We keep hearing how Asthma is an incurable disease and it’s a lifelong companion, though unwanted. I believed so too before I took matters in my hands for the betterment. I was sure that with the right approach and willpower I can win against the battle with asthma and I did at last. In this story, I want to tell you how I accomplished the unattainable and assure you too that it’s possible for everyone. Maybe you know someone who must be struggling with this disease and not finding a way out. You can help your loved ones by assuring them it’s possible to beat this demon.
Since birth, I have had breathing problems.
Whenever I used to catch a cold, my breathing became erratic and laborious with severe attacks of dry cough. My parents were always making rounds of doctors in the middle of the night. The condition became a little better as I grew and by the time I was 13 years old, these episodes became less regular.
We were happy that the condition was resolved on its own. On reaching adulthood, I was practically free of any bout. I got married at the right age and conceived within a year. Everything was good for the first few months.
In the sixth month of my pregnancy, I caught a cold and my breathing disorder returned with a vengeance.
I was grounded for a full week and couldn’t take antibiotics because of my pregnancy. The problem persisted for a week and then was gone on its own. But after this, I experienced other more severe episodes in the next few months. Then after my delivery, I consulted a specialist and he immediately put me on inhalers and medicines. These helped temporarily but I started dreading catching a cold. I stopped eating anything cold and feared even looking in the direction of the refrigerator!
The medicines, instead of curing me worsened the intensity of attacks. Now I started wheezing too which wasn’t there before. On raising my concern with the doctor, he just ignored and told me to trust him and his treatment. But, I was not convinced and consulted with other doctors. The result was the same everywhere. The inhaler and medicine helped only to alleviate my symptoms but did nothing to stop the attacks. I wanted a cure for my condition and not just temporary relief but couldn’t find any solution.
The cure came to me by accident.
After my first daughter was born, I had gained some weight, and to reduce it I joined a gym in my building. For the first time in my life, I started exercising regularly. Having had no weight issues before and super thin all through my life, I never exercised. This is not a healthy approach to exercise only for weight loss but I didn’t know this at that time.
Then, one day my daughter caught a cold and fever. Her fever continued for three weeks even after giving antibiotics. Her paediatrician told me about the Influenza vaccine. It protected against frequent colds and flu. Since I was having a cough at that time, he advised me to take the vaccine too. I was a little apprehensive in the beginning, I mean, who takes vaccination against the cold? But the Dr convinced me and I took the shot and also gave it to my daughter.
I could see the vaccine result in my daughter in a few days, her fever was gone. For me though, the results were not immediate. Dr. had advised me to take the shot once every year. Run out of options, I followed his advice and continued with my exercise regime too. I included yoga and breathing exercises in my routine.
Though I couldn’t see much improvement in my condition, something kept me going.
I had tried everything medical science had to offer. At the young age of 26, I worried about my future life and how will I be able to carry out my responsibilities as a wife and mother if I continued to be so ill?
Asthma can rob you of the simple joys of life. Taking a long walk with your partner, running with your child, going on family hiking trips; I missed doing everything.
My husband seemed helpless and could do nothing to help me. I had frequent bouts of severe cough which lasted several minutes and left me breathless and tired. The humid weather of Mumbai where I was living at that time worsened my condition.
With regular exercise, yoga, and flu vaccine every year, my condition improved a little.
Then because of my husband’s job, we had to move to Doha, Qatar( a small country in the Middle East). Here the weather was dry throughout the year with severe heat and mild winters. This improved my condition a little but just as I was taking comfort in the weather, the sand storm arrived to worsen my situation. For the first time, I saw a desert sand storm. The sand was so fine, it could seep through the window linings and beneath the doors. It was everywhere in the house and pervaded my nose. Again I was bedridden and round two of the doctors started.
I was miserable and even had this thought that why God was punishing me in this way? Granted, I was not too religious but had always had faith in supreme power and never harmed anyone intentionally. So, why was I facing all this?
But, unknown to me, my God was always with me. He was the driving force to keep me going when I thought of skipping gym or yoga and convinced me to continue even without any results.
Our problem is that we expect results too soon. From god and ourselves, both. Then, when the expected doesn’t happen we blame our luck and god. It never occurs to us that we were not patient enough.
I was fortunate enough to have this motivation going on without any visible effects. Since my problem persisted only when I was having a bout of cold, I was able to continue my workout mostly through the year. To make new friends in an unknown country, I joined an aerobics class near my house. That was the best decision of my life. In the starting, I couldn’t keep up with the fast pace, but slowly my stamina and strength increased, and I started enjoying the classes.
The real benefit came to me when I joined a yoga class.
It was a professional institute with specialized instructors. I told them about my condition and they taught me special breathing exercises and asanas which were very effective in asthma healing.
Some of them are :
- Surya Namaskar (sun salutation): It is a total workout if done correctly with the right breathing. The main beauty of Yoga is that it combines correct breathing with asanas. In the 12 steps involved, a breathing pattern is prescribed beforehand and we have to follow it to get the maximum benefit. Although it’s full cardio, still by correct inhalation and exhalation techniques, We don’t get breathless and can do 10 -12 rounds comfortably.
- Pranayam: I practise 3 main exercises from this technique.
The first of them is Anulom Vilom. In this, we inhale from one side and exhale from another side of the nose. This is a very effective technique for all kinds of problems related to breathing and the nose. People having any type of sinus and nose allergies should practise this every day. Actually, everyone should practise this exercise every day for a disease-free and healthy life.
The second is Kapaal Bhati, which involves rapid breathing with the inward pulling of the stomach.
The third is Bhramari: In this, we close our eyes and ears with our fingers and chant Om slowly and for as much longer as possible in a single breath. The humming sound vibrations produced are known to have a calming effect and relieves us from stress and anxiety. Both these factors are very strong triggers for an asthma attack.
The combined effects of aerobics and yoga started showing in a few months.
What I started to bring relief in my breathing problem, now had another advantage which I loved! Although I never experienced any weight problem, I had a few extra pounds here and there. With this regular regime, I had a very good side effect in form of a toned and slim body! And I loved the results. The outfits which I earlier gave side glances in a store but never mustered the courage to actually try, now fitted me so well. I was ecstatic about these new changes in my body.
Now, whenever I went out and met any friend, their first response was always about how fabulous I look. This brought confidence in me which I had never felt in my life. I looked good and attractive now, this knowledge was a very big confidence booster.
As for my asthma, I was still taking my medications and occasional inhaler. Though now the attacks had become less regular, it was because I was having few episodes of cold and cough. Still, whenever I had cold n flu, my asthma returned and I couldn’t function for a few days. But I was thankful that now my life was almost normal and I was able to take one or two trips yearly and could walk the whole day and enjoy new places. Still, I used to avoid very cold places. Tropical destinations or mildly cold were the only places we planned. But it's something at least.
I was sure that the changes I was seeing were because of regular workouts and so I made sure that I never missed or skipped them even for a day.
On days when I couldn’t go to class, I exercised at home. I didn’t know at that time that I’ll be rewarded very handsomely for my efforts.
Nearly 7 years passed since I started the regular workout and 5 years in Doha. My condition was getting better each day but still, I couldn’t say that I was cured. Cure means when you don’t experience the problem at all, but still, I had at least one attack in a year.
I was taking the flu vaccine every year. Qatar's government( where I presently live) have this very good free vaccine campaign every year. I advised many friends to take it and also to give it to their kids. But very few people actually listened to me. I think everyone believes that a vaccine will decrease our immunity power against disease but in fact, it’s the opposite. Still today, I strongly recommend everyone to take this vaccine once a year. It has played a very important role in my recovery.
At last, Gods were pleased with my perseverance and I was rewarded for it. The year 2017 went by and I didn’t have a single attack! For the first time, I had to replace a new inhaler without being used even once because the expiry date was gone. I was so happy but feared that this will not last long because how can asthma be cured when everyone tells me that it’s an incurable disease.
Then 2018 also went by. I caught a cold once but it didn’t reach a very severe level and I recovered within 3–4 days. It was then that I started believing that I was finally cured. My doctor was still not ready to believe and prescribed me an inhaler and advised me to keep it handy always. I listened to her and bought a new one again just in case.
Now, it's 2020 and I haven’t used an inhaler or medicine in the last three years and not a single attack.
So, finally, I can say that I’m cured of asthma.
This has changed my life in many ways. Last year in December, I visited Georgia where temperatures were between zero and three degrees celsius, and I didn’t have any problem. We hiked, walked, and enjoyed ourselves fully.
A normal person will not understand why this is a big deal but I’m sure, someone with asthma or other breathing problem will relate to me as to why it means so much to me.
Based on my experience, I can say a few things confidently about treating asthma:
- Doctors can’t cure asthma, that's for sure. They can just give temporary relief but cure comes from within us. But It’s important to listen to the Dr. until you are fully cured. Inhalers and medicines are life-saving and they shouldn’t be ignored. Always keep inhalers handy even if you don’t use them ever and keep replacing them every year.
- It takes time for these things to heal. It took me more than nine years to completely heal. You have to be patient and don’t lose hope. Natural cures always take time and patience.
- God is always with you, never forget that. It might feel many times that He has left us on our own or worse, not believing in Him. But our God never leaves our side, he’s just testing our perseverance and willpower and making us better humans in the process. So, keep believing in him and you will never feel directionless.
- Celebrate the small things in life. Many people don’t get even those basic happiness. Feel privileged that you have a healthy body and don’t abuse it with unhealthy habits.
- Never take your body for granted. A healthy body free from illness is a precious gift by God and it’s your duty to take good care of it. Sleeping late at night and getting up late, unhealthy and junk food, negative thoughts, wishing bad for others; these are some things which make our bodies hollow from inside and they leave our side very soon.
- Don’t focus on results, keep doing your ‘Karma’ and ‘Fal’ or the result will follow on its own.
- Yoga is still to be explored fully. If practised from a very young age regularly, it has the power to keep everyone healthy and disease-free throughout a lifetime.
- Lastly, but the most important factor in your healing process is your willpower to get better. You have to believe in yourself and your abilities and never give up too easily. A happy and positive mind can do wonders for you.
I hope that I’ll be able to motivate at least a few people to get better results in life.
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