I'm a regular girl in her twenties with a love for Netflix and memes. But there is one thing about me that isn't regular: my health. Since I was a teenager I've seen an alarming decline in my health. What started off as chronic fatigue and allergies developed into severe asthma, a compromised immune system, and crippling bouts of recurring bronchitis. It's very common for me to be bed-ridden for days, unable to walk or speak without getting dangerously out of breath. When that happens, just getting up to go to the bathroom is a draining experience. I often get fevers and respiratory infections out of the blue. Sometimes I experience painful chest tightness just laying in bed. I bring a "safety bag" with me every day to work full of emergency medicine in case I have an asthma attack.
I've missed friends' birthdays, vacations, dinners, office Christmas parties, and this year even my own birthday party because of my asthma and bronchitis. I walked across the stage during my college graduation coughing and on antibiotics.
Severe asthma is different from the kind of asthma most people have. It is nearly constant, isn't easily controlled by medication (I take multiple medications for my asthma daily), and makes it very difficult for me to do physical activity.
While I continue to work with my doctors to better my health, one step that I'm taking towards health management is getting a service dog.
(photo of Archer, my service dog in training)
Why a service dog?
Well, a service dog trained for asthma response can:
-- Retrieve important medication when I am unable to move due to being out of breath.
-- Go look for help if I am in a dangerous situation (like losing consciousness).
-- Alert me to triggers before I interact with them.
— Alert me to my asthma attacks before they happen.
— Help me with mobility when I am out of breath.
-- Give me a stronger sense of safety and independence.
I am fortunate to have found an organization, Creating New Tails, who is able to train a hypoallergenic dog to help me. I've been paired with a sweet poodle named Archer. Training is not cheap, and it is not covered by medical insurance, and I need help to bring Archer home.
If you could share my story or donate even $1, you'll be helping me take a step in towards better health.
- Christian Chavarro
- Evan Apanovitch
- Denisse Burdier
- Joann Errante
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