Comfort and Life With COPD
It has taken me a very long time to find my comfort level living with COPD. I am still working on some issues that give me a great deal of anxiety, so it seems it is always an ongoing process. Just as life is full of changes, so is COPD. What worked a year ago may not now. I have learned not to be rigid in my thinking and be willing to change my routines when necessary.
Acceptance of an old life gone and finding my way into a new life that works for me has been part of a journey of challenges, tears, and then eventually joy. Acceptance is necessary, at least for me. Without it, I would not find any contentment or peace. That is very important to me and I feel it gives me a better quality of life. Life is about balance. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad. Each has a purpose.
My first year with severe COPD was a year of deep depression for me. Working through that year, and each one since, has brought a deeper connection to myself, life, my faith, my family. I am not saying COPD has made my life better. Acceptance of it has made it better. Discovering my comfort and boundaries has also made it better. My disease is mine alone, and I had to learn that. Once I did, I figured out it was okay to take the knowledge I learned through the years and truly adapt it to my life.
Adding comfort to my life
All the things I should
I know some people will not wear oxygen out of their homes. They will not use a walker or mobility scooter. I do all the things I should - I exercise, eat healthy meals (mostly!), take my medications, journal, and get plenty of rest. I have accepted I am Stage 4 with twenty-four percent lung function. More of my life is behind me than ahead of me. I am going to do whatever I can to make my life comfortable to enjoy it.
When I go into large stores, I use a mobility scooter. I have my own or I will use the store’s scooter if they have them. I’ve had people tell me I should walk and not use an aid. If I tried to do that, and I have tried, I will not enjoy leaving my home. I will always be trying to catch my breath. With a scooter, I can shop. I can continue to go to art and craft festivals, farmer’s markets, parks, and so many more places. It is a comfort tool. It allows me to enjoy activities that I have always taken part in.
My rollator walker provides the same. I will use that for small stores or shorter walks. It has the seat to rest if I am short of breath, a compartment for my oxygen tank, and I added a tote bag that clips on the front. I want to add streamers like I had on my bike as a child and a horn! We need to have fun in life!
The healing power of comfort
Learning to navigate life with breathing limitations has in many ways been healing. I find joy in simple things. My husband making me a morning cup of coffee is simple comfort. Learning new technology like Zoom and not being bashful to be on the camera allows me to connect with family and friends all over the world. I can also connect with others that have COPD. That too is a comfort.
I have become more compassionate. I have found compassion in unexpected places and people. The bad breathing days allow me to appreciate the good ones. There are so many things and so many moments that bring comfort to our lives. It is even more important to enjoy those comforts when living life with COPD.
What do you have in your life that brings you comfort? Do you feel they help you manage your life better with COPD? Tell us in the form of a story by clicking the button below!
Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Carol passed away in February of 2022. Carol's storytelling and advocacy will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on through her articles and in all the people she inspired.
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