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Fighting the Asthma Fiend - Representing My Country
Horsesforcourses posted:
I used to be a regular in this community some years ago. Used to post about coming to grips with having a very difficult to manage asthma. Since then I am a fair bit older and have moved on from many of the problems I used to encounter having a brittle type asthma.

I am married and have a daughter. Our lives and careers are devoted to horses. My husband is a farrier and I am a professional dressage rider, riding coach and horse trainer. It has taken me a long and winding road to get where I am with my family. I am so very proud to tell you that I have just been selected to represent my country as a dressage rider on the European Grand Prix dressage circuits. We will be flying our horses over to the UK from Australia in a matter of 3 weeks.

I spent years of trying to balance up life and living with a debilitating condition. Dealing with the Psychological implications of having a chronic disease, steroid resistance, attacks despite having maximal therapy, use of intravenous and subcutaneous infusions, trialling of different medications etc. I had a respiratory team at a major hospital. They became frustrated and impatient with the level of management I required. The relationship become unhealthy. I went to a few other respiratory doctors but got nowhere.

Part of the problem that the doctors disagreed with is the fact that I work with and ride horses. They thought that there were too many trigger factors associated. I argued that when I hadn't been around horses or was in a hospital setting that I was still having asthma exacerbations without being around horses. I was accused of being non-compliant because I refused to give up my career. I used to use the career of a doctor and how hard they have to work to get to where they are and then all of a sudden they give it away. I ask them how they would feel. They usually go quiet.

So......I have been working and training hard. Competing most weekends or traveling interstate to give a coaching clinic. I had good years of living a very full life of dressage riding. With some trips to Germany and coaching each day from a former Australian Olympian I have been able to be selected at a young age in dressage to compete on the world stage. And what is more exciting is that I bred my own horse and trained her when I was 20. I am now 36 and she is 13 years old. A beautiful grey warm blood, so ever loyal and willing. So amazing that it takes a whole life of a horse and a very special partnership to take you to the top. I am very proud to own such a horse.

So if it wasn't for having the support of my family, a dedicated coach and sports psychologist I would not have been able to make it.

So since late December 2012 parts of Australia have been having a long hot and dry Summer. The asthma fiend reared its ugly head and despite all treatment I have not been successful in bringing it back under reasonable control. I am back to multiple hospital admissions.

I have been able to find a wonderful general practitioner who is also an emergency medicine consultant in our local country town. I am also very lucky to have found a team of two respiratory doctors in a arge country town. These guys are all fantastic communicators with each other. They are extremely active in supporting me medically. They are taking a holistic approach.

One of the Docs the other day said that she believed that I need to be on the horse and riding as much as possible. She said that I have her full support whilst I embark on my international career. Medically she will do what it takes to get me riding and competing ASAP. The doctors will have to work with the sports medicine physician for the Australian team.

It has been decided that I will fly out to UK as soon as there is a lull in attacks. I have been hooked up with a respiratory team in Birmingham.


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