My brother Joel and his life with allergies and asthma…

I have learned a lot about my brother Joel’s experience with allergies and having asthma! I didn’t realize how bad it was when he found out. I am his younger sister and didn’t understand what was happening.  We had some cats growing up and it wasn’t that bad. I think it was worse with dogs and horses. I can’t imagine how much his eyes swelled up! That’s scary!  We had some excellent experiences with the family and going on holidays! Joel was only with us when we went to Disney world and Disneyland! He was going to school in Edmonton when we went on more holidays! He’s my big brother who has been there for me. He’s great at changing my feeding tube every December and June if he’s around! I love him so much!  I hope you find his interview educational and interesting.

Kelsey: How did your allergic reactions start to pets?

Joel: They first started when I was about 5 years old. We were at my parents’ friend’s house and they had a dog. I am told I had a runny nose and had trouble breathing.

Kelsey: What are your allergies and your symptoms?

Joel: I am allergic to dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, hay, dust, mold, birch trees, grass, and the most severe, chores 😉. My symptoms range depending on the allergen, but my main symptoms are runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, and difficulty breathing (I get very wheezy and need to use an inhaler).

Kelsey: Do you take medications for your allergies?

Joel: I take Claritin mostly because it is non drowsy. I also have a salbutamol inhaler for my breathing. About 4 years ago I started getting allergy shots for my allergies. I have found my symptoms have become milder since I started them, but they are still present.

Kelsey: How did your family react with your allergies and asthma?

Joel: The most memorable reaction was when I went horseback riding as a kid. My eyes started to swell up, so my mom had to take me home. On the drive my eyes swelled completely shut and we were a bit freaked out and she took me to emerg. Luckily, I haven’t had my eyes swell shut since!

Kelsey: How has your allergic reaction been to Coco, has the shot been helping?

Joel: I have fairly mild symptoms to our little dog Coco. She is hypoallergenic, which helps, but I still have some trouble breathing at times and often take allergy meds. The shots seem to have helped a bit as I used to get quite sick around hypoallergenic dogs. We also have an air purifier which helps my breathing.

Kelsey: How long have you had Coco?

Joel: We got her in November 2020.

Kelsey: What sports did you play?

Joel: Although I am allergic to grass, I didn’t have a problem playing sports outside. Sometimes in the spring I would need allergy medication or my inhaler, but it wasn’t too bad. The main sports I played as a kid were soccer, hockey, and football.

Kelsey: What did you want to do when you grew up?

Joel: As a kid, I apparently told my mom I wanted to be a “lady doctor”. When I got older and learned what a “lady doctor” actually meant, I quickly changed my mind.

Kelsey: What are your hobbies?

Joel: I like to play sports but since Covid I have started getting more into woodworking. Ashley and I have started selling different types of shelves online and I also built us a coffee nook. In the summer I like to play golf, go camping, and go for hikes. This summer we hope to go camping in Tofino.

Kelsey: Where have you travelled?

Joel: When my sister was 16 she got to make a wish with the Children’s make a wish foundation. She wished for her family to go on a vacation to Disneyland! I’ve also been to Disneyworld, Guam, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, and a number of a countries in Europe during a school trip in high school.

Kelsey: Do you remember when you graduated high school, how was that?

Joel: I enjoyed high school and remember having a good time celebrating graduation with my friends and family at the Knights of Columbus hall. We had a little party there with the friends and family of Josh, Taylor, Eric, and myself!

Kelsey: Are you still close with your friends from high school?

Joel: Most of them! I still see your future husband Josh quite often.

Kelsey: How’s living in Edmonton?

Joel: Living in Edmonton is okay but it is a bit too big for my liking. I would like to live in a smaller city, but it is hard to find two OT jobs for both me and Ashley in a small place!

Kelsey: How is your job? Do you like being an OT?

Joel: I am currently an OT at a long term care facility, which I enjoy! It was quite challenging back in December as we had a Covid outbreak and a lot of the residents got very sick. Things are starting to get back to normal now that all the residents and workers there are vaccinated!

Kelsey: Where did you meet Ashley?

Joel: I met Ashley when I was in the OT program at UofA, she was in my class.

Kelsey: What’s her job?

Joel: Ashley is an OT at Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton. She works with young kids aged 3-7


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