As a freshman in high school, I could pole vault over nine feet and was on a competitive softball team. I was tough. I was kind. I loved God, my family, and my friends. I was a farm girl who worked hard and enjoyed feeling the refreshing breeze afterward.
Then I was in an accident that caused my life to change forever. I was air-lifted from a field to a hospital. A week later, I woke up confused, in pain and on a ventilator. The next thing I remember was my doctors telling me my upper right lung lobe had to be removed.
Once back home, I constantly feared getting hurt and having my lung collapse. I would stay on the river bank while my friends would swing from a rope into the water. It was a bleak time for me and I was anxious and depressed.
Scar tissue from the operation caused persistent chest pain but I tried my best to lead a normal life. My high school boyfriend and I married and we had a baby in hopes of better days ahead.
But, instead, my chest pain continued and I became short of breath. Respiratory infections with never-ending coughing and mucus made me constantly tired. My doctor prescribed oral and nebulized antibiotics and I felt defeated. That is when I came across Linda Esposito’s book, “The BE CLEAR Method to Living with Bronchiectasis.” How could this woman be so positive about her diagnosis?
I wanted that!
So, I found the courage I had in my youth and took control of my health with exercise, yoga and airway clearance. I also traveled to a neighboring state for a second medical opinion. Now, with fewer infections, I work as a third-grade school teacher and track coach. Over the past year, my husband, son and I have shared fun and memorable times together. I look forward to many more.
A huge thank you to Linda and everyone in the bronchiectasis community for sharing your stories and for reminding me that I am not alone on this journey.
Please know, no matter your situation, you, too, can take small steps toward a healthier life.
Interested in underwriting the BE-America series? Contact Linda Esposito, MPH to discuss details. Let’s work together to show people living with bronchiectasis we support them!!
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Linda Cooper Esposito, MPH is a health educator with bronchiectasis. She developed the BE CLEAR Method to Living with Bronchiectasis and writes with compassion and humor about this chronic lung disease.