Karine recalls how she felt physically weak before her asthma diagnosis.
Absolutely, absolutely. It’s a natural instinct. Everything that you try to do physically is challenging. You try to exert yourself, and you can’t breathe. You exert yourself harder, and you start having an asthma attack. You feel like you are sickly. You feel like you are not capable. You feel like you are weak. You feel like you are frail. You become afraid to do things. People around you see you that way because they see that every time that you try to do something physically, you get sick; you don’t feel well. You are not able to do it. You are falling behind the pack.
So after a while, people are afraid for you. They want to watch out for you. They want to make sure that you don’t get hurt. They don’t want you to get too involved. They don’t want you to exert yourself. So not only are you feeling weak and frail, but the people around you are seeing you as weak and frail, and it’s a horrible situation to be in. You don’t want to feel like that. You don’t want to be viewed that way. But yeah, it’s a horrible situation, and especially being a woman, I think it’s a double whammy because oftentimes women are viewed as that the weaker, the more frail, and people want to do things for you. They want to take care of you because they see you as incapable of doing things, and you add to that the concept of weakness and frailty as it relates to asthma, and I think it’s kind of a double whammy for women because you are getting it from both sides, and you don’t want that.
You want to be strong. You want to be healthy. You want to be capable. You don’t want people babying you. You don’t want them pushing you aside. You know, “Don’t worry about that. I’ll get that for you; let me handle it for you.” Let me deal with it. It’s my condition. It’s part of who I am; it’s part of my makeup. It’s never going to go away. Don’t treat me differently because I am a woman. Don’t treat me differently because I have asthma. It’s just an element of my life. Let me be who I am. Let me take care of myself. I am a strong person. I can handle it.
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