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Lessons From A Mom with COPD.

Lessons From A Mom with COPD

Around Mother’s Day, my heart always feels a little empty. My mom was a woman who could fill a room with laughter and love. Even when she was confined to a wheelchair due to end stage COPD, her joyful attitude about life was infectious, drawing everyone to her. She lived with COPD for over 15 years and made the most of every single day. I learned a lot by watching her cope with the diagnosis from day one. I live by what I learned.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Every day brought a series of struggles as she coped with decreased breathing capacity. She decided early on that we would do our best to make something good out of every battle. She said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

You can do anything you set your mind to.

My mom was a lifelong smoker. I watched her try to quit many times. She used every tool she could find. Her determination paid off, and she was able to stop smoking. That inspired me to quit smoking too.

Listen to the doctor.

When her doctor prescribed medications, she took them on time. When she was told that pursed mouth breathing would help, she practiced every single day. She followed her medical provider’s instruction to the letter. I feel that is why she was able to live for so long and keep her FEV score high.

Everything is more fun with a friend.

I recall the day she invited me over to learn purse mouth breathing with her. She had gotten discouraged and felt like giving up on it. She told me that everything is always easier when you have someone to do it with you.

Life can be a party.

Mom tried to make everything more fun. If we were cleaning out her cabinets, it became a silly game of what to throw away. If we were filling out medical paperwork, she would make up fake answers just to help us laugh. Of course she wrote down the correct answers, but it was always fun to hear her silly ones.

It’s okay to ask for help.

Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. We are not meant to do everything by ourselves. By asking politely, we allow others an opportunity to serve in our lives. That is one lesson I am still working on.

Nature has an answer for everything.

After she quit driving, mom spent countless hours looking out the window. She observed the seasons and always reminded me that life moves in seasons. If I were overtired from being too busy, she would invite me to pretend it was winter and slow down.

Rise to the Occasion.

Many times she was not sure what to expect. She always kept an open mind and did not let COPD keep her from doing what she wanted to do. Mom outlived the doctor’s expectations in every area. She gave wonderful lessons to her friends and family in the years following her diagnosis. I’m grateful to pass them on to my children and grandchildren.

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.


  • Janet Plank moderator
    1 year ago

    Mark, thank you for sharing you. It can be difficult to be vulnerable and that’s what happens when we (or was it just me) admits that we can’t do all that we used to.

    Karen, your story about her mom is so touching. She sounds like she was beautiful inside and out. I needed this too!

    Mark again, thank you for being part of the community here, and I hope that you continue to share.

    Janet (site moderator)

  • usnretired
    1 year ago

    Thank you so much for that post. I needed it badly today . I finally came out of denial today and realized I’ll never be able to do the things I thought I’d always be able to do. I came home in tears and told my wife of 43 yrs. I can’t do this lawn business any more. I just cant breath. I keep thinking I’m getting better but I’m not. I haven’t lost hope. This article made me feel better. Thank you !!! I hope I can be like your Mom. I don’t want to be a negative person.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi again, usnretired (Mark). I’m happy to have been able to provide you with a reply and support. That’s one of the many reasons we are here. Warmly, Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi again usnretired – from your recent posts, you certainly don’t seem like a ‘negative’ person to me. It’s a big step facing your condition and admitting to what you can and cannot do and moving forward. By not losing hope, you’ll be able to move forward in a positive manner and deal with what’s in front of you the best you can. Keep up the good work! Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  • usnretired
    1 year ago

    Thanks Leon. I’m tired tonight but wanted to tell you thanks.


  • Karen Hoyt author
    1 year ago

    You’re welcome and thank you for stopping by. I was so happy to see the art work with the lemonade. It’s a perfect way to show, that even though some of the realities of life are bitter, we can always look for a way to sweeten it up.

    Congratulations on talking with your wife. I hope that together you can find the solutions you need.

    You sound like a person who can overcome the negative thinking!

  • usnretired
    1 year ago

    Thank you Karen. You should be a writer. Your words are refreshing and seem to make a person feel positive. Words are powerful.


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