In 1980, at age 2, I began having problems with asthma. By the age of 4, it had gotten really bad. I had weekly allergy shots and high doses of Theophylline and Alupent. I also depended on my rescuer inhaler regularly. At age 4, I weighed 27 lbs. When I would get up to 30 lbs, I would get sick and drop back down to 27 lbs. One pharmacist said that he had never filled such high doses of this medicine for anyone. This was necessary to keep me alive! From ages 4-9 we visited the ER every couple of months. For a long time I had asthma attacks every night. My parents tell stories of nights that they could not wake me up to take my inhaler. I remember being stuck in my dream trying to use my medicine while my parents, in reality, were splashing water in my face trying to wake me up so I could actually use my inhaler.
This experience created an extremely insecure child. All I wanted to do was be normal… to run and play without stopping to use medicine because I couldn’t breathe!
1984 (age 6) Prior to the olympic games, my parents recorded – on VHS tape 🙂 – the movie about the 1976 olympic gymnast Nadia Comăneci. She was the first olympic gymnast ever to score a perfect 10, and went on to score 6 more 10.0 and win 3 gold medals. That became my favorite movie and she became my hero. I wore that movie out, and boohooed every time I watched it. I was so inspired by the gymnasts’ athleticism and my heart yerned to have the freedom to run, jump and move like they did… to be able to work hard and achieve great things.
That summer, I watched with all focus and attention, the great Marry Lou Retton score perfect 10s on both her floor routine and the vault. It was beautiful, and I cried. It still makes me cry today when I think about how that made me feel.
Well, I never became a great gymnast – I tried 🙂
but I was blessed with an incredible family who was “determined to not let their little girl think she was a sick kid”- my mom.
Recently, as I looked through my child hood pictures, began to see my life differently. Yes, I was sick and could not even participate in a full class of P.E., but I did have a lot I COULD do.
I took 8 years of dance.
After 4 years, my father presented me with flowers. This was a BIG moment!
I also spent my childhood out at the lake. We had a barge… a floating, one-room “house” with bunk beds and a mini kitchen. It was really cool… and seemed a lot bigger to me when I was young.
At age 7 my dad taught me to water ski.
My Grandma always had me out being active. We road bikes a lot and kicked the ball around. I remember her taking me to the tennis courts and teaching me how to play volleyball and basketball.
More moments that shaped me…
Pretty sure the 80’s threw up on me! LOL
It’s ok, you can be jealous of my hair and glasses.
One final influence I want to mention is my Uncle Ken- my dad’s brother.
He was a professional power lifter in the 70’s and 80’s… achieving 2nd in the world in with the deadlift!
He encouraged me and taught me never to say “I can’t”
I clearly remember a particular moment when I was in high school, at the gym with my dad and uncle.
In the middle of our workout, Uncle Ken loaded a 45 lb. bar with 45 lb. plates = total of 135 lbs. and told me to deadlift that!
I think I first chuckled and then I said, “I can’t do that!” Then he corrected me and began to help me focus mentally. To my surprise (and not his evidently) I was able to dead lift that weight… 1 time! That was all I needed to do. I learned a HUGE lesson that day. I can do more that I think I can if I set my mind to it, stay focused, and work hard! If there would have been a gold medal to be given at the gym that day, I’m sure I would have won it 🙂
I am who I am today because of my experiences. In every physical activity I have ever done, I’ve had to overcome asthma and have had to work harder than anyone. I’ve learned that if I stay focused and remain positive I can reach my goals.
Never say “I can’t” and never quit!
I thank God for the childhood I had and for giving me a family who wouldn’t let me be a sick kid!