Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I Don't Like Myself Today

Good morning my friends,
Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought... UGH.... "I dont like myself today." Well, when you have COPD/Emphysema that may happen quite often to you.
I woke up this morning, looked in the mirror and decided... "I don't like myself today." You may ask "WHY", what does COPD have to do with "not liking yourself?"
Before I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema, I weighed in at a comfortable 145 lbs., my height 5'9" (not too bad), now I have gone way beyond that. The worst part is the barell effect it has on our bodies and the steroids that we have to take.
My clothes do not fit the same way anymore. So you see... some days... "I just don't like myself" hopefully... "tomorrow I will like me again."
I have included an excerpt from an interesting article about COPD/Emphysema explaining about the barrell chest effect for those of you who do not know about it.

Clinical Manifestations
Typically patients with emphysema will have a very distinct "barrel chest." This is due to the problem with the lungs being in constant state of hyperexpansion. The normal negative pressure required for inspiration and the positive pressure required for expiration is lost as the lungs are in a constant state of inflation. Therefore, expiration becomes an active task, increasing the work of breathing. The "barrel chest" is directly related to the ribs as they become fixed in the inspiratory position combined with the loss of elastic recoil of the lungs. Dorsal kyphosis, prominent anterior chest and elevated ribs will contribute to this appearance.


May you have a healthy and joyous holiday season.

Breathe easy,
1 2 3 Inhale ... 1 2 3 4 Exhale


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An Interesting Question

Hello and what a beautiful day it is!!
Today at work I had a gentleman ask me a very interesting question. He asked me if "Emphysema" hurts! I replied "it does"... but not in the way that you think, because alot of folks do not understand it. Physically it does not hurt as far as pain, however, we need to get the information out about what this disease does to your body. He then told me that he is trying to quit smoking again, I told him I would be very happy to be his coach. I will see him tomorrow and promised to bring him information on COPD/Emphysema and Asthma for him to read. Isn't life grand when you can help someone! I just love it!
Feel free to write to me anytime, I love to receive mail!!

Breathe Easy,
1 2 3 Inhale ... 1 2 3 4 Exhale

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Taking a Shower"...

Hello everyone!
I hope you have all been "breathing well" since the last time I posted. I have been extremely busy, as I have spent the last few weeks moving into a new place and have also started a new job.
I have a little "tip" that may make life a bit easier for you.

Because of our limited breathing, I have found that using a terry cloth bath robe to dry off after a shower will reduce the amount of air we use to dry, as opposed to using a regular towel.

Isn't it amazing how much more we can do with knowledge... I hope to continue to share my experiences and knowledge with all of you as we continue our journey together, till we meet again...

Breathe Easy,
1 2 3 Inhale ... 1 2 3 4 Exhale

Monday, December 4, 2006

How do you describe a "Good Day" or a "Bad Day" with COPD?

I was thinking of some of the questions that I have been asked concerning "Living with COPD". The "Title" for today is one that people have asked me many many times.

When I wake in the morning, I feel refreshed the air quality is fresh and clean, I slept well and I feel well; that is how I perceive a "Good Breathing Day". Today is a very good example of a "Bad Breathing Day", I had trouble sleeping last night, we had the windows open thus breathing in "heavy humid air". The whole day was a strain for me. I usually end up loosing my voice from the strain of talking and trying to breathe. I also end up with a headache from lack of oxygen. After using my resuce inhaler; my breathing is not as strained because my lungs are taking in more oxygen. Pursed Lip breathing is also a great asset, but I will talk more about that another day.
There is also another trigger that affects my breathing. At work, there are folks that smoke. They go out for their "Butt Break" and then not realizing that when they come back in, there is the lingering smoke on their clothes; this second hand smoke immediately tightens my chest in-turn making it hard for me to breath.

Those who have been blessed to beable to keep their healthy lungs, do not understand how difficult the smallest tasks may be for us. There are times I cannot walk and talk at the same time. Or I cannot eat a large meal because I cannot breathe.

I have just given you a few examples of my triggers for Good Day and Bad Day Breathing. I am sure every COPD patient could name so many more. Let us hear from you. We can all learn so much from each other. Please do not be shy or embarressed... let's help one another. I feel newly diagnosed COPD patients, actually all patients need to know what to expect... and who can help them better than us, we cope with this disease day after day... it will give you a great sense of self worth.

Let's try this again...
"Breathe Easy"... 1 2 3 Inhale ... 1 2 3 4 Exhale

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Reaching out to other COPD patients brings joy and satisfaction

I would like to Welcome you all To My Little Corner Of The World. I have had this yearning for sometime now to reach out and help others with COPD cope with this disease.
I met a woman one day while surfing the web who also has COPD. She had no idea how to live her life with this disease. Through my e-mails, I gave her the understanding of how to control the disease rather than to let the disease control her. It gave me a sense of... Good Job - Well Done, I made someone happy. I also have a friend in New Hampshire that has been trying to quit smoking. I have sent her whatever information that I can find and trust that she reads it and thinks of ME and what I have gone through because of smoking. Hopefully my help to her will be a positive outcome. That is my lot in life, to help another human being... to make him or her smile and to have self worth from that smile. I feel that helping others brings so much satisfaction to our lives.
I am very excited to help Lori with her website Love Your Lungs, Breathe For Life, http://www.loveyourlungsbreatheforlife.com in her new venture into the world of BLOGGING. I so much want to make this happen and I will contribute as much as I can to help anyone in need.
Please do not be afraid to post, I would love to hear from you. If you have questions, comments or suggestions I will be here to support you.

Breathe Easy.... 1 2 3 Inhale... 1 2 3 4 Exhale

Friday, November 24, 2006

How I can relate by: Sandy Grace

November is COPD Awareness Month. It is a disease that so little is known about. Those of us with this disease are trying to inform the public of what it is and how we live our lives.
I did not write the following, but received it from a support site. I give Edna Fiore a overwhelming amount of credit for writing this piece below. It is a very good explanation of COPD. The one thing it does not say is that the main cause of COPD is SMOKING. It is the 4th leading killer in the world today. And although treatable, it is not curable. But, for those out there that may have COPD and think their life is over...it is not! By eating well, exercising and taking the medications that are prescribed, you can still live a good life. You just have to move slower and with help most of the time. I am praying that in reading this people will become aware and have a better understanding of COPD.

Sick Lungs Don't Show
adapted from 1998 EFFORTS Brochure
by Edna Fiore

I may not look sick,
BUT.....I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

What is COPD? It includes such illnesses as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and sometimes asthma. It is primarily characterized by extreme shortness of breath.


It means having to avoid strong odors, smoke, flowers, perfumes, cleaning agents, paints, solvents, vehicle exhaust, shaving lotion, bath powders, incense.

I also have to avoid temperature extremes or wind, crowds, molds, and dusty places because they make me short of breath.


Living with COPD can mean having difficulty walking up stairs or inclines, not walking very far, being unable to rush or "being rushed", tiring easily--especially if things last too long, being unable to tolerate tight clothing and inability to talk for any length of time.


Living with COPD can mean coughing in public which attracts attention and embarrasses me, having to use or wear devices or equipment, or take medication which invites public comment (oxygen, cold weather masks, inhalers), being concerned (often excessively) about contact with cold or flu germs, having my friends make short, pleasant, smoke-less visits.


Living with COPD can mean crying easily, angering easily, becoming frustrated and impatient because I can't do the things I used to do. Feeling resentful when others tell me, "You don't look sick." It can cause me to be panicky and tense, and becoming dependent and demanding because it's frightening when I can't breathe.


By having to adapt to my physical, emotional, social and environmental needs and limitations, often having to leave social functions earlier than they wish because of me or sometimes never getting there and by having to check out all of the details in advance, getting places early and all the while having to remain calm and reassuring at all times on my account.

REMEMBER: I may not look sick but-- SICK LUNGS DON'T SHOW!!!!

Breathe Easy,