Please take a moment to stay with me regarding the topic of wearing a mask or choosing not to wear a mask. Like everything else, there are two sides to every situation. In our current pandemic, emotions are heightened and everything appears to be a trigger.

Let me tell you why I am not wearing a mask. Over ten years ago, I lost a huge chunk of my lower left lung. Having never smoked a day in my life and being an athlete, having a massive tumor discovered in my lung was quite a shock.

Thankfully, I came through the surgery, and ten plus years later, I am still plugging away. However, many things changed as a result of the lost lung. First, I have had to learn what a new normal was for me. This included how to really take care of my health.

As you can imagine, the loss of a lung affects your oxygen level, everyday breathing is different, and your immune system is compromised. Therefore, over the years I have made many changes. No more perfumes, aerosol sprays, candles, scented plug-in devices, hair spray, and other chemicals in the air.

Additionally, I must continue to do whatever I can to keep my body strong. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercise all help me to stay as healthy as I can. I also have to be extremely careful not to be around people who are sick.

When this COVID situation erupted, people were calling me left and right urging me to be careful. While being thankful for the care and concern, I realized that what I was already doing every day of my life is effective. The only area of angst for me is wearing a mask.

It is essential that I breathe in as much oxygen as possible. A mask not only cuts down on the amount of oxygen I am receiving, but it also creates a moist environment for bacteria, viruses, and fungi to cling and grow. This would be the absolute worst thing for me at this point.

So,  when you see someone without a mask, don’t judge them. Perhaps they have an underlying reason for not wearing one. Each person needs to do what they feel is important and necessary for them. Please respect those who are not wearing a mask. There may be more to their story than you could possibly know.