i made my mistakes / i seen my heart cave in / i got my scars / i’ve been to hell and back again / born for the blue skies, we’ll survive the rain / born for the sunrise, we’ll survive the pain

we’re singing hey, you can’t count us out / we’ve been running up against the crowd / yeah we are the dark horses / we’re singing wait, it’s not over now / we’ve been down but we’ve never been out / we are the dark horses

we found a way out, the city takes everything it can / but outside the crowds i can feel my lungs again / born for the blue skies, we’ll survive the rain / born for the sunrise, we’ll survive the pain

we’re singing hey, you can’t count us out / we’ve been running up against the crowd / yeah we are the dark horses / we’re singing wait, it’s not over now / we’ve been down but we’ve never been out / we are the dark horses

we’re singing.

born for the blue skies, born for the blue skies, born for the sunrise, we’ll survive the pain.

we’re singing hey, you can’t count us out / we’ve been running up against the crowd / yeah we are the dark horses / we’re singing we don’t care what they say / we know we’ll find a way / we are the dark horses

[keep running with the dark horses, hope makes the blood change courses, keep running with the dark horses, stand up for the dark horses]

–dark horses, switchfoot


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


concise words don’t come

complexity in breathing


everyday choices

move us toward who we are

closer everyday

health is a journey

not limited to disease

it is time to move.

hope extends forward

a community that grows

inspire together

day five

two silhouettes jumping against gradient purple to orange sky in mid-air with arms extended :]

(image Credit: The Rhodesian]

just because you’re present doesn’t mean that you’re here . . . rise above it.

rise above it, switchfoot

With any sort of chronic disease, it’s all too easy to feel trapped by your own body. Like I’ve said before, it’s perspective . . . and perspective can be changed, but that sometimes doesn’t make it any easier to do. And the thing is, much as I’d like to–as easy as it might be–to separate my asthma-life from my other-life, it’s just not possible or smart. Ignoring it doesn’t push it farther away, and running from it just makes it harder to breathe.

As I was writing this, this quote from Tiffany popped up in Twitter.

I learned something on my journey through life. That I was the one preventing myself from moving forward. My past plagued my thoughts 24/7

I’ve been there. Sometimes I’m still there. And this, this isn’t freedom. And neither is the fact that in past years I’ve spent too many minutes fixated on where I thought I was stuck because of the fact that I had a chronic illness, instead of rising above it, kicking my own ass, and trying to work at “changing the standard of thinking“, as Jesse Petersen says.

And what does it come down to? Does it come down sitting in a ball, curled up and preventing yourself from shining . . . or does it come to freeing yourself?

I want to be a part of the picture above.  Freeing myself to do whatever I want in spite of my disease while being responsible about it. This is what it means to live in the moment, and take advantage of the only thing I am immediately in control of: right now. Because asthma, or any other disease, throws in a bunch of variables that are often unpredictable. This week, on Saturday and Sunday I felt perfectly fine, Monday and Tuesday i started going downhill, and Wednesday I couldn’t even breathe well enough to go to work. Tomorrow, or how good I’ll feel tomorrow, is never a guarantee.  For anybody, but it’s amplified if you live with a chronic disease.  I’m not trying to be morbid, just realistic. And I would surely rather be realistic and jumping into the dusky sky than I would either living with regrets of staring at barriers instead of climbing over them or in an emergency room because I’m not taking care of myself.

And that’s a choice. A choice to coexist, but not be limited by my disease.

I would rather make the choice to lift my hands to the sky, jump, shine . . .

And rise above it.