Loud and fast: two words that describe my younger self.
I was a very active little girl, in constant motion from sunup to sundown. However, when I got a cold, sometimes it would turn into something worse, and my very personality would change. I may have forgotten this pattern, except for a couple of memories.
We had several staircases in Tanner Manor, and I almost always ran up and down them, often taking two or three stairs at a time. However, soon after I got hit with a cold, I couldn’t ascend an entire staircase without doing a full stop midway. Exhausted, I would plop down, lay my head on a step, and quietly try to catch my breath. In those moments, I preferred not to move or speak, which was a dead giveaway to Mom that “Janet is really sick.”
Once, during a certain Family Home Evening, Dad was teaching a lesson about the resurrection, and we discussed what that would be like to have a perfect body. That night, not feeling well, I happened to be curled up in Mom’s lap when suddenly it occurred to me that one day I would never be sick again! I may have forgotten my epiphany if I hadn’t quietly shared it with Mom, who insisted I repeat my budding testimony to the entire family.
Later, this same pattern of breathing problems triggered by colds manifested in our young son Craig. Not until then did I recall my own experiences of being immobilized by failing lungs. Fortunately, with Craig, after a year of several late-night visits to the emergency room and a few more early-morning visits to the doctor’s office, we were strangely relieved to finally get a conclusive verdict that he had asthma, so we could get meds to help ease his suffering.
I probably had childhood asthma too, which should come as no surprise since I grew up in a Los Angeles suburb during a time smog alerts were common. Unfortunately, my ailment went undiagnosed because our parents never took us to the doctor unless something was bleeding or broken. Instead, I simply toughed it out until, after years, it eventually abated.
As an adult, I’m once again plagued with respiratory problems, but this time, for better or worse, I have medical proof of asthma. Young or old, having asthma is no fun.
I'm the twelfth of 13 children. I was born into a poor family rich in blessings. We lived in South Pasadena, California on top of a hill in a big house we called Tanner Manor. These are my stories of growing up there.