The Shiny Side Up
Just like working through the different stages after any traumatic event in life, how we deal with a COPD diagnosis is different for everyone. Going on 7 years living with COPD has me fighting to stay in the sunshine of acceptance and do my best to fight off the clouds of depression.
Positivity and balance
I would have described myself as a "cup half full" kind of guy most of my life and full of confidence; looking for the positives in almost every situation, sometimes just through my rose-colored glasses. Any big decision in front of me would be put through my pros vs. cons list. I found that helped to give me balance and ground me.
Feeling that sunshine
Now dealing with COPD, I found myself on the other side looking for the positives, wanting to feel that 'sunshine' again. A few years ago I was having a real bad patch where I was spiraling down and couldn't seem to pull myself out of it. My doctor helped with some mild medications to take the edge off, but I knew that was just covering my issues like a wet bandaid.
A suggested friend
Then one day while scrolling on Facebook, I noticed a suggested friend that had "Lung Warrior" under his picture. So I clicked on his profile to see what his story was behind that big smiling face. Turns out "Wally" was a Cystic Fibrosis survivor who a few years ago received a double lung transplant. Such a small world we live in sometimes, as he lived in the town next to mine.
Connecting over shared challenges
We connected over messenger and found that although our illnesses are different, a lot of the same challenges apply. We spoke on the phone and I mentioned that I was hopeful to receive a transplant someday as he had. Between Wally and his daughter, they documented the entire process on Facebook. He encouraged me to scroll back through his feed and follow his story.
The best tip ever
That night I mentioned how difficult it was for me as I never sat still from the day I could walk until I was diagnosed. That's when he gave me the best tip ever! "Think of it this way Jeff, this is the best time ever while you wait," he said. He pointed out that I now had more time to:
- Read all those books I always wanted to
- Binge-watch TV shows on Netflix
- Catch up with old friends over the internet
- Start a new hobby like painting or puzzles
- Spend time handwriting letters to family and friends
Hope and positivity
The "best tip ever" wasn't all those things he mentioned. His wife had left him at diagnosis because she did not want to babysit him. His health was plummeting every week from Cystic Fibrosis, all while waiting on a double lung transplant list, and having moved into his daughter's house. It was the hope and positivity on his face and in his voice! He reminded me to always look at the upside and then you will keep "The Shiny Side Up".
Breathe free, my friends.
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