I'm Breathing!


Breathing - how often I took it for granted when I was young. Sure, I had frequent colds and wheezing breaths, but I never knew that I had asthma. At the age of forty-four I had my first life threatening asthma attack. I resisted being put on prednisone, because I didnít want to gain weight. I just would not believe that I could die. I was revived on the floor of my physicianís office with four alarmed doctors hovering over me. It took four shots of prednisone to save my life and three weeks of high doses of oral prednisone. I donít know which was worse, almost dying or the lingering weeks of recovery.

In the last fifteen years I have discovered just how precious I am, especially to my family. I have been blessed with the devotion of my daughters, as they keep their vigilant watch over me when I am desperately ill. They have shared their thoughts and dreams with me and have made me laugh and cry. I have realized just how possible is the impossible when one has the faith to strive, to endure, and to love. How precious is that love.

I have seen both my husband and daughters exhaust themselves creating walled gardens, hauling dirt and mulch, planting trees and shrubs and flowers, so that my eyes can behold loveliness through my window. I cannot decide which is more stunning, the brilliant shades of my roses and lilies or their loving efforts. You see, my asthma has taught me about how extraordinary and rare true beauty is.

My asthma has given me something else very precious. It has given me time. Time - the one rare ingredient that the rest of the world canít seem to find. If only there were more hours to the day; days to the week; weeks to the year, then there would be enough time. The more hurried the world becomes, the less time it can capture. I am blessed. I have plenty of time. I can walk slow on the good days, and I can see more of what I missed when I didnít take the time in my youth. I can write the things that are nearest and dearest to my heart.

The most remarkable gift I have received, however, is an inner peace. I no longer rush through the good things in life. I seize the opportunity to watch the blazing sunset from beginning to end. I meet the rosy dawn in the mountains where I live, with a song in my heart as the sun chases away the ribbons of the night. I am thankful for every breath, knowing that my Creator holds each one in His hand. I marvel at the love within my husbandís eyes when he looks at me, knowing that he has never gazed upon anyone so lovely.

There are new treatments for asthma, and I am on an aggressive regimen. In 1994 my pulmonologist promised me that within ten years there would be new drugs approved that would be nothing short of miraculous. I didnít believe her, yet it has become a reality for me. My serious asthma attacks are now fewer and farther apart. Thankfully they are shorter and less life threatening. I make certain to keep up with the latest treatments, and I keep a good working relationship with my doctor, based on mutual respect and trust.

At fifty-nine I am in charge of my asthma, instead of my asthma being in charge of me. Asthma has given me many things. It has given me strength and determination, so that I will never let it conquer my spirit. I am thankful for each new day. I have faith. I have hope. I have love. I am precious. Life is beautiful, because Iím breathing!

Jaye Lewis

Jaye Lewis is a born again Christian who lives and writes in the beautiful mountains of Virginia, USA. Her story, I'm Breathing, has been selected to appear in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living: Asthma, which will be published in 2006. Although many of Jaye's stories are award winning, her greatest blessing is her relationship with God, and her wonderful family. Jaye and her husband have been married nearly twenty-five years; yet their love is still new. Visit Jaye's website at www.entertainingangels.org and email her at jayelewis@comcast.net

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