Four Years On

Last updated: October 2021

June the 16th. I celebrated four years smoke-free and a new life living with COPD. If I had listened, would my COPD be less severe? Who knows, so dwelling on the past is definitely a no-no. Yes, a glimpse into my past must stay a glimpse.

Chuckling to myself

The thoughts of that day haunt me and as someone who suffers from severe anxiety and agoraphobia, it all blew out of control for a long time. Then I get diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to my stint in hospital. A double whammy indeed. As I write this article I'm chuckling to myself about how I get diagnosed with different illnesses all in one go.

Pain and operations

I pride myself on how I get through things and face each challenge that comes along. Along with my diagnosis of COPD, I've now got osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and curvature of the spine due to the severity of my COPD and the number of steroids I have taken. My back is so painful so I'm very limited on my exercise right now. I'm waiting for an appointment to see if I can have a spinal block injection. Any operation is definitely not preferred as I've only got 20% lung function.


It's not the end of the world, it's just another hurdle I'm facing head-on. I think if I didn't have these hurdles my life would be pretty boring. I may sound a bit flippant or a bit like I don't care, but it isn't like that all. It's my way of coping. When I look back on all that I've been through, it's the only way I can get through these hurdles. Do I think it's fair? No, not really, but it's there and I will deal with it as things arise.

Stonger than I thought

What I have learned throughout the last four years is that I'm a lot stronger mentally than I thought. I'm strong enough to cope with what life throws at me. Yes, I do get bad days and sometimes they last a few days. Then I manage to push myself out of it by grabbing some dumbbells and pushing through the pain barrier to get me mentally stronger. Who said life would be easy? No one.

Each day is different. I very rarely make plans in advance to meet up with friends as I'm not sure how I will be feeling. Luckily they understand. If I go out into town, I usually phone a friend to see if they want to meet up. That way it's a surprise for them too.

Grab life with both hands

I can't believe it's been four years since my diagnosis and hospital stay. The date sticks in my head and I'm ok with it. I remember it better than my wedding day though obviously not for the same reasons. I got married on a Friday and on the following Monday I was rushed into hospital with my asthma and had to stay in for two weeks. So we didn't really get to celebrate our wedding. I did actually forget that bit until now. Anyway, grab life with both hands and live it well. I may have COPD but COPD does NOT have me. There is a life after a diagnosis.

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.

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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.

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