My Lung Letter
I’m Nadiya Hussain, chef, author and presenter, but above all of that, I’m a mother to two boys who have asthma. Asthma has been with us for much of my boys’ lives – it has challenged us, it has tested us, but it has never beaten us…and now it’s time to tell my asthma story in my words…this is my lung letter…
It’s been a real journey of discovery – from waiting for the diagnosis and the emotional impact that it had on me, to understanding my boys’ triggers and managing them when they were small. Throughout that journey, I’ve always told my kids “it’s part of you, but it’s not all of you”. You’re defined by your dreams, not by your asthma.
Watch the video to find out more about my asthma story.
Symptoms & Triggers
As a parent to two boys who have asthma, understanding and recognising symptoms and triggers has played a vital role in our asthma journey, but it hasn’t been easy.
Every child, every asthma sufferer is different, and every journey is unique, so it took me a long time to understand the boys’ triggers and to have the confidence as a young mum to say “these are my sons’ triggers”. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer where asthma triggers are concerned.
The key for us has been finding activities that the boys can enjoy that don’t trigger their asthma, empowering them to live their lives defined by their dreams, not by their asthma.
To find out more about how we’ve identified and managed triggers, watch my video.
When the boys were little, I felt quite isolated. Asthma wasn’t a condition that I knew much about and I felt there was a lot of blame and stigma attached to it. I felt like people were always thinking ‘why are your children always sick? What are you doing wrong?’ and as a young mum that was hard to deal with.
Speaking openly about the realities of my boys’ condition and their asthma journey has empowered us as a family to take control of their asthma. It’s part of our lives, but it doesn’t define our lives and our house is a far more relaxed place because of that.
To learn more about the emotional impact of asthma and how we’ve dealt with it as a family, watch this video.
As a parent to children who have asthma, it’s important to me to ensure that the condition doesn’t become a barrier to them living their own life, to ensure that their asthma doesn’t define them.
Juggling my career while still supporting my children with their asthma was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. I was a stay-at-home mum for eight years and when I started to work full-time six years ago, it was a huge transition for me. Handing over that responsibility to my husband was hard but so necessary; it’s allowed me to follow my own dreams and not be defined by my boys’ asthma.
Watch the video to learn more about the importance of sharing responsibilities.
I cannot stress enough how important support networks have been for our family throughout our asthma journey. At first, I shouldered all of the responsibility for my boys’ condition. With time, I realised I couldn’t do that alone and by sharing the load and having someone to turn to in my own hour of need, I felt an immense sense of relief.
From family and friends who I trust with my boys’ asthma plans, to the incredible, unwavering support of the NHS asthma nurses we’ve worked with over the years, support networks have been invaluable to our family in understanding, managing and living with asthma.
Find out more about the importance of support networks, and tackling asthma as a team, by watching the video.
Sharing your experience
If you have asthma or you’re a parent of a child with asthma my main piece of advice is to talk about the condition. This approach has really helped us.
It has been part of my life for the last 14 years, but I wouldn’t change a thing, because it’s given us an appreciation for life, that we probably wouldn’t have had without it.
To find out more about my experience of talking to others, watch this video.
I think it’s so important to have goals and dreams in life and to take those all-important steps to achieving them no matter what they are, large or small. I believe that through life, we all need things to work towards and achieve.
If you have felt inspired by my story and want to start a new challenge in your life, always remember to seek the advice of your doctor or asthma nurse as a first step.
So… I’m challenging Lord Seb Coe to try something that may not come naturally to him…if you never try, you never know!
Watch the video to see my challenge to Seb.