Breaking Our Silence
One of the problems with having COPD is that for most of us, the suffering is self-inflicted. We either smoked, lived in pollution, worked in a sick building or did any number of other things we should not have done. And, now we have COPD.
We become ashamed
The other problem is that because we are told it’s our fault, we become ashamed. The doctor who says, “No help for you, you did this yourself” sends us into self-isolation. We stay locked in hiding. We are too shy to wear supplemental 02 in public, so we either go without it or we stay home, forgoing a drug that keeps us alive because wearing supplemental 02 carries a stigma.
That CO thing
People say to me, “Do you have that CO thing?” “Yeah, yeah, I do have that CO thing." Then I scratch my head. Why doesn’t anyone know what that CO thing is called? It is, after all, the # 3 killer of all adults worldwide. Shouldn’t people know at least what the call letters are and what it stands for?
I can remember a time, in my lifetime, that it was rumored if you had cancer you deserved it. “Oh", they would say, “He must have been a bad one.” They never said the actual word, CANCER, for fear of getting it. They referred to it as, “The Big C”. One day somebody challenged that belief and started cancer funding. Money was raised to aid in research and development.
That led to the prevention and treatment of many cancers. Everyone listened to what cancer was and was not, and they began to understand cancer. Then there were grants from governments and celebrities alike. There is a much better understanding of cancer today because of funding dollars.
What if we talked about our illness?
I think we have been ashamed long enough; blame serves no purpose. It’s time to start letting people know about COPD, what it stands for and what it feels like to have it. Let them see the real you and tell them why you need that disability parking space. It's time to stop the silence; we need our voices heard, loud and clear.
What would happen if we challenged that belief in COPD? What if we talked about our illness? Could that challenge do for COPD what funding did for HIV, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke? I am challenging you today to make an earnest effort to help get the word out about COPD.
We are breaking our silence
Let’s start by writing a letter to our local government official. Find out who has the power to spend our tax dollars because a lot of tax dollars are going to healthcare. Make COPD among the diseases that get the attention of research and development to find a cure. Kevin’s article had a great letter template for you.
Create a template letter and personalize it to really make it your own. Send it off to local governments, magazines, radio, and TV stations. Ask them why they are not talking about COPD. Ask them if they would consider doing a story about COPD. Tell them we are breaking our silence on COPD.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?