A big topic of conversation frequently seems to be on weight. It seems easier to help others with their struggles, yet more difficult to deal with my own. Is it like this for you?
I always want to share a positive attitude, yet it seems at times that I come with excuses. I sometimes think that my doctors struggle with my health issues as well. Much of this is weight related, because there is one body that carries this COPD, allergies, and my other health issues, as well as weight.
I think I can still do everything
Guess I’m not thinking period. I get out of a chair like I am off to win a marathon and end up dizzy and short of breath. As I do my pursed lip breathing, it comes to me that I’m really 63. I struggle with my breathing when I take off like a racehorse through the gate. I go to move something and realize that I’m not as strong as I was. Things that were taken for granted are no longer possible. I know that.
Ding, ding: pace yourself. Baby steps. Isn’t that what I preach? I was diagnosed with COPD 11 or 12 years ago, I can never remember how long. Most of the time I do pretty well, but once in awhile it’s a struggle to accept limitations. It’s important to shift my thoughts from limited, to new possibilities and a new journey.
Promoting healthier thinking
A nutritious diet is so important. A healthy diet consists of fruits, vegetables, protein, low carbohydrates, low sodium, water and more. My mind goes to allergies, reflux, and more allergies. No one understands this as much as my husband and health professionals.
Again, limitations. As my husband says, ask what I’m not allergic to. I’m learning to get excited when I find things that I can have and cooking them in a fun way. There are so many recipes online. I make them on my good days and freeze the leftovers. The tough days are made much easier by not having to cook, the only need is defrosting and reheating. Sweet!
It's important to accept the limitations
If I’m slow getting out of the gate at the racetrack, that’s okay and it’s important to accept those limitations. You see, if I pace myself, that will hopefully alleviate the dizziness and also the shortness of breath. You see, it’s not always the first horse out of the gate that wins the race. Often if we pace ourselves getting up and getting ready, then on the go, it gives us a chance to steady our paces so that even with our limitations, we can find a way to succeed, whether it’s a short walk or time on the racetrack.
The limitations of a COPDer aren’t going to be the same as that of a healthier person, but it’s okay and we can accept that because often at a slower place we don’t let things and life pass us by as much as the person running that race at a full-out sprint.
Medications make things tough
Taking all medications that we COPDers take, makes it difficult to accept limitations as well. Some of them give nasty side effects, and many are so expensive they are difficult to afford. By taking these as directed, we are accepting limitations as well. Because of the physical side effects, and because of the financial limitations, they can make it difficult to pay some of our regular monthly expenses or more.
It can be hard to make decisions about whether to eat or pay for medications that can hopefully improve your life. For overall health though, it’s important to accept those limitations. You may have to change your eating habits and you may have to ask about coupons or generic medications. Hopefully your doctor and/or pharmacist can help you.
The limitations in front of us
It can be difficult to accept all the limitations that are in front of us. Us, meaning you and I. We need to be patient with ourselves and others in our lives. Sadly, people don’t always understand or accept our limitations. We can provide printed material for them to read, let them see us when we struggle, let them see a YouTube video or take them to the doctor with us. Some of the limitations in our lives might not be ours, they may be put there by others, as they struggle to accept and cope with your COPD. Some may be because of fear.
Choices throughout life
Throughout our lives, we will be given choices on whether to accept something in our lives or if we should reject it. When we are faced with something that we cannot change, it’s important that we make a decision to accept what is going on. From there, we can find ways to grow. Ways to make peace with ourselves and our lives. We can accept our limitations, for that peace and a better life.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?