a person jumping through a window after a door closes.

An Action Plan Is Hope for the Future

I came across this quote the other day by Ady Barkan, a health care activist talking about his battle with ALS. “Hope is not a state of mind. It is a state of action.” I thought about my own journey with COPD and how true this statement was for me.

Going from hopelessness to hope

Hope for the future began with a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Improvement in my breathing was noticeable within a few sessions.

It took some time to find the right fit for support groups. Finding a group of positive people was very important to me. These were also avenues that provided a base for educating myself about this disease.

As time went by, my action plan for the future changed. I was actually making plans.

The feelings of despair became an emotion of the past. I am not saying I do not have bad days. I do, and I'm sure I always will. It is how I handled them that changed.

At first, I would get very depressed when I hit those days of breathlessness. As I became more active in my COPD management, I learned how to deal with them and plan for them.

Accepting your past

There is no sense berating ourselves for any mistakes of the past. If COPD was caused by smoking, let it go.

It was part of the times, the cool thing to do, and very acceptable. I had many "if I had only" conversations with myself for a long time.

They don’t serve a purpose except to stop us from moving forward.

Accepting that my future included COPD took me a long time, longer than I hope it takes you. Acceptance and healing go hand in hand.

Even though COPD is a chronic illness, there is still healing to be done. Hopelessness brings about a loss of faith and a lack of gratitude.

Discovering these again was, and still is, a very therapeutic part of the healing journey.

Set a goal to move forward

If you have that same hopeless feeling I did, please realize that life can be better. Make a plan for yourself. Read the articles and reach out in the forums for support.

It starts with baby steps, and plan on hard work and having a great deal of determination.

Begin with a goal. Talk to your doctor about exercise and what will be right for you.

I know everyone gets tired of hearing about exercise. It isn't fun and challenging to even think about when already short of breath. But it does work.

Thirty minutes out of our days to breathe better and have a life is a small price to pay. When I don’t want to exercise, I remember those days of misery and gloom and the shortness of breath after just a few steps. Then I get back into my routine.

COPD is a chronic illness and not easy to live with. Having a plan of action to manage it makes it less difficult.

There will be changes to the plan as time goes by. There will be days of just being tired of dealing with it. Expect them. Have a pity party, then get back to life.

Talking about how you are feeling

How are you feeling? Do you feel hopeful for the future?

Do you have a plan of action? How can we help? Let’s have a conversation!

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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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net 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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