When You’re Left with No Choice: Living with Severe Asthma

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

For the past 1 1/2 years, few people who don’t live or associate closely with me would have known I have severe asthma. I’m a first soprano – a mouth of the South – and I can wear out someone half my age with my energy. A bit of a health nut, I largely took a nutritional approach to controlling my asthma. For a while, that worked.

But as of late my weakness is evident to all.

It started with a sinus infection. Any respiratory infection sends my immune system reeling, and this one did not disappoint. The asthma attacks increased greatly in frequency, and I again found myself tethered to inhalers and a nebulizer.

Two weeks after finishing my antibiotic, I began to drag again. The attacks were around-the-clock. Sleep, something I have never excelled at, became an even greater challenge. I was forced to return to my lung doctor, knowing full well what I would hear.

Steroids. Yet another maintenance medication. Extreme caution to avoid contact with sick people. Yeah, that’s been an easy one considering I’ve been visiting family members at the hospital all week.

I can’t sing. I can’t exercise. And of course, I can barely sleep. The coughing remains my constant adversary. Temporary relief comes at the hand of much medication.

This was not my choice. I wanted to continue to live in denial that I have a serious autoimmune issue. I wanted to maintain control by doing everything I knew was right. But my condition has spiraled out of control, and I had to make peace with my powerlessness, or at least my perception of it.

Though I desperately want a different reality, though I want to run, jump, play – and sing – like every other overgrown kid, I am anything but powerless. God hears, He knows, and He cares. So I will boast of my weakness so His power may rest in me.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26

Someday He will either call me home or airlift me out of this world, and He will give me a perfect body. He will wipe every tear and squelch every cough and wheeze. I will know perfect rest and peace, and I will receive my reward.

That is someday – a glorious someday. Today I persevere. I call continuously upon His strength and praise Him for His grace, that I’m able to press on despite being winded and exhausted. And by His grace, I will give Him the glory.

Disregard my suffering. Instead, look upon the One who suffered and died for me and then rose again to give me new life so that death would hold no sting.

I have no choice right now about how to respond to my condition. I do have a choice about how to respond in the midst of it. May I be found praising His name, even as I reach for my inhaler in the middle of the night.

6 thoughts on “When You’re Left with No Choice: Living with Severe Asthma

  1. Cheri Henderson says:

    I appreciate it, Dan! You probably remember, from your times visiting Tammy at our apartment building, the attacks I would have as I walked into my room in the middle of winter as the dry heat blew in my face. Now that’s history!

  2. Tom King says:

    Cheri: My 13 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with asthma. But we found a holistic solution that works like a charm, Praise God. I can send you a summary of our scary adventure, with the happy ending.We learned quite a bit about the illness and the assumptions about it. I have nothing to sell. Just trying to help a sister in Christ. LMK Blessings , Tommy King

    • Cheri Henderson says:

      Tom, that’s very generous of you! I do a lot nutritionally, which is why I really dislike all the meds. You can message me from my Facebook page: Facebook.com/halffullandoverflowing. Thanks so much!