Growing up with asthma throughout my life has made playing sports a challenge.
Not only were sports challenging, but completing daily activities sometimes became challenging. My experience with asthma has been like a roller coaster - from running on the field feeling great to sitting on the sidelines, trying to catch my breath. I have memories of having severe asthma attacks as early as second grade. I remember having to pace myself at times while playing soccer and playing with my friends. I sometimes would not want to run because the fear of having an asthma attack impacted me.
One event in my life that significantly impacted me was the death of my favorite cousin. He was nine years old when he passed away from an asthma attack.
Hearing what happened to my cousin made me often wonder if the same thing would happen to me, especially when running, jumping, playing tag, or even climbing a tree would lead to an asthma attack. Seeing its effect on me, my parents helped me understand how important it was to care for myself. They encouraged me to be a "kid," be active, have fun, and not allow asthma to put fear in me. I've had an intense life living with asthma from elementary school to adulthood. Over time, I played soccer for four years and football for about 10 years. When I played these sports, I had a lot of moments of feeling chest tightness and having an asthma attack during a game or even before the game started.
As I got older and continued playing sports, I started to learn how to manage my asthma, allowing me to participate longer in games. As an adult dealing with asthma, I flatlined twice - the first time was due to an allergic reaction from shrimp, and my second time was triggered by a flu that kept worsening.
Throughout the challenges I've experienced by participating in sports with asthma, I am more aware of how to manage my asthma. Such as food & nutrition, breathing techniques, physical fitness, and mental health. I still experience shortness of breath and occasional attacks, but I have not allowed this condition to hinder me from being active in sports; as I am currently competing in MMA. I recognize how important it is to share my story with others so that they know someone is in the fight with them.