A Perspective on the Preventative | Confessions of a Severe Asthmatic

Earlier this week, I wrote about “Medicine Shaming” and how education and sensitivity are important when interacting with people who have chronic illness. Every – action – matters.

Smile Today and Live Tomorrow
I love it when posts ignite the fire in readers and they reach out to me to share their experiences and how they have coped with their own private hell that accompanies chronic illness. It’s funny, a lot of us (chronically ill) have experienced similar conversations and frustrating exchanges with people about our medicine intake or requirements that help us get through the day. Unfortunately, the resistance others take towards our chronic illnesses is difficult and change is required. I noticed we all shared very similar experiences – other people either shaming us for the medications we have to take or telling us about the latest leaf that will cure us forever.

I would like to enlighten the people who need some support in understanding the preventative medicines we need to smile today and live tomorrow.

Let’s Try It
Remember when you were younger and you had “that” relationship? The one where he or she was “the one” you’d give up your virginity to? Many of us ladies equated that moment with “the one I will marry” and all these crazy, romantic notions entered our heads…like children dream of how Christmas Day will be.

Part of being sexually active includes being sexually responsible, right? What I’m referring to is contraceptives. For this post, I’m going to use oral contraceptives as my example. The birth control pill has many uses and some of them include:

  • Avoiding unplanned pregnancy
  • Regulate periods
  • Reduce severe cramping
  • Reduce ovarian cysts
  • Regulating hormones
  • (The list goes on but that’s not the point of this post)

Preventative Precautions
Generally, the average woman uses birth control to avoid unplanned pregnancy. We can agree on that, right?

In order for oral contraceptives to be effective, they need to be taken every single day at essentially the exact same time. Yes, I realize there are the “placebo” or sugar pills that could be included with the monthly pills and some don’t take them – incase you needed to point that out to me.

There are 365 days in the year for which a woman generally takes the pill. When a woman first begins taking the pill, she is informed that it takes about 7 days for it to be considered effective with sexual activity. Hm. A medication taken daily to stop ovulation to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Pretty cool! It would be even cooler if men could take birth control pills too, but that’s an entirely different topic!

How many women do you personally know who engage in sexual intercourse / activity 365 days of the year? Yes, I get it…perhaps with prostitution it’s possible, but let’s just stick with the average woman.

I’m going to guess that many of you don’t know many, if any, that do. Oddly, many of these women take an oral contraceptive daily to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Let that sink in for a moment. Oral contraceptives are required daily in order to be effective for unplanned pregnancy and the other reasons listed above. Seems like oral contraceptives are very similar to the medications that chronically ill people also take daily, right? See where I’m going here??

Preventative Medication for Chronically Ill
About 95% of the asthma and allergy medication I regular take is considered preventive. They are required in order to:

  • Reduce the onset of an asthma attack or allergic reaction
  • Enable me to breathe a lot easier, without wheezing or coughing all day
  • Improve my daily quality of life
  • Allow me to workout or have the ability to have a fitness regiment
  • Enable me the opportunity to have pets
  • Enable me the incredible opportunity to accompany my daughter when she works with horses or rides them (I’m severely allergic to horses)

The fact that I have been able to watch my daughter be around horses for much of her life is a joy that I cannot even begin to describe. I love being able to participate in doing things my daughter loves as much as possible. With my preventative medication, we are even able to consider having a horse on our property for my daughter. If Ididn’t have such good medications, this wouldn’t be possible. The patient or medicine plan that my specialists and I have developed over the years has been successful for my quality of life.

Many people who have chronic illnesses are prescribed preventative medicines to reduce or avoid any attacks associated to their illness and allow them to have fuller, happier lives. Think about that for a minute. In order for us to avoid attacks / symptoms etc, we take preventative medication. In order for a sexually active couple to avoid pregnancy, the woman takes an oral contraceptive…are you with me?

If I stopped taking the preventative medications, my asthma will become exponentially worse. If a woman stopped taking her oral contraceptive and didn’t use any other method of birth control AND engaged  in sexual activity, her chances of getting pregnant are exponentially increased. See where this makes sense?

Ask the Right Questions
If you’re able to take my example for what it is and understand preventative medicines for the chronically ill can be equated to something as simple as why women take birth control pills, you might be able to take things a step further to open your hearts and minds.

Instead of resisting the simple fact that we (chronically ill) need medications to improve our quality of life, learn more about why we need the medicines we do in order to live our lives as normal, productive and healthy as possible. You might learn that this is not how we choose to live, but how we live as best we can with what we have. I can guarantee you that most of us would trade in our monthly refill prescriptions to lead perfectly healthy lives.

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