Don't Be Afraid to Cancel
No two days are the same
Planning ahead is difficult. It's so easy to put a date in the diary for a catch-up and then we wake that day feeling pretty rough and we know then on we aren't going to make that coffee with a friend or lunch date with the family. The guilt kicks in and we need to phone and cancel our date, knowing we will disappoint them.
Day by day basis
Sometimes there is nothing we can do about our illness and it does affect our daily living. I think it's safe to say I have lost friends through being ill (I now realize they weren't true friends). True friends and family members will definitely understand if you have to cancel at short notice, and they will still be there for you. We need to be strong for ourselves and we definitely don't need to beat ourselves up or have the guilt feeling hanging over our heads.
Now I tend to not book things in advance and take things on a day by day basis. It makes life so much easier. The couple of very close friends I do have know me really well and if I did cancel they would be fine with it. Now I do things on impulse. If I'm feeling good I will phone family and friends for a quick catch up and meet for that coffee or lunch date.
Pacing ourselves is so important
We need to remember that we're living a different life, and it's a life that comes with a few problems so pacing ourselves is so important, as is listening to our body and resting when we need to.
It can be difficult when you ask your friend not to wear perfume when they come over as it triggers a wheezy chest and a coughing fit. Or if they have turned up wearing the perfume and you have to explain they can't stay because of the smell and fumes are choking you. Honestly, it has happened a few times.
Don't feel bad
Then you have to cancel going out in your family's car because they have one of those smelly air fresheners hanging on the front mirror. That one is a true stinker and there's no way you can go out with them. Don't feel bad canceling plans to go out with them as you may have just saved yourself a severe asthma attack and an exacerbation of your COPD. Yes, it's happened a couple of times. Now if I do plan on going in their car I remind them all the time not to use smelly air fresheners.
I hope this helps those that struggle to cancel a coffee or lunch date. You're definitely not on your own and you never will be. But remember you're not well and you do need to put yourself first.
Which of the following best describes your COPD diagnosis?