in one frame a woman sits on the beach, while in the next Fram the same woman is on the same beach sunning herself but in a wheelchair

Adapting to the New Life

We can thankfully never see into the future. We don't know what lays ahead of us. Maybe if we could, we would change what we're doing now. There is no real point in dwelling on what we had or could do before, for reality hits us with a massive bang and everything can be snatched away.

Life is different now

One minute we're walking the hills and riding our bikes. Flying away on holiday or working at an energetic speed at a job we love. The next we wake up struggling to breathe. Maybe you had noticed you were getting slightly out of breath when walking those hills or running about at work. You ignored that persistent cough you had for months. Now reality hits and it's a trip to the local emergency room.

After many treatments and tests, the results come in and it's COPD. The progression really depends a lot on how you choose to live your life from here on out. Life is different now (completely different for me). Your life is at a slower pace. You may need to give up your job, move homes, and/or have adaptions made to your home.

Changes but also hope

You need to keep as fit as possible, changing the way you eat and exercising more regularly. Find out what triggers your flare-ups and what to avoid. You need to remember it is not a death sentence there is life after a diagnosis. I had to stop working and move home. To go out, I either use a wheelchair or mobility scooter but I'm fitter now than I've ever been.

I stringently followed all the suggestions made to me. Firs was quitting smoking after 30 or so years of smoking. I had to gradually build up my weight and muscles and slowly increase exercise. Gaining weight can be just as difficult as losing it so gradually gaining it is important.

Accepting our new lives

Upper body exercise is crucial, as we need to build up the muscles around our lungs to help us breathe easier. I enjoy keeping a journal to log what I've achieved and to remember when I started this new journey in my life. Although so much has changed and I do miss parts of my old life, my current life is pretty good and exciting. I have new goals I wish to achieve and I'm fighting every day to keep well and strong.

You learn to appreciate the small things in life - the things we would have taken for granted in our old lives. Like going out into the fields, down to the beach, and going shopping. I still do these though not in my 2 legs. Using the wheelchair or buggy I'm not gasping for air or having to stop every few minutes to catch my breath.

Adapting to the new life is a challenge but when you accept it and work alongside it, life is good.


Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Debz passed away in October of 2021. She is deeply missed but her positivity and resilience live on through her articles. Thank you for everything, Debz.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The 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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