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Person standing in the middle of stairs moving in every direction.

My Enemy and My Nemesis

I used to look at them and shudder, I avoided them at all costs. There was no way I could possibly make use of them. They were my enemy and my nemesis.

They blocked access to the outdoors and when I did venture out they made my return difficult and miserable. They caused my anxiety to spike and often made me a prisoner in my own home.  I had to face them constantly, both at home and often in public buildings when I did venture out. There seemed to be no way to get away from them. They haunted me and taunted me.

My mind became obsessed by how to avoid them. We even thought of moving to a new home to get away from them.

Then it hit me. If I gave into this fear and phobia, I would be losing one more thing. It would be one more thing that I could say, “I will never do again.” I am tired of giving things up for this disease called COPD.

Reasoning with the logic of it, I came to the conclusion that it would be shame if I didn’t live in harmony with them as they were the cheapest most reliable source of cardio exercise and upper body strengthening.


My stairs and I have made amends and now instead of dreading them I look forward to my time spent with them.

I first have to descend the steps and use that as my warm up, going slowly and steadily down to the first landing.

I then need to stay in the moment and pay attention to what I am doing. I force myself to stop thinking of what might happen and what I will do next.

I take a deep breath and exhale as I move my foot to the first stair, keeping the entire foot flat on the stairs to keep strain off my knees. Inhale as I place my foot down on the stair, exhale and repeat with the next foot and finish with two feet on the same stair.

Take another deep breath and exhale as I exert yourself and lift my foot to the next step. Inhale as I place your foot down. Repeat and pay attention to what I am doing, and I soon find myself at the top of the stairs.

What to keep in mind:

When you are doing this, remember that the game is to get to the top of the stairs without feeling short of breath.

If you use oxygen for exertion, use it when practicing the steps and if you become short of breath, STOP, find something to lean against or sit where you are, tilt your chin to your chest, breathe in through your nose and out through pursed lips until normal breathing returns.

Then carry on, but never stop and never give up. Don’t let this exercise get the best of you.  Look back with the knowledge that you have conquered this mountain and gained your freedom in the process.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Squirrels Holt
    5 months ago

    I loved your article….it is ME too ! Those blinking stairs are my above everything else,my nemesis and I hate even the idea of them. How stupid is that? I moved into a ground floor flat with no steps,not even from pavement to my front door. Bliss!!!! Or is it really just another big,bad cop-out from me? I don’t want to fail climbing stairs as I’ve had two really dreadful episodes previously and my mindset needs addressing tbh. So this year I’m going to try,gradually to beat this so called fear….watch this space

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    5 months ago

    Thank You Squirrels Holt for your comments,
    I know how you feel about those stairs but they can only hurt you if you completely avoid them.
    Slow and easy is the key and once that task is accomplished you can take off of your ‘can’t do’ list. Congratulations on making that decision. Barbara (author and site moderator)

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    5 months ago

    It was a great article, wasn’t Squirrels Holt? I look forward to hearing how it goes this year. I’m sure you can do whatever you set your mind to.

    Lyn (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    5 months ago

    Thanks for your post, Squirels Holt, we appreciate you sharing your thoughts with the community. Good luck this coming year and please (as you offerred), do keep us posted on your progress! Leon (site moderator)

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