The Importance of Maintaining Strong Relationships with COPD
You likely have been told that things that are important for healthy living with COPD: exercise, nutrition, medication, and seeing your doctor. Has anyone told you that it’s important to have a support system? Do you have one, either in person or online?
The fear after diagnosis
Hearing that you have COPD can be a big and scary diagnosis, whether Stage 1 or Stage 4. You get your diagnosis from your doctor. What do you do with it? Do you mull things over continuously in your mind, trying to remember over and over what the doctor said? Are you remembering how to take a medication if the nurse showed you how a dispenser works?
Questions, questions. Are you wondering why so many questions? This is often how I sort things through my mind unless I can run them by my husband. He knows what I go through and what my doctor has to say, so he is supportive. After my husband, my dogs get to hear not only my diagnosis but what I’m thinking about it all. I could talk to them for an unlimited amount of time and they would keep listening. I might have to bribe them with a treat periodically so that I can keep their attention.
My husband doesn’t know what I go through physically. Neither do my pups and I tell them everything! Actually, my family doesn’t either. It’s so important to have someone to talk with, someone that’s supportive, that understands.
Things to consider
A chronic illness is an illness that lasts for a long time. COPD is a chronic illness. Often these can’t be cured. However, with proper care, a person can possibly slow the progression of their disease. Here are some things to consider regarding the communication of your illness to others:
- Does your family understand your COPD?
- How about your friends?
- Do you have a support system elsewhere? Online maybe?
- Are there people that you trust?
It’s so important to have strong relationships with others, people that understand what you are going through. Someone who understands your needs. Possibly someone who is going through similar experiences with their own COPD or lung illness.
Who can you talk to?
Someone who you can talk to about your shortness of breath, who you can talk with about your doctor's appointment, or even who you can talk to about your family that may or may not understand. There are so many other things that you might be able to think of.
It’s important to remember that you are unique in your own disease. You both may have COPD, yet you have different medical histories, are on different medications, or are maybe coping with different diseases. Even so, you can support each other.
You both may understand what it’s like to struggle to have COPD, to breathe, or even what it’s like going into a store where there are candles burning or even heavy colognes. Even going through the store aisle where they stock laundry soap and cleaning products.
I hope that you have a breathe-easy day/night.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?