still suffer from attacks and flare-ups. We always carry rescue inhalers, used to have allergy shots, and had little to no pneumonia thanks to the vaccines developed and used to fight back.

I am grateful to be able not to use tons of inhalers and may need occasional help breathing when a bronchitis episode strikes.

Our maternal grandmother smoked from when she was a young teenager until her death from a weakened cardiac muscle due to chemo and radiation for lung cancer. As trying as genetics has been for my family, I feel sort of fortunate that I learned what I have and can pass along the teachings from doctors, specialists, etc.

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