I am thirty years old and have had asthma all of my life. I am usually an optimistic person, but I have never really looked forward to a long life, because I was sure that one day I would be unable to breathe, and slip quietly away, to become just another statistic.
One summer evening in 2005 that almost became a reality. While out with friends at a bar I had the most severe asthma attack that I have had in a very long time. I did not lose consciousness but when the ambulance arrived I could no longer walk, talk, stand and I was only moments away from losing consciousness. Imagine putting your head in to a plastic bag and waiting to lose consciousness. I was terrified thinking that in a few minutes I could be dead, with my wife of only a few weeks and friends looking on unable to help.
Over the next year I struggled through the winter and was looking forward to the slight reprieve that the next summer would bring, but thinking all the time that I was not going to live that long. I was struggling to go to work, having to take time off now and again, and all the time using incredible amounts of drugs to try to help me with my asthma.
At this time I was fortunate to be joined by a new work colleague, Barbara Sleith, who told me about her friend Glenn White and his Buteyko courses. Barbara told me about the success he was having in helping people with asthma and encouraged me to enrol in a course.
From the very first session of the Buteyko course my asthma started to improve. I was able to reduce my Ventolin to only three puffs on the first day and I have not need to use it at all since the second day of the course.
I could not believe it, I seemed to be free of all symptoms in two days.
A course of treatment is only five visits of ninety minutes each. There is a structure of follow up appointments that you can attend over the next year and you can always ring up and get all the support that you need. The five days with Glenn have not changed my life, those few hours have given me my life. I am now doing things that people take for granted. People would laugh at me if they knew how I felt about really simple things. No one knows how good it is to be able to do things that are really normal, things that were once so difficult for me that I would just not do them. I can walk to the letter box, climb stairs, walk up a hill, and even run, all this without getting breathless or needing medication of any sort.
At no time during the Buteyko course was I told to stop my medication. I have in fact been told that I must not stop my preventative medication without seeing my Doctor first. I have since done this and have stopped using all medication.
I feel like I a normal person now and I do have a future.
I have now enrolled in University and I am making plans for some overseas travel. I have bought a house and I look forward to the time when I can have children.
Six months after my first appointment:
After seeing Glenn and consulting with my doctor I no longer use any medication to control my asthma. I have learned how to control my asthma in difficult situations more efficiently in less time and all without drugs of any kind.
That being said I have had no symptoms of asthma for a long time even now in the middle of winter. I have not used any medication since completing the course and I look forward to a much longer, happier and healthier life.
I feel eternally indebted to my friend Barbara and will be forever grateful to her for saving my life. Glenn has shown me how to breathe. Thank you Glenn.