I spent my early years growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. At age 5, I was diagnosed with allergies and severe asthma. The brutal winters and very pollinated summers of the Midwest triggered lots of allergy issues, which then often triggered asthmatic episodes. I spent many hours away from school at doctor’s offices and in emergency rooms.
When I was 8, I was rushed to the emergency room for a severe asthmatic flare-up. My asthma was so bad that doctors had to give me an adrenaline shot to the heart to save my life. It was terrifying for my parents. At that point, they started researching alternative medicine; they wanted to be be able to control my asthma so that I was never in a life-threatening situation again.
After much research and luck, they found acupuncture, and that finding changed the course of my life. Over time, my symptoms lessened and became more controllable. I was able to stop the majority of the steroid medications and my parents were able to manage my asthma attacks at home with less medicine in general. I still spent hours in steam showers to open my lungs, but my family and I became more aware of asthmatic triggers and our household shifted. No dairy, no sugar, and we moved to the West Coast where the air was easier to breathe. This was the beginning of my understanding of how to keep my body well. I still carry an emergency inhaler for those moments we cannot control, but that’s part of self-care awareness. Sometimes, just knowing it’s with me makes the difference.