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Losing My Comfortable Livelihood

I was a normal working person, in the last years of my career. At age 60, I hadn’t really begun the game of looking ahead toward retirement or losing my livelihood. That was something for the distant future but right now, I was comfortable and loving my job.

I thought I would bounce back.

Then I had a sudden cardiac event. I was in a coma for 4 days and in hospital for a total of 30 days, then released for another 3 months of Respiratory Rehab. I had all intentions of going back to work. I truly thought that I would bounce back and be on my feet in no time.

I had a short lived return to work, and another attack that landed me back in the hospital for another month. I finally had an ICD implanted and was put on Beta Blockers.

Upon returning a second time, I was determined to make it work and anticipated my life getting back to normal.

My strength was not returning like I thought it would…

It soon became apparent that I was not bouncing back and my strength was not returning like I thought it would. I willed my body to keep up with my thoughts and my plans for a future that would allow me to provide for myself in a career that I had waited years for.

I began to realize that each day I went to work was costing me strength and leaving me frustrated. Every day wasn’t bad but most days were not great. I felt that I was leaving a piece of myself at home every day I worked and I sure didn’t feel like I was working to my potential.

When my symptoms flared it became debilitating and trying to explain that I was sick but not stupid became a daily task. That is when I knew it was all coming to an end.

As it became apparent that my situation was not ideal, and I began adding up the costs of my illness, anxiety began to set in, making a bad situation even worse. I had to scramble quickly because I had no pension plan; my plan was to work till I died at my desk. It just happened much earlier in my life than I imagined it would.

My situation seemed dim, my employer was not giving me any support and it appeared that no one was coming to save me. I had to deal with what I had the best I could and try to keep sane.

I made a decision.

As I walked away from the working world, I made a decision to keep the bad thoughts at bay. I meditated, practiced mindfulness and exercised every day. I kept my mind on positivity and I made it my mission to align myself with people that could actually help me.

I fight every day to keep my mental health intact, to stay positive and never let my mind wonder to place of despair. This helps to keep my breathing on an even level so that I have fewer flares and episodes of shortness of breath.

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.


  • Sharona2
    7 months ago

    I too had to stop working and I’m now 64 and my gp said he doesn’t do stages so I don’t know what stage of copd I’m in but I cough up a lot of phlegm especially in the mornings and my strength and energy have gone. It wears me out to take a shower and I don’t ever feel like doing anything. I know I should exercise but I’m just too depressed to even try and for some reason I can’t take antidepressants as they make me crazy. My breathing level is usually at 90 when I go to my doctor and the nurse will tell me to take deep breaths until it comes up to 93 and I’m not on anything for the copd yet. I’m just so tired. I wake up tired. I’m always tired. I think about death a lot, not in a suicidal way though. Copd is tough and I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I can’t do much in the way of housecleaning but I do keep the dishes washed and the easy stuff. To top it off, I also have polycystic kidney disease which also makes me tired and weak so I’ve got two terrible chronic diseases for which there is no cure.

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    7 months ago

    Hi Sharona2,
    I am saddened to hear that you have not been offered Respiratory Rehab.
    Have a frank talk with your doctor about this option. At rehab they can teach you in a gentle way to get exercise back in your life. You are far too young not to do it.
    Best of luck,
    Barbara moore (site moderator)

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