Welcome to the beginning! “Beginning of what?” you ask?
This is the story of my ongoing quest to breathe better.
Everyone likes breathing. It’s a good thing. It’s better if you don’t need allergy pills or asthma meds or several different kinds of steroid nasal sprays to get the job done.
I’ve decided to share my quest, with the hope that perhaps someone out there will read it and be able to help me find the missing piece of my puzzle.
First, a little background.
In 2004, I was a married, stay at home mom to two amazing little men. I worked part time at a job I loved. I had network of great friends and family. Sounds pretty good huh?
Well, except for a stuffy nose. I don’t just mean a little stuffy; I mean a stuffy nose that never ever went away. I always sounded like I had a bad cold. I felt like I always had a cold. My ears were plugged. My senses of smell and taste were affected. Hearing and smelling and tasting are pretty important, right?
Did I mention my passion for singing and cooking? Some people used to call me the Kareoke Queen. I gave up singing when I couldn’t hit the notes because of the congestion in my stuffy nose. My little boys, my friends and my family loved my cooking and baking.
I was loosing the ability to enjoy my favourite things, so it was time to make a change.
I thought I had a stuffy nose because I was a smoker. So, after many years and several failed attempts, I finally quit smoking. Then, of course, I started to gain weight. (Proving to myself that cigarettes really are an appetite suppressant) I got a membership to a gym and became a regular. After a year, I was working out 5 or 6 days a week. At 33 years old, I was in the best shape of my life. I had abs! I was buff!
And I still had a stuffy nose.
For years I’d been told my stuffy nose was due to seasonal allergies. I’ve been a seasonal allergy sufferer for as long as I can remember. When I was little my eyes would get itchy and watery and when I gave in and rubbed them, they would swell shut. As an adult, I didn’t suffer the itchy eyes…I had an arsenal of allergy meds at the ready to avoid those puffy eyes. But they had lost their oomph. All the “extra strength 24 hour relief” pills did was keep me awake, my stuffy nose remained.
Thinking that I needed something stronger than the over- the -counter -extra -strength -24 allergy and sinus pills I would buy at my local pharmacy, I went to an allergist.
Turns out I’m allergic to various grasses, trees, weeds, and dust mites. Oh and cats.
I was told that I needed to eliminate as many allergens from my every day life.
Did I mention that at the time, I lived in a suburban, Southern Ontario neighbourhood, with parks and trees everywhere? Oh, yeah, I also lived with three cats. This was gonna be tough.