a woman on an exercise bike with lungs on her shirt

Work On What You Can Do

Always look at what you can do with COPD, and work ahead on that. Don't dwell on the things you cannot do, otherwise you will be stuck in the same place forever. Work on the things that you know you can do and reap the benefits and rewards as you increase the levels that you were on.

What I can do with COPD

An example I will use in my life: due to my severity of COPD, I'm unable to go out for a nice walk. I'm unable to walk any beneficial distance and I have to use either a wheelchair or mobility scooter. I used to get so upset and think about it all the time, but now I've accepted that situation.

I'm blessed to have acquired an exercise pedals machine to exercise my legs and also do a cardio workout. Wow! I'm truly buzzing with excitement when I write down what I have achieved.

Adapting to our new normal

Everybody has things in their lives that they're unable to do. I think it is enhanced when we have COPD; our ability to do things is taken away from our more active lifestyle and we then need to learn to adapt to our (much slower) new lifestyle.

Yes, our lives are so different, but I know in some respects it is also better. I'm achieving so much more now than I have ever done. Sadly, it nearly cost me my life in the process, but I came through it. Now I am making sure I live it and enjoy it.

Tips for moving forward

Focusing on what you can do with COPD

When we concentrate on the things we can do we strengthen ourselves--not only physically, but mentally, too. This is so important when living with COPD, as we do tend to get some emotional days along with our bad lung days.

Keeping a progress journal

I also keep a journal, which I find I really need. It's so helpful to look back and see what I did 2 or 3 weeks ago. The difference is always one or two steps forward! We're climbing that hill we thought we could never climb: an achievement, a goal, a step, in a positive direction.

Always look forward!

Yes, we all get blips: down days, emotional days, and days we look back on our past lives. I know, when I look back, that I was tired, I was underweight, miserable, always ill with chest infections, and I smelled of cigarette smoke. I never exercised and was so out of breath and unfit. I used to hide under layers of clothes. When I look back it's pretty scary, really.

Now I look to see what I can achieve next and work on the next new goal. Life is exciting, and it's a life that I'm living daily. I look forward to exercising and setting goals on what I'm doing. I enjoy going out on my mobility scooter--it's freedom and independence I didn't have before I got it. That is what life is about. It's not giving up, it's about adapting to our new lives.

Remember: There is Life after a Diagnosis. #thinkpositivebepositive

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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