Editors Note: Mary Ultes passed away on March 2nd, 2018. She was a valued member of the COPD.net team and will be sorely missed.
I’m a 69-year-old woman who has have stage four COPD for 17 yrs & end stage COPD for 8 yrs. After being diagnosed with COPD, & on oxygen 24/7 I kept smoking on & off for nine years. 8 yrs ago after a I almost died for the third time, beside using oxygen 24/7 I had to use a nonintrusive ventilation device, (known to most as a BI-PAP) 24/7. One year later I was put on Hospice & given less than 6 month to live. I was a Hospice patient for 3 & 1/2 years. The doctors kept telling me I was dying. However, I choose not to believe them, and by the grace of God, so far, I’m right and they’re wrong. After being on hospice for three and a half years & shocking all the doctors by not dying. I went off Hospice, move to Michigan for 2 & 1/2 yrs then last November move to NC where I now live. I live alone, & do my own cooking & most of my own cleaning & shopping. I am on oxygen 24/7 & I still sleep on the nonintrusive ventilation device, but I use it during the day only if I get in distress. I live a pretty normal life, I'm just slower than healthy people & have to stop several time to catch my breath. Although I can no longer fly, I take road trips every year, the longest one of which was 2,800 miles. My trips take's a lot of planning, but, it is something I really enjoy & I won't let my COPD take it from me. Last year I visited, NJ, NY City, & Long Island. Because of my move to NC I haven't taken a trip this year, but am now thing about taking another trip to NJ/NY in the fall.
According to all my doctors I should have died 13 yrs, ago, & they still can't understand why I lived on. I give God the first credit for my still being alive. After him comes my determination to learn all I could about COPD & how it affect on my COPD & the best meds & treatment for me. Everyone is not affected the same way & the key to living the best life you can, Is to know what's best for your COPD. My hope in writing about my successfully living with COPD, the changes I've made to accommodate my COPD and still live a full useful life, will help you do the same. Breathe deep and easy.
Click here to read all of Mary's articles on COPD.net.