30 Days of COPD Awareness - 30 Things About Janet
Last updated: August 2017
- My diagnosis is: Mild COPD. However, in 2007, I was diagnosed by National Jewish Hospital, as Stage 3, they said I likely have 5 years to live. At that time, we discussed disability, pursed lip breathing, and medications. That was a lot to take in and bewildering. Over time, I have my spirometry tests, six minute walk night oximetry, CT scans and all of the normal tests. I have these done about every 6 months, depending on how my results are, how I do on a daily basis, and how often I get sick. How strange it seems to start poorly and now to be tested the last few times at the Mayo, with the last appointment at 81% and Stage 1.
- I was diagnosed in: 2007 at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver CO
- My favorite hobby is: Crafts and baking for our families.
- My comorbid conditions include: Asthma, Pulmonary Hypertension, GERD, Barrette’s Esophagus, sleep apnea, severe allergies, sinus infections, osteoarthritis with numerous surgeries, fibromyalgia, constant pain, cataracts removed from both eyes, hypoxemia, potassium, chronic fatigue, confusion, depression, fuzzy vision when O2 is low, decreased oxygen at night, gastritis, obesity, dizziness, falling, edema, dry mouth raspy voice, hoarseness and frequent yeast infections. Vocal chord dysfunction and reactive airway disease. Also periodic bronchitis and/or pneumonia. These health conditions I call a domino effect and with such associations of diseases, it’s difficult to separate the health issues at times. Kind of like “The knee bone’s connected to the leg bone”.
- To treat my COPD, I take: Spiriva, Singulair, Mucinex, Oxygen, Pro-Air, and Albuterol. I quit Advair because of constant yeast infections.
- My biggest COPD trigger is: Allergies. My docs have said that allergies are a big contributor to my COPD exacerbations, dust is a major factor.
- My most challenging COPD symptoms are: Dizziness, falling, confusion, shortness of breath and dysfunction. In actuality, it’s trying to figure out what is actually causing my symptoms. As I tell my docs, it seems to be easier to exclude what is okay and then pick out what is wrong.
- My strangest COPD symptoms are: Dizziness, blurred and falling, which happens at home, in the store, on the stairs, etc. Those, as well as breathing issues can trigger my fibro as well. Those seem to come when my oxygen has dropped and with my PH (Pulmonary Hypertension).
- I wish I knew more about: how to do this on my bad days. Also, how to help others get through their day, and to help them get to the point of acceptance with their disease and some of the things that they go through. .
- When I think about COPD, I think: that we need to bring more awareness to what COPD is and what it does. That we need the exposure of the “pink” breast cancer awareness. And hopefully people will step up and make it possible, we are hearing more and more of people speaking out and doing. I also need to be grateful, COPD and the health that is overwhelming, made me question my health, life, everything. I could never believe that a person could have as many health issues as I do. I have told my docs that I think I’m just goofy and they say there is no doubt that all of this is real. Capturing all of this we, my mom and I remember, I was adopted. My mom encouraged me to check into my family history. A few years ago and after a lot of searching, and with some assistance of my aunt, I traced a sister and found her on Facebook. We messaged and talked. I met another sister, as well. Even had hello’s and talked with others on the phone. I told them about my health issues. It seems that my birth mother, who died some years ago, had many of the same illness’ that I do. Other family members as well. It seems that someone has the health issues of my children and grandchildren as well. If it weren’t for COPD, I never would have met my sisters, so I give thanks as well as struggling on the hard days.
- The most frustrating part about having COPD is: Accepting that there are limitations, that things that have been so important, have to be given up. Also, people's attitudes when I have to say sorry I won’t be able to come. Sometimes too, leaving the doctor’s office feeling empty, like nothing was accomplished, and like the doctor wasn’t able to make sense of what’s going on. Every doc I have seen says that I am complicated because there are too many health issues all the time.
- During a COPD attack, I worry most about: Being alone. Finding a place where I can lay down if I’m not home, wishing I were in a place where I have oxygen available if I’m away from home and that I can get my breathing controlled, being able to get to a safe place or off the floor if I have dizziness.
- One thing I took for granted before my diagnosis is: That I was infallible, nothing can happen to me. That I could be active in the lives and events of my family, active working ambulance, active hunting, fishing, hiking and camping. That I could feel whole.
- When I tell someone I have COPD, the response is usually: Do you smoke? If you have COPD, why don’t you have oxygen? The worst for me: silence, no response, nothing.
- When someone tells me they have COPD, I think: It’s important they know that they aren’t alone, so I make sure they have my contact information. We will visit about it, if they are wanting to do at that time and if I have time as well.
- When I see commercials about COPD treatments, I think: that the people who need to see the commercials will avoid them as I used to do about cigarettes. I tend to scrutinize whether it looks true or not as we used to do working ambulance or even as my husband does as a police officer. I’m grateful that there is more awareness.
- My best coping tools are: Pursed lip breathing, oxygen, water to drink, inhaler and nebulizer. Sitting or standing with my back and neck stretched, where it seems to open up my airway, adjust my diaphragm and helps me to relax emotionally as well as physically.
- I find comfort in: Quiet time. When my hubby is home, with my shih tzus, watching reruns and my adjustable bed. (I did get an ok from allergist before getting the first dog and now have three).
- I get angry when people say:You must be feeling good, you “sound” better. You need to get outside and walk more or do cardio exercises. You walk like an old person. You look like you’re drunk. You’re always sick.
- I like it when people say: We’re glad you made the effort. We missed you. Thank you for being there.
- Something kind someone can do for me during a COPD attack is: Help me to a better and quieter place, get me a glass of room temperature water, and to encourage others, especially children to go into another room. Most of the time, a gentle back rub feels good (unless I have spasms).
- The best thing(s) a doctor has ever said to me about COPD is: I can tell you for sure, this is NOT in your head!
- The hardest thing to accept about having COPD is: Dysfunction
- COPD has taught me: to “never take anything for granted” and “never, say never”.
- The quotation, motto, mantra, or scripture that gets me through an attack is: “There is power in prayer”, John 3:16 “That God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that we shall have eternal life” and the song “Amazing Grace”
- If I could go back to the early days of my diagnosis, I would tell myself: To live, to enjoy, and to grab all the quality time with family that I can.
- The people who support me most are: My family and some of my COPD Friends.
- The thing I most wish people understood about COPD is: that it isn’t going to go away. That no one has a crystal ball, so no one, including the doctor, knows how long a person has to live. It’s important to take care of self, stay away from smoke, exercise, live to the best of your ability.
- COPD Awareness Month is important to me because: others will see and hear more about COPD, that lives can be saved.
- One more thing I’d like to say about life with COPD is: Don’t throw your day away worrying about when you will die, thinking that this is a death sentence. It isn’t a death sentence, because no one knows when something will happen. I always tell that people I’ll probably get hit by a bus. We don’t know what our future holds and worrying about this, strips us of our days.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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