Published August 7, 2021 by Jacqueline Olmstead

What it used to be like

I’m not sure what medicines they gave me when I was diagnosed with asthma at 6 months old in 1968, but I do remember having to use inhalers, the breathing nebulizer and taking steroids, theophylline and theodur by pill in the 1970s. 

I went to the emergency room or was admitted to the hospital for days several times in my lifetime. In 1999, I was visiting my family one Christmas Eve. I didn’t have to be admitted but my father still had to take me to the emergency room and I was feeling very down about spending the evening at the hospital instead of enjoying the holiday. It wasn’t the last time I had to go to the emergency room.

Nebulizer treatments, steroid injections and oral medication to get my system all pumped up to help alleviate my inability to breathe properly. 

This wasn’t unexpected. I had a cold of some kind the week before and I felt the asthma starting to grip my chest and it closed in hour by hour. I had done the usual: Waited until I was sure that the wheezing wasn’t going to stop and I had to get help. It was some kind of feeling that I failed to help myself get through it on my own. I had no idea I would do it and make friends with my asthma in 2015.

“Dad? It’s time. I have to go to the hospital. I can’t kick this.”

At least I didn’t have to be admitted like I had to many times in my life before that. There, I would spend a few days connected to IVs in my arms or hands and had frequent “back percussion” treatments where they smacked my back with forceful cupped hands. “Cough it up! Cough! Make it productive!!! Get that out!” 

I couldn’t wait to be well again.To go home so I could be with my little brother, my mom and dad. I felt very lonely many times. 

Every day the doctors would come to listen to my lungs. They had to be 100% clear. Meanwhile, all the medicines were making my heart race and make me manic most of the time, sleeping irregularly. Often, too, there were the antibiotics that ripped up my stomach but were necessary to kill whatever was causing the infections.

That was the way asthma went. In my childhood they also diagnosed me with borderline anemia, IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), borderline thyroid enlargement, depression… I cannot remember anything else at the moment, but those were the biggies. 

Then after 4 miscarriages we determined that I had hashimotos and had to take synthroid. Eventually, I found out you pretty much are on them for life. I know people who have healed it but I haven’t gone to that level to get off the synthroid forever. 

I had my daughter in 2008, a miraculous, most amazing experience for me. A whole other story!

When my mom passed away and my marriage was not working, depression then was added to the mix of something urgent to address. I started taking antidepressants after I finished breastfeeding to help me and I took them for about two years. Later celiac disease was attributed to the cause of my anemia and directly could have caused my severe depression.

After going gluten free and plant based I was able to get off of them and also my prescription strength nutrients like Vitamin D and folic acid because my intestine walls had healed. Miraculous feelings of joy and freedom. It was at this time, too, that I realized that my asthma was also fading away. I stopped filling my inhaler scripts because the inhalers I had, I never used and they were expired. I had already stopped taking the steroid inhalers a couple years back because of the nasty side effects. 

My after montage 

Whole foods, plant based, gluten free, peppermint oil, synthroid, nebulizer (used only once since 2015)

I took my nebulizer during a bout of a bad cold one time since 2015 so I include it since it is a staple asthma medicine that helps me if I go into it. Much better than the emergency room trips, no inhalers, I will sometimes use peppermint oil under my nose and inhale deeply for a few minutes. I rarely have any wheezing (because after all, my body remembers this way of handling life and it’s not 100% gone, but managed when I have it come up.) I use my tools of understanding why my body might be reacting to some life event (see Louise Hays, You Can Heal Your Life).

Speaks louder than what I can say! I continue to heal my own body through various methods of self care: Whole foods plant based cooking, strength training, yoga, meditation, polarity therapy, journaling and art. ​I am a nutritional fitness specialist, certified personal trainer, artist, polarity therapist, Reiki Master Teacher, graphic designer, photographer, and writer.

Today, I am compelled to give back to the world with my teachings.

My official motto is:

​“In all that I do, I believe in challenging the status quo. I believe in trusting our bodies to heal themselves. The way I challenge the status quo is by teaching clean living by what we eat, what we allow around us and all that supports our bodies to heal themselves.”

Jackie O (aka Earth Momma/Gluten Queen)

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