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.


LIVING WITH COPD IS VERY RESTRICTIVE

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.

PHYSICALLY:

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.

SOCIALLY:

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.

EMOTIONALLY:

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.

COPD AFFECTS MY FAMILY....

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,
Sandy