My name is Nick, and I have a great Biology story! It's a story of early childhood struggle and ultimate recovery and triumph over a chronic disease.
Do you see the little boy in that picture? That's me about 20 years ago. I looked pretty normal (as normal as things were in the early 90's) didn't I? Actually I was quite sick with chronic asthma for nearly the first decade of my life. Asthma is a common inflammatory disease of the airways. It is thought to be a genetic and environmentally triggered disease. My asthma made it difficult to do any sort of physical activity. I had to constantly have an inhaler wherever I went. For whichever reason, I had it bad. My second home was the emergency room. When I wasn't camping out there I was always sleeping near my parents. It wasn't unusual for me to stop breathing in the middle of the night. On top of that I suffered from childhood arthritis. It wasn't exactly an ideal situation. At a time when I was at my worst we lived in Germany. At the climax of my issues I had to be flown overnight to Washington D.C. to receive emergency treatment. Every single doctor we saw over the years told us the same thing; that I would never be able to have an active lifestyle or participate in athletics without complications. But after years of the same story, something changed, there was a turn for the better.
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Just like a Lifetime movie things started to change. It seemed that all of the sudden I was better. I no longer needed my inhaler. I no longer needed the frequent visits to the hospital. I didn't feel like I was drowning when I ran. It's as though my body one day woke up and said: "that's enough." I was able to do what I wanted. Ever since then I have been playing sports non-stop. I don't have any problems with my lungs, it isn't hard to breath, and I feel great! On top of everything I can count the number of times I've been sick sick over the last 15 years on one hand. I don't know what changed. I don't know if my immune system had seen so much that it has reached god-status or if I just got all my sickness out of my way in the first 10 years. Who knows?! All I know is the human body is a complicated thing, but I am grateful for my experiences with disease. It is amazing to see the immune system and the body's innate ability to recover and improve.