As a child and teenager I can clearly remember doctors telling me many times, ‘You are an asthmatic and you will be for life. The best thing we can offer is medication. You just have bad genes. Keep taking the drugs.’ I was given steroid injections, and a Ventolin inhaler and an Intal puffer, and told that I should take two puffs when I got an attack, every four hours as needed. One clever doctor told me not to drink cow’s milk when I was having an attack. This was the only good advice I ever received. Years later, when learning about asthma, I discovered that the chest is one of the last parts of the human body that develops fully in the womb, during the eighth and ninth months, both of which I missed when I arrived into this world early.
At age 18, I woke up one morning, after one too many all-night drinking sessions with my two oldest friends Dave and Kerry, crawled out of bed and stumbled on to the bus to work. As the bus moved and swayed, I couldn’t hold back. I vomited all over the bus floor, Kerry watching in hysterics. This was a low point for me. That day, I realised that I actually never enjoyed the drinking. It made me bloated, and I always suffered badly the next day.
I was drinking and doing drugs (dope) because everyone else was. I was an insecure ‘sheeple.’ I gave up drink and drugs on the spot. It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. Three years later I was still getting colds, flu and coughs every year. I would be in bed for up to a week at a time, coughing, nose dribbling and feeling foul all over. I also had long term lower back pain, which used to throb and would leave me in tears because of the long, deep aching that went on and on. It was always in the background, even when the acute pain died down.
Asthma is as scary as hell
I was still a bad asthmatic. Asthma is the most frightening and debilitating thing that I have ever experienced. Generally, whenever you hurt yourself or you are in pain, you know that you will be okay. However, asthma attacks you at the core as it is your breath that is taken away. I couldn’t count the times that, in the middle of the night, I would cry in despair, praying for sleep, but I was unable to lie down for fear of not breathing and dying. Panic would set in and the overwhelming fear was that I might die if I didn’t get any more air into my lungs.
When you lose your breath, the best thing to do is to calm down and relax, but of course when you can’t seem to get enough air, the opposite happens. You become stressed and upset and sometimes, particularly in children, you start to cry, which limits your air intake even further. It is a devastating, terrifying and humbling experience. I genuinely thought I might die many, many times during those long dark nights of breathlessness. All my concentration was focused on getting air into my lungs; just breathing, just breathing, just breathing …
Hitting a crossroads
The asthma was stifling my life and stopping me from living fully in so many ways. I was taking 16 shots of Ventolin most days for many years. I had also developed bad skin and had pimples and bumps all over my face and body, with seemingly no rhyme nor reason. No amount of medical potions or creams ever worked to get rid of them. To add to all this I suffered from bad hay fever, oily skin, poor digestion, bloating, long term constipation, fatigue, tiredness, and I was fat. At one stage my weight ballooned to a chubby 80 kg for a man of my stature (I now weigh a lean and healthy 70 kg, as I did when I was a teenager).
To be blunt, I was a mess. My girlfriend at the time was studying to become a naturopath (a natural medical practitioner). She looked me in the face one day in a moment of brutal honesty, and said, ‘You are pathetic. You take drugs all the time for your sickness and yet you do nothing about it. Why don’t you try something different? Take some responsibility; change your life and stop eating all that crap food. You are not going to be an effective father if you are sick all the time. Stop the complaining and the drug taking and get to the real cause of the problems instead: your diet.’
What? I thought my sickness was just ‘genetics’ or ‘bad luck’?
As you can imagine, I was highly insulted and took them rather badly and personally. There was no connection between my diet and my sickness! Or any illness for that matter! At least, no one had ever told me that before. I thought that food was just fuel for the body (the TV adverts had always told me to ‘eat meat for iron and protein’ and to ‘drink cow’s milk every day to get strong bones’). And yet, after sitting on my bed sulking in the darkness for a few hours, I got over myself and realised something. I did want to cure my asthma and my health problems. I did want more energy, vitality and strength. I wanted to feel young, alive and 100% free of illness. I wanted to be fit, healthy, and energetic. I wanted to be free from pain, to feel happy and to be able to breathe and run around with my kids until they were old enough to have their own kids. And then some.
I wanted a better life and I wanted to be in Full. Control. Of. It.
I wanted to rid myself of the sickness that was dominating my life.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.