Even as I write this I sit here with a nebulizer in my mouth. A nebulizer, a little machine with a pump and some tubing and a mouthpiece that aerates liquid medicine to go into my lungs and make them shut the hell up.
I can’t even tell if this is working.
I’m not the big medication sort. I hate it, actually, but when faced with the choice of death or breath, I’m taking the drugs. I really want to be here in this world, in this body, in this life. Yes, I want even this life with all of its woes and worries. I want even this body with all of its stretch marks, shortcomings, and imperfections. I love everything, remember?
This breathlessness began during the fall of my first pregnancy over twelve years ago. I’d experienced some hay fever prior to that, but nothing like the wheezing that had begun to bother me.
In the ensuing twelve years I have cried, prayed, used herbs of all sorts, taken homeopathic remedies, seen therapists, received acupuncture treatments, and hoped, and hoped, and hoped that this would let up. Instead, it’s only gotten worse. And now, I take more and more drugs: steroids, beta-antagonist blockers, leuketriene inhibitors, things that suppress my immune system, make my hands shake like an early morning alcoholic, can have dangerous side-effects.
I have studied the correlation between lung problems and suppressed grief. It’s a connection recognized in several major healing modalities. I have certainly experienced grief in my life, more than some, less than others, I’m sure. But I certainly don’t feel as though I’m suppressing ANYTHING at this point. I let it all hang out. I speak my truth, loudly, much to everyone’s dismay sometimes. I weep unabashedly; I write enthusiastically, I dance earth-poundingly. I do not hold anything back. Repression isn’t my thing. There sure is plenty to feel grief about, but I am feeling it, not squirreling it away to lurk deviantly and destructively in the recesses of my alveoli.
In all fairness, I have to say that I live in one of the most beautiful and the most polluted places in America. The air in western North Carolina is rated amongst the worst in quality in the country. A murky haze that has steadily grown thicker and more ugly each year mucks up our beautiful mountain views and causes rates of childhood asthma and adult asthma related deaths to increase every year. I may be a victim of our ongoing environmental onslaught of all things pure and healthy.
But I hope not. I actually have hope, still, quite a lot of it. I have somehow managed to maintain hope for me, for the air, for the earth, for the water. I wrote myself an affirmation:
My lungs are light and air-filled, loose and comfortable, well oxygenated and pink. They remain constantly open for the breath of life and constantly relaxed even during duress. Though my body recognizes it is living in a toxic time on precious earth, it is strong enough to deal with even the most potent poisons and continues to function fully well so that I may work hard to eradicate the risk of toxicity for all.
So mote it be.