Patient Profile - "AsthmaChef"
One of the cool things about my journey with creating BreatheLiveFit is the opportunity to connect with others that I probably would have never met otherwise. When I started writing this blog, I didn’t really think about the fact that so many of you from all around the world would be reading my advice, tips, and tricks on managing your lung condition. This has allowed me to reach you in your homes and bring the information right to your phone, tablet, and computer. Another thing I have enjoyed is connecting with folks through social media. I love to refer to it as “e meeting.” I happened to come across my friend Lorene’s Instagram feed one day when I was scrolling through and let me tell you… I was inspired. First of all, anyone who knows me well knows I love to cook, so her handle @AsthmaChef grabbed me. Then I started scrolling down and saw all her wonderful dishes and inspiration and I knew I had to get to know this awesome lady. It turns out that Lorene (who has asthma herself) is building wonderful blog where she combines her two passions, food and helping others manage their asthma. She has her degree in culinary arts and is a certified asthma educator. Although we haven’t met “in person,” I can tell you that through her own quest to manage her diagnosis, she is building a fabulous resource for people with asthma (and really any lung diagnosis) to learn how to cook “good for you” foods without slacking on the flavor.
If you are new to BreatheLiveFit, you may not have had the opportunity to read some of the profiles that I have presented in the past. So, this is how it goes… I send out a questionnaire to the person being profiled and they go through and answer each question. They have full autotomy from me to talk about anything they want to share. You get this information directly from them without any editing from me. This is a wonderful platform to hear about their journey and what advice they have from their personal perspective. I absolutely love reading these and I hope even if you don’t have asthma that you take something positive (whether it be advice or inspiration) from reading this blog and are able to use it in your daily lives.
Without further ado, it is my pleasure to present to you my latest profile on BreatheLiveFit… The AsthmaChef
1. Tell us about yourself. (Age? Family? Career?)
I am in my mid-50’s. and live in the Washington DC area with my dog, Marley. After a successful career as a chef and restaurant owner, I switched careers to work in nonprofits. I landed at the American Lung Association where I found my passion for asthma education. I am currently the director of education for the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.
2. What is your lung diagnosis and how did you first learn you had a lung condition?
I have severe persistent asthma. My asthma is triggered by allergens, irritants and infections. I was told in college that I had asthma during an emergency room visit, but wasn’t actually given a lung function test until I was in my 40’s. I was having a lot of trouble breathing while in culinary school and working in professional kitchens (including my own!) due to the stress and heat of the kitchen.
3. What types of activities do you enjoy? Have you had to make any accommodations due to your lung condition?
I love to hike with my dog which is great exercise and fun but often includes exposure to allergens that can trigger my asthma. Taking my quick-relief medication before hiking helps and carrying my inhaler and using it at the first sign of symptoms is an accommodation I have made peace with. I also enjoy knitting and belong to a few knitting groups. It’s a great social activity that is meditative and doesn’t expose me to triggers. Of course, I still love to cook and develop low-inflammatory recipes that I hope help asthma and improve overall health.
4. What activities do you struggle to do on a daily basis?
Climbing stairs! Just seeing a flight of stairs causes me to panic. Even when my asthma is well controlled climbing stairs always makes me short of breath.
5. Do you participate in an exercise program or pulmonary rehab? What do you do to keep fit? How have you benefited from this exercise?
I do not participate in pulmonary rehab, but it has done wonders for my father. Walking my dog daily helps me stay fit - I usually average around 13,000 steps a day. I have an alarm set on my smartwatch to get up from my desk every 50 minutes and move around to avoid sitting for too long.
6. Do you have any tips or advice that you have figured out over time that help you to manage your lung condition?
When you have a chronic condition like asthma, you need to be your own best advocate. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you need when you are at the doctor’s office or the ER. You know your body best. Ask for the tests and medications you need to better manage your disease.
7. Best advice given to you since your diagnosis.
When you start questioning if you should go to the ER, it is time to go.
8. Worst advice given to you since or diagnosis.
The essential oils will cure or relieve asthma symptoms.
9. Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Please ask your doctor for lung function testing. Many general practitioners will just listen to your lungs and take a symptom/medical history to make a diagnosis. This is not enough! A doctor would never prescribe insulin without checking your blood sugar levels, and a doctor should never prescribe asthma medications without using lung function testing.
Thanks for Reading!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your own journey with your lung condition. I would love to hear from you!
If you enjoyed this blog, I invite you to check out some of the topics I have covered in the past
Remember: We are in this TOGETHER!
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