It wasn't until I'd been worrying about chest pains for a few months that I finally decided to visit my GP. Like a typical bloke I'd preferred to at first adopt the 'head in the sand' strategy to health care.
Instead of dealing with the symptoms I was suffering from I poured my energy into imagining the worst. I endured many a sleepless night waiting for the heart twitch, fantasising that I'd die in my sleep, that I'd probably developed a heart murmur from bad stress management or an undiagnosed congenital heart defect had finally come to the surface to scythe me down in my prime. Life, you were kind to me, but now I must leave you.
But I'd not done the maths. I've managed mild asthma since I was about 11 years old. I can still remember feeling awkward about having to take my inhaler before PE or cross-country. It wasn't the coolest look, having to suck in a couple of blasts of gas before running around with my mates.
Asthma has been an erratic irritant in my life. It comes, it goes, it comes back again. It's not loyal. When it returns it returns in a different form. There are different triggers. It respects nobody. I hate it, but I've never let it dictate the rules.
Despite my very clear relationship with asthma I still have people coming up to me having seen a blue inhaler on my desk at work saying: 'Oh, I didn't know you had asthma,' like I suffer from a horrid disease or need special treatment. I don't need your sympathy.
Asthma is a strange thing. I was the first and only member of my direct family to have it and remember once working through the reasons why. If I moved to a new, cleaner city would it get better? A GP once told me that there's no actual defined cause of asthma, so that idea went out of the window.
Last year I was training for the London Triathlon and as a result had been spending loads of time swimming, running and cycling. Then the heart pains started.
I didn't even think that asthma may have been the culprit. I'd been taking my blue inhaler before I trained and as far as I was concerned that was enough. I'd forgotten about the brown inhaler gathering dust next to my bed. For those who don't know, the brown and the blue do different things for asthma just like Facebook and Twitter do different things for social media. Same Same, but different.
After dragging my anxious self to the GP to raise concerns about my chest pains I was told within moments that my heart was struggling because of the increased training activity. I attended a new asthma clinic and lo and behold my pains have now stopped.
I learnt my lesson. I'm not bigger than the big A. I'd forgotten to respect it. It's one thing to say I won't let having asthma change what I do - I cycle like crazy, I've run half marathons, trekked all around the world and completed triathlons - but I'd forgotten that to be better than it I need to plan against it. I need to know how it thinks.
So for World Asthma Day I'd tell all my blue pump holding buddies, including five time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain, Manchester United's Paul Scholes, Paula Radcliffe and actress Sharon Stone (to name a few), do what you want, don't let your asthma dictate the rules, but don't forget to arm yourself with all the knowledge and good habits you can to make sure that it doesn't win.Suggest a correction