Encouraging, Uplifting, and Promising
I am so tired of hearing the downside of COPD, so I thought I would change it around a bit and write about the good side of COPD. We all know that there is no cure for COPD and that exercise and diet management are the keys to living with COPD. This story is about the good things that came to me because of my COPD.
I don’t rise to an alarm clock and never will again. As a college instructor, I was in front of a class and on my feet from 8 am until 5 pm every day. I genuinely loved my job and had no intention of ever throwing in the towel, even after I was diagnosed. But fate has a way of showing you a different road to walk.
When the doctor told me that I could no longer do my job, I cried like a baby for days. My brain told me I was no longer useful, and I had nothing else to give. It took a bit of orientation for me to realize that I had an entirely new life waiting for me.
I found peace through gratitude. Being grateful is a gift from the universe and the key to my sanity. At first, it was daunting to find things to be grateful for but now I find that the more items I can put on my gratitude list the better I feel. I challenge myself to overcome the burden so I then can view the burden as a gift. I no longer look at stairs as a burden but a challenge to conquer and a great exercise routine for free.
Spending my time
I love just looking at the new snow, a light rain, or a gaggle of birds at the feeder. I am the new CEO of my health and if I feel like wasting an afternoon watching the birds, so be it. It’s no longer a waste of time but a mindfulness meditation. I now realize the value of self-care and perform it unselfishly and without guilt.
I can go anywhere I want to at any time of the day. My days are now my own, to do with as I please. I work most days because I like to work, and it gives me pleasure to see the fruits of my labor. That means that if I want to take a day off and mind my grandson, or to take off shopping or just go sit in a park (covid aside), I am free to do it.
No more spending money on fashionable clothing and getting gussied up, putting on makeup, and squeezing my feet into painful shoes while running out the door at the crack of dawn. The clothes I purchase now brag of elastic waistlines, over the head shirts, and pull-on running shoes. I also have lots of pajama combinations that suit me most days. An easy peasy way to get dressed and undressed.
Upon diagnosis, I joined a few amazing groups. COPD.net, We Strive to Breathe Easy, and Exercise to Healthy Living were among the first. I have met and spoke to many amazing people who suffer from COPD and most of them are braver than you can imagine. I love to read about your triumphs and wins because it spurs me to do more.
What are some of the good things that happened to you because you have COPD?
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?