A woman's reflection is shown in the glass over a dial that is tick tocking on a scale.

Losses and Gains With COPD

I have battled being underweight or overweight all my life, shuffling between too small or too big. I intensely focus on input and output, or what I should eat and what I shouldn’t eat. Walking was my go-to when I needed to burn calories, but overall, exercise always seemed to be harder for me, no matter the task. I would become breathless in no time, and I was mostly deemed exempt from any kind of exertion.

Being an adult

I was doing okay at managing my adult weight, felt good, and looked better than I had in a long time. My walking 3 miles a day regiment was working, I had a great job, a kind husband, and the kids were turning into adults. It was no longer just about being a mom but now I was an adult with interests that didn’t only involve the kids.

Puffers

Then the cough started. I was a cougher ever since I was born, and I knew smoking didn’t help, so for the most part I tried to ignore it. Then, came pneumonia and pleurisy. My doctor put me on puffers twice a day, along with prednisone and antibiotics. When I went to see him a week later, I had gained 10 pounds! I was too ashamed to talk about it. My doctor never said a word so neither did I.

Doing it all backwards

Gaining more weight made it harder to get around. The harder it got, the less I did. I was developing a problem with my balance and my steps became unsure. This meant less walking and more sitting. I planned and worked to make things as convenient as I could and eliminate as many steps as possible. Still, I continued to smoke.

Respiratory rehabilitation

Left to my own devices, I was pretty much doomed. In fact, the doctors told me that. It's funny how your body warns you of the things that you are too daft to understand about yourself. My heart and lungs were compromised and as I continued to neglect myself, my body was having none of it. I had a sudden cardiac arrest and I died on my kitchen floor. Thanks to my children and paramedics, I made it through. After a month of rest, I was enrolled in respiratory rehab, and it changed my life. I learned a new perspective on what living the good life felt like.

Exercise

I found out that most of the things that happened to me were real and I was actually in survival mode with COPD. I gained a better perspective and learned why I did the things I did. There I learned how to do things properly. Living a sedentary life was no longer allowed and it was okay to push myself now. Becoming more active, I started to participate in life.

Finally

Now as my COPD journey begins, I find myself, surprisingly, on the losing end again. There seems to be no explanation or reason for it, so now I work every day to make sure that what I consume has the fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are important to my well-being as I exercise to maintain optimal muscle mass.

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