in September of last year I step out of a dance club to get some cool air and sucked some in a big unexpected lung full of cigarette smoke. Yes, unexpected, this wasn’t a typical bar but a club of dancers, the kind that danced for hour on end and smokers are pretty non existant, and if someone smokes it’s far from the entrance or patio. I had my first asthma attack in probably about 7 years. I had no inhaler on me and couldn’t get it under control and the smoker didn’t leave so I did. Three days later my lungs were still irritated and just walking by a smoker outside a shopping center set off another attack. I went home and found my inhaler and it had expired 5 years prior. Within a week I could no longer handle any chemicals, so no perfumes on friend or strangers, no public restrooms, even cigarette smoke on someone’s clothes could set off a severe attack. Dancing became impossible and oh how I love to dance, but then most things became impossible. Working, even for very short hours, grocery shopping, feeding my family or myself became what seemed nearly impossible hurdles that took great planning and all my strength and energy. I have switched medicines so many times since then to get something that allows me to function and live somewhat normally, yet dancing still seems not quite possible. I take four medicines a day to control my asthma and most days haven’t needed my rescue inhaler unless exposed to a strong perfume or around someone who smokes. So I was getting better. I even danced for an hour one night. But now I am back on my rescue inhaler more times a day than recommended, back on my nebulizer and back to going through life actively “working” to breath. I am also acutely aware of how my breathing problems might be a hardship for others. Sometimes I think I should move out into the woods alone away from chemicals and cigarettes, where at the very least my coughing won’t bother or worry anyone. It wouldn’t be too bad to live off s’mores and have a nightly view of the stars as long as I was camping someplace where the nights weren’t too cold.