Esther, age 41, developed asthma when she was in her 20’s but was not properly diagnosed until sometime later, after having her first child. She is white British and lives with her partner and two children. She works as a primary school teacher. It took a while to come to terms with the idea of taking medication on a long term basis. She had a period of time a few years ago when she was very unwell after suffering from pneumonia, but more recently she has felt fit and healthy, and regularly exercises including running and jogging.
Esther, 41, had her first asthma attack whilst on holiday during her late twenties, but did not realise that it was an asthma attack at the time. A few years later when she had her first child she lived in a place that was quite hilly and found she got breathless and wheezy when she was pushing the pram. Esther visited her doctor and was prescribed antibiotics as well as being diagnosed with asthma. She was given an inhaler and prednisolone, but found it difficult to accept that she had asthma and required medication and she wasn’t keen to take medication regularly.
Esther was unwell with pneumonia a few years ago and describes it as a pivotal point’ in her health. She did not leave the house for three months and experienced fatigue for over a year afterwards. She now feels much healthier and goes running a couple of times a week. She uses her blue inhaler prior to running and says she finds exercise very beneficial. Her triggers include white wine, smoke, perfume and cold weather. When she was younger, Esther smoked around 20 cigarettes a day, and she thinks this may have had an impact on developing asthma. She admits to using her brown inhaler less regularly than she should, but does increase her inhaler use if she has experienced a recent episode of asthma. Esther once tried homeopathy when she had a chest infection. However the infection did not clear up and she was prescribed antibiotics by her doctor. She urges people to visit their doctor first to receive a diagnosis, before trying alternative therapies. Esther has check-ups with an asthma nurse every six months.
Esther’s daughter was diagnosed with asthma when she was 18 months old and during her early childhood was often in and out of hospital. Esther’s ability to work was restricted due the caring responsibilities she had for her daughter, because of the severe nature of the asthma. She feels her daughter’s asthma has also had an impact on her son, who has sensed her anxiety. Esther also reports developing anxiety wheeziness of her own when her daughter is particularly wheezy. Esther’s daughter takes a steroid tablet as a preventer, and also uses brown and blue inhalers. Esther notes the importance of having a drink or brushing your teeth after using the brown inhaler to prevent sore throats. Esther feels that she has been restricted more by her daughter’s asthma than by her own.
Esther feels that the sharing of experiences, and raising awareness and understanding of asthma is important. She advises people to remember to use their preventer inhalers regularly, even if they are feeling better.