Saturday, March 2, 2013

Staying Positive

Lately I've been having a lot of trouble with asthma. I mean A LOT. Before I started running my asthma was in terrible shape. Since then I was able to give up some of my medication and was doing leaps and bounds better. While my asthma never went away or was "cured", I felt like it was finally manageable for this first time.

Fast forward to now and, although I've been denying it, it's clearly out of control again. This year in Oklahoma (where I'm living) we've had some of the worst weather for people with allergies and asthma. The temperature is constantly drastically changing. One day there will be snow on the ground, the next it will be 72 degrees outside. The allergens (pine and grass etc) are at record highs and have been most of this fall/winter. I'm working downtown in area surrounded by smokers, so I'm not exactly getting the cleanest air. I've been under some stress at work, not like run-find-a-corner-and-hide stress, but still enough to wear on me. I don't say these things to "make excuses", simply to explain what I think some of the contributing factors may be.

I've always heard of the "rule of twos" when it comes to asthma and keep it in the back of the mind (although somehow I always change it to the rule of threes! haha). The rule of twos is:

Think in Two's:
  • Take your "quick-relief inhaler" more than two times a week?
  • Awaken at night with asthma more than two times a month?
  • Refill your "quick-relief inhaler" more than two times a year?
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, your (or your child's) asthma is NOT UNDER CONTROL. Talk to your doctor about your (or your child's) asthma! 

My answers to those questions:

  • 1-2 times per day (not including for running)
  • a few times per week
  • I don't count this one because I have to take it a lot for running which my doctor's don't count

So obviously things aren't going so hot for me. Above all else it's been incredibly frustrating. I can't do the things I love (running - missing a 5k tonight in fact), I can't sleep well and I'm always tired, and I can't even think straight because I'm dizzy half the time and shaky from my inhaler the other half. I'm trying to get in to see a specialist soon, but I have run out of my usual "tricks" to fix things. 

Anyways, to make a long sob story short, my asthma has been royally sucking lately and I've been throwing myself a bit of a pity party. Recently however, I've been getting some emails from readers saying the sweetest things about how my blog helped them in some way and it's really encouraged me and helped to lift me out of my funk.  I thought since I could use some of my own advice right now, I'd share some tips on staying positive when you are having a bad day/week/month/year:
  • Take time every day to remember things that you are grateful for (maybe even write them down). I may be struggling with asthma, but I have an amazing family and a great guy supporting me through it and I have the best readers in the world who pick me up when I'm down.
  • Find something else to do. This is one I really suck at. I get so fixated on not being able to run (or even to run like I usually can) that I act like it's my entire life. Find a new way to channel your energy for the time being. I plan on trying to do some weight-lifting (since this is something I NEVER work on and it doesn't affect my asthma the way running does) and catching up on some much-needed reading. 
  • Be proactive. Do whatever you can to help yourself get better. That way you are occupying your time with something useful rather than pouting. I'm working on getting in to see a specialist, starting to try (stress the word "try") to eat better, and work on some things around the house to help with asthma (like new pillows!). 
I've got a few more ideas on the running with asthma 101 page if you haven't read it already. 

Anyways, those are my tips. What are yours? I could use 'em!