Your Diagnosis Is Not a Life Sentence
Last updated: March 2022
When I got my diagnosis of stage 4 COPD I was so scared. I thought I had been diagnosed and sent home to die. Though it was my first diagnosis, it showed that I had had COPD for a good number of years. That said, the delay was partially my fault as I had been offered a lung function test for a few years, which I gracefully declined. I didn't want to hear the word COPD, though deep down I knew I had it.
More confidence and new freedom
I've written before about being rushed into the hospital and ending up in the ICU. The point of this article is to show that it isn't a death sentence to have COPD. As we all know, we're all going to die at some point anyway. Yes, my way of living has changed, but it's not all bad.
I have suffered very badly with agoraphobia and anxiety so I never went out much. When I did, it was always with someone and not on my own. I would have to keep stopping and pretend to look in shop windows feeling anxious and shakey.
Now because of my COPD, I go out on a mobility scooter which gets me out and about. I'm not as shakey or anxious as I used to be. So really I look about the scooter and it is definitely a plus to have it. I have more confidence and a new form of freedom which I haven't had in many years.
Moving to a new house
We have had to move due to the severity of my COPD. I could no longer use the stairs to get up to our first-floor flat. It was okay for a while and I had a stairlift fitted, but a year later, our fridge freezer broke and the new one couldn't fit up the stairs past the stairlift. It became clear that it was no longer practical to stay in that flat.
When we did move, it proved my life was so much easier living in a bungalow. No stairs, everything on ground level, and large front and back gardens which our dog absolutely loves. We're not gardeners but keep the grass short.
I've made personal adaptations to help myself. When I take the washing out, I know to throw it over my shoulders so I don't have to bed down. It works so much better and I'm keeping active doing it.
When it comes to cleaning, I now use wipes instead of sprays so I don't get short of breath. We have a walk-in shower as I cannot use a bath. Four years on I still really miss not having a bath.
I religiously keep up with the exercises that I learned from my respiratory rehab course and from the gym. My journal is full of highs and a few lows but I'm thriving in this new chapter of my life. I have new hobbies for when the weather is wet or too windy to go out which keeps me occupied.
It is all about looking at how things work for you as everyone is different. Remember there is life after a diagnosis.
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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.
What stage was your COPD diagnosed as?