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Don’t Compare

Last updated: July 2020

There must be some kind of fine line between inspiration and consternation.

I find it very easy to become encouraged when I read about the experiences others have had with COPD. I like to read about what they’ve done to cope with the, at times, debilitating aspects of the disease.

I love reading or hearing about how folks continue to strive to live their lives to the best they can and not to let things get them down.

Comparing COPD to others

Goals some have set for themselves. How far they can walk & exercise, even if it’s just a few steps. A lot of these kinds of activities can change the attitude of folks who struggle daily, like me, and help us to forget what our lives are like now - or at least cope better with the hand we’ve been dealt.

But, at the same time, I find it’s just as easy to become discouraged when reading about someone with COPD who still surfs or takes part in very physical sports despite having been diagnosed with the disease. Or someone who holds down 2 jobs to make ends meet.

My initial reaction is, “Good for them!”

But in the back of my mind, it becomes “How is that possible?” or “How come I can’t do that?”

And so, I read, and read and then I read some more to find out how they did what they did.

Everyone's situation is unique

And, as is true with most things COPD-related, you find that almost everyone else is at a different stage than you are. Or, maybe they’re not as debilitated as you. Or, maybe their circumstances are as different from yours as there are types of COPD manifestations.

I was a reporter many years ago and I have a naturally curious personality.

And so, I read as much as I can about COPD (and about everything else for that matter - lol). My wife is constantly picking up newspapers and books and pamphlets after me! (Thank you, Marisa!)

There are approximately 251 million cases world-wide.1

That’s a staggering number.

But we aren't alone

And while many of us have similar experiences and show similar symptoms, I remain convinced that the way COPD affects us is as individualized as the number of folks affected by it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I belong to a number of COPD groups on Facebook and other places on the internet.

And if you go to these COPD groups or websites, you’ll find that there are a lot more people like me and you. This is in the sense of what we’re able to accomplish at the same time we fight this disease.

That is not to take anything away from those who can still go to work or go camping or take their family to the beach.

And if you’re able to engage in that kind of activity, all I can say with sincerity, is “God bless!”

I was able to do many of those things up until a few years ago when COPD caught up with me.

I had to adjust. I could not commute. I retired. I didn’t want to. I was not ready for it in my heart and soul but, there it was and so I did what was necessary.

But I must be doing something right, even at this point in the “Stages.”

If it’s a particularly cooperative day (no heat or humidity - lol), and I don’t have to have my friend Mr. Cannula stuck up my nose all day, folks are surprised when I tell them about my malady.

So don't compare

I guess what I’m saying (and it’s taking me an awfully long time to do it!) is that we are all unique. And so are our experiences with COPD.

And my advice for anyone who may want it is - don’t compare. Don’t look at, or read about, someone else with COPD who may be able to be more active than you. It will only discourage you.

Be yourself. Explore your post-diagnosis abilities!

You will be working your ways towards contentment.

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