My life changed in a breath!
Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay
A month ago I got the news - in a way I was glad to finally know what had been making me so sick for the past 6 months - but regardless, it still came as a mighty shock all the same. I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Stage 2 and coupled with my lifelong battle with chronic bronchitis & asthma, I knew that my life was going to change dramatically. I'll be honest with you, the last month has been very emotional and yes, I have felt quite down a lot of the time.
In case you don't know about COPD, it is an incurable, progressive lung disease that makes breathing hard, you wheeze a lot, produce lots of mucus, and have this terrible hacking cough & and the associated chest and back pain that comes from coughing too much and too hard. You also get really tired too and things you once took for granted like getting showered and dressed in the morning, require a lot of effort & energy. There are four stages to the disease and a lot of people have Stage 1 and don't even know it! Smoking is one of the major causes of COPD and yes, I did smoke once upon a time and even though I gave up 20 years ago, smoking & my lung problems since childhood have finally caught up with me. But now is not a time for blame, it is a time to reflect, regroup and take action.
I'm fortunate with COPD because even though it's incurable and I will eventually progress through all the stages, there are changes I can make in my life now to slow down its progress. I saw my G.P. yesterday and she has told me that my tests show I'm responding well to know new COPD & asthma medications. Yah! I've been given a Team Health Management Plan and will be seeing a dietitian and exercise physiologist to learn how to best manage things. I'll be seeing a physiotherapist too to learn how to breathe to get the maximum amount of oxygen into my lungs without tiring myself out. I'm also seeing a counsellor to help me get my head right because I believe that having a positive outlook can make a huge difference in all things. Guess I'll be seeing a lot of medical people for a while at least. My G.P. is also referring me on to a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program where I can learn more about my disease and how to manage it. This will be happening sometime in early 2020. I'm looking forward to this as I need to meet with others who have COPD and talk about things like having to cough up mucus in public and how to do it discretely. I really feel so embarrassed by this.
I've decided to document my journey so that others, who sadly may get this disease, can learn from my experiences and feel supported.
I'm Judith Newton and I have COPD Stage 2. I'm going to fight this damned thing and live long enough that my kids have to look after me when I get old - that'll show 'em, payback for all those years of motherhood! : )
Til next time,