By Bronwyn Ison

Each inhale and exhale we take is without thought. Our breath is our life force and keeps our heart beating. Each and every breath I take is a blessing. Nearly five-years ago breathing for me was not as simple as it is today. Fortunately I can celebrate and say that I am a Valley Fever Survivor. What is Valley Fever you may be asking? VF is not common or even known to most. For nearly two-years this life threatening and nearly debilitating upper respiratory disease hindered my life. This is my story…

I was in the third-trimester of my pregnancy with my second child and I had developed a chronic cough. My thoughts led me to think it was a possible allergy. After I had delivered my baby the looming symptoms did not subside. The cough persisted, a fever developed and I knew something was terribly wrong. It was ten days after having my baby that I developed pneumonia. I was treated and all seemed well. Yet, the cough persisted and my illness began to grow fierce with a fury vengeance. What was happening to me? For months I had felt as though I had the flu. Each afternoon I would spike a fever. I was caring for a toddler and newborn… I was exhausted. The coughing was so severe and the pressure in my head was incredibly intense. Plus, my chest was heavy and I felt weighed down by a ton of bricks. I had never felt so ill in my life. I was fearful of the unknown.

Several visits to the doctor revealed nothing. I was tested for VF but there were no guarantees the tests would reveal the illness. However, just in case I had VF, I was placed on a heavy anti-fungal medication to treat a fungus that may have attached to my lungs. Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever (VF) is a fungus that lives in the soil. All you have to do is breathe. The lurking spore is inhaled and attaches to the lungs. This fungus wreaks havoc on the lungs and causes serious illness and sometimes death. It is most prevalent in Arizona (where I was living at the time) but also found in the soil in Nevada, Northern California and Texas. There were more than 35,000 VF cases reported last year. It attacks anyone at any age. Generally the young, elderly, woman in their third-trimester of pregnancy or those with compromised immunities.


Determined to get answers I submitted more blood tests and had x-rays completed. The x-rays concluded something was indeed on my lungs. I was relocating from Arizona to the Coachella Valley. Finally I had received a confirmed diagnosis from Palm Springs, Pulmonologist, Dr. Ziad Tannous. A CT scan revealed nodules on both sides of my lungs. Dr. Tanneous confirmed I had VF. The day my diagnosis was confirmed was also the day I learned I had fought and beat VF. My nodules were benign and calcified. I had fought VF off with my own immune system.

Fortunately as a yoga instructor I was able to exercise my lungs through many of the breathing techniques offered in yoga. Healthy lungs make for healthier you. Breathe in LIFE!

Bronwyn Ison is the Owner of Evolve Yoga ~