We're All Different

Isn't it strange how we are all so different? Not just in the way we look, but the ways in which COPD affects us. The different stages and also how COPD presents itself varies from person to person.

Don't compare

It is so easy for us to get wrapped up in trying to compare ourselves to others, wondering why they can do this and that and why we can't. No one knows what is going on in their body. Some of us look really well and you would think nothing was wrong by looking at them. Others use oxygen and/or a wheelchair or sticks.

Everyone is so different

Everyone is so different and reacts differently to illness. An example I would like to share is when I am home, I exercise using exercise pedals, dumbells (2 kilos and 3 kilos), and 1.25-kilo ankle weights. Usually, I can manage 45-60 minutes of activity, though a lot depends on how I wake up that morning. If I go out, I have to go in a wheelchair as I can't walk far at all without getting out of breath. Yet I can exercise well most of the time. That's a big difference for someone else who can happily walk around town shopping but then cannot do a workout.

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I think it's also strange to see how some people cope well with the heat of the summer while others struggle with it. The same goes for the winter when it's bitter cold and wet (that's when I start to hibernate in the warmth of my home). We're all made differently and our bodies react so differently to the seasons.

You're the living proof

Like I said before, we must remember to not compare ourselves to others as it can be frustrating when we start to think about all the things we can't do. We are who we are, we're not like the next person.

If you are lucky enough to do a pulmonary rehab program, you will learn so much about how your body works and which exercises are good for you. You will also learn that getting out of breath when exercising is good for you.

As the groups usually feature people with a mix of conditions, it is a great way to meet others who are in a similar spot as you. Sharing your story with others will help you and the others come to terms with your conditions. It's important to learn from both medical professionals and people like yourself with similar conditions.

Remember, as we are all unique, we must learn to listen to our bodies. Don't be afraid to stop and rest when you need to.

Keep looking ahead and remember how far you have come. Don't stop - just look and keep going ahead. It's not a race. We get there when we need to and the achievements are overwhelming. You started the day and you got through the day, and now you're stronger for the next day ahead. There is life after a diagnosis. You're the living proof.

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