Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? Or almost drowned? Welcome to my world. When I was a little kid, I was in and out of hospitals. My asthma was bad, but it went away in my earlier teenaged years. For 13 years, I lived my life with hardly any reminders of asthma. When I was 21 years old, my asthma came back in full force, knocking me out of commission for almost 5 months. It hid itself behind what I thought was bronchitis, which quickly escalated in to pnemonia, and was then peppered by what seemed like random symptoms – anemia and erratically losing my vision. I barely had the strength to walk down the hall to the bathroom.
As terrifying and frustrating as this time period was, the worst of it was losing my active lifestyle. I am an outdoorswoman. I love to hike, run, backpack for days carrying everything I need, camp, rock climb, play sports, and jump off of cliffs. Losing my ability to take in air meant that not only was I unable to do those things, I was so exhausted from being oxygen starved that I lived on a bed for almost 5 months. I wasted away. I lost muscle mass. And not being able to take in the oxygen I needed meant I couldn’t even go up a flight of stairs without losing my breath. I lived on the 3rd floor.
Today, my asthma is mostly in control, but every day is different. I love a physical challenge and go to H.E.A.T. Bootcamp four days a week. When Austin allergies are high, I am hyper-aware of it because I am unable to perform certain things, or exert myself cardiovascularly the way that I normally can. The limitations can definitely take an emotional toll because even though I’m “healthy”, asthma at times can make the simplest of things difficult. Being able to take a full inhale is something that I don’t take for granted.
On May 19th, 33 days from now, Team Stairanoia is coming back together for the American Lung Association’s annual “vertical road race” - The 2012 Fight For Air Climb at the Frost Bank Tower. Climbers will navigate up 30 stories equaling 660 steps, challenging their lungs to the get to the top. Wanna see what it’s like?
Team Stairanoia – 2011 Fight for Air Climb Video and Photos
*taken by teammate Greg Ackermann - @g_ack
(Yes, that’s me hugging stairwell and my inhaler on the 27th floor.)
*One of our own, James Blake, singing the national anthem.
*Team Stairanoia hanging out pre-climb.
*Me and Alex Stivers hashtagging our bibs with #teamstairanoia.
Register with the code ALA between April 16-22nd and get your registration fee waived. As of today, our team has raised $1,165. We just want you to join our team, make some noise, spread the news about lung disease and ALA, and raise some money with us. Every dollar, every effort, and every body counts. Join Team Stairanoia.
Current Team Stairanoia Members
Katrina Tolentino - @realaustin
Joey McGirr - @joeymcgirr
James Blake - @theblakefirm
Wesley Faulkner - @wesley83
Narissa Johnson - @narissatweets
Ariana Crowther - @arianacrowther
Alex Stivers - @alexstivers
It’s a blast and you’ll meet a great group of people! If you’re involved, or want to become more involved in the Austin social media community, Team Stairanoia is the team to join. Have questions? Not sure whether you can do it? Let’s chat about it! Reach out to me at @realaustin on Twitter or shoot me a line on Facebook.
Join us and see you at the top!