Dear Sixteen-Year-Old-Kerri,

This year, some weird stuff will happen. I know that’s not the way you’re used to receiving notes, but because I’m from your future, I know where you’ve come from and where you’re going.

First, it gets better before it gets worse. I know it’s not easy, but right now, stop fighting with the stuff that keeps you alive. Yeah, I’m talking about food. This cyclic battle you’re having with food? It’s not worth it. It’s hard, but you will get out of it faster than you think you will. You and Jesus–you’ll throw the whole fight away late at night. So tonight: get it over with. Throw the battle away and start taking control of your life, not one variable in your life. You are so much more than how you see yourself now, and you can and will quit this thing before it gets the better of you.

Less than a month before your seventeenth birthday, you’ll be given inhalers for some possible asthma. And you won’t realize until later that it is a much bigger deal than what you thought it would be. When they tell you (twice!) you have bronchitis . . . they’ll be wrong. It’s not a fixable infection, and of course the antibiotics won’t work. It’s asthma.  It will be a hard road. It will be full of breathing tests and inhalers and doctors appointments. You’ll endure prednisone and you’ll get extremely pissed off and frustrated with your care team. Hang in there. it will change your life and your perceptions in far more ways than anticipated . . . but in many ways for the better. You’ll intertwine as a huge member of the online asthma community for a few years, and then spread your wings with a furious passion for owning chronic disease, and helping other people do the same.

You don’t know it now, but you will soon. And that’s why I’m telling you now to get off your ass. Before mid-February . . . go for a walk. Run and remember how it feels to push your body and still be able to breathe. Get off your ass.  Because it will be that much harder to do when your lungs are screwed up, but you’ll start doing it then anyways. And the dance classes you’re continually making fun of with your friends? Quit it, because you’ll be in there when you need something to fill your grade 12 law spare. Because of it, you’ll go places you never thought possible within yourself. And your body will thank you for it. So get moving now . . . because it will serve you well in more than just the typical health-variable-ways soon.  This means when you reach grade 12, it’s okay to hate gym class, but please file the rest away in your head because eventually you’ll need it. I know you don’t believe me now, but you will. When you’re nineteen, you’ll fall in love with kinesiology, active living, and your asthma will be in slightly better control. And you’ll want to push yourself a bit harder. You’ll walk a 10K race and you’ll feel like hell at the end, but you’ll be hooked.

You’ll meet amazing people both online and in person because of asthma. They’ll know where you’re at–and, like your disease, they’ll be sticking around. They’ll have an unimaginable impact on your life.

Finally, four years later, you’ll be in the midst of a huge adventure called life. You’re already grateful you’re still alive at sixteen, but now you’ll see the reasons behind it.

The current shit will end or get better, I promise. Hang on, remember the journey, write it down deeper than you already are and have been all these years . . . and you’ll get where you’re meant to be when you’re meant to be there.

Love and Good Things,

Twenty-Year-Old Kerri

3 thoughts on “note to self – #hawmc day 10

  1. I really like this post. I often wonder what it would be like to babysit myself as a kid. It’s interesting thinking about yourself at different ages being kind of like different people. Crazy to think how different you were then and it wasn’t even that long ago! I can’t imagine you not asthmatic, man. So weird.

    1. I know isn’t it nuts? I even think of myself at fourteen and am even MORE shocked :]. But, I’m happy that the past is the past.
      I can imagine me not asthmatic 😉 but then I wouldn’t know you. Nor would I probably have a blog OR be writing this blog post. So . . . as much as I hate it, I’m still the relentless optimist. :]

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