In the name of COPD Awareness, I feel it's important to make sure we are aware of changes within our bodies. We can become complacent with ourselves and think different ailments are just part and parcel of our body's changes. You tend to believe there is nothing sinister going on. COPD can hit anyone at any age. Though there are known triggers, you can get it without any of them.
I shrugged it off
I became complacent from having asthma as a child and numerous chest infections. I believed it was just part and parcel of my health. I shrugged it off more and more. I did smoke and came from a family whose parents smoked so it was normal for me. My mother died young (55) of chronic bronchitis and respiratory failure so you would think that I would've learned from this, but no, I didn't. I nursed my mum at home 24/7 for two years right up until she died. Oxygen at home and still she smoked (me too). I still didn't take notice.
No one is invincible
My chest infections were more frequent and I smoked more than ever. Being in and out of hospital (different problem), all the time to kill in the world - just to smoke. My father became ill with his chest. He struggled but quit smoking just before he went on home oxygen too. I continued smoking! Don't be the one to shrug things off. Don't let the offer of a lung function test go by.
No one is invincible. Being in denial will get you nowhere except sicker and sicker. I think being afraid of the unknown and seeing what my parents went through turned me off to knowing my true health state. Deep down I knew I was ill and I didn't want to hear the words. I was offered numerous lung function tests but always declined them gracefully. I was scared and didn't want to hear I had COPD (though we all knew I had it, even me).
Sooner rather than later
What I'm saying is don't put off any tests if you have something wrong. Get it treated sooner rather than later. By letting things get so bad, you have added the stress of not knowing what's going on and anxiety hits an all-time high.
The quicker you're diagnosed, the quicker you get treated. Ok, so there is no cure for COPD, but knowing you have it you can change your lifestyle to slow the progression. You will also be given the correct medication to help you and maybe have the opportunity to have surgery.
Although a diagnosis can be scary, it's not as scary as letting yourself get so ill that you could die. Sadly, the majority of the time when diagnosing COPD, consultants tend to speak only about the lungs. Not much about the emotional side is touched upon. The way your life changes on a daily basis it's difficult to plan ahead as you don't know how you will be until you wake up. Changing your daily living by not using spray polish but using wipes. Having a shower instead of a bath as you cant breathe laying in the steam.
Get your lung function test as soon as possible, then you can learn to adjust gradually so it won't be such a shock to you and your family and other loved ones.
There is hope and.......
Do you feel you could have been more proactive or aware prior to your diagnosis? Share more here.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?