a journal, photos of shoes, an oxygen tank, and lungs, and a zoom chat

December 2020 Journal

Dear Journal,

Here we are at the end of another year. It has been a strange year for most, great sadness because of so many lives lost with Covid, and very isolating for all of us. I don’t find life much different because of social distancing. It has been part of my life for quite some time. It has been more isolating. I have had to give up many family events throughout the year. Wearing a mask has become normal attire when leaving the house.


Thank goodness for Zoom and other video chat programs. Until this year, I’m sure few of us knew of them. I certainly didn’t. It has become a lifeline to the outside world for me. Weekly chats with friends keep me sane. I thought it would be strange having a doctor’s visit this way, but I enjoyed not leaving the house. It can’t take the place of every visit, but having it available during bad weather or a quick check-up is such a convenience.

I was very excited to discover so many other activities through Zoom. My favorite wellness center started group meditations via Zoom. I have missed this place so much. No longer able to go in person because of incense burning and scented candles, now I can participate in some of the monthly events. January starts a new virtual book club meeting weekly through the senior center. I really hope many of these events continue to be virtual. I think there is a need for them, not just during this time of a pandemic, but for the future. It helps so many that are homebound feel less isolated.


The end of the year always brings a time for reflection. I have family members that were ill from Covid but recovered. I am so thankful for that. While it may have been a time of more isolation than usual, I am discovering new passions in my life. I have let go of hobbies that no longer keep me entertained. They were a habit, something I’ve done for years but the excitement was long gone. I wonder why we get into these routines and hesitate to let go of them? I have begun writing, not just about life with COPD, but fictional short stories. Writing is a lifelong dream. I turned sixty-six this year. I have more years behind me than in front of me. If I don’t live my dreams now, then when?

With so much loss of life due to Covid, this year has taught me that COPD cannot be the center of my life. It will obviously dictate many things in my life, but it needs to be in the background as much as possible. It has taken a long time, but now, I only have to spend about an hour per day managing my illness. Exercise and medications are the first priority of the day. There will always be bad days here and there or bad moments in a day. I accept them as they show up, try not to panic too much, and deal with them.

There are many activities I can no longer do, but there is so much I can do. A few dreams may be gone because of COPD, but there are many still attainable. The year 2020 will be one for the history books, including my own. I think we all have learned many life lessons. I pray the year 2021 and beyond will be kinder to all of us.

How has 2020 affected your life? Has your COPD improved or worsened because of it and why? Have you discovered any new hobbies or kept in contact with family via Zoom? I would love to hear your 2020 reflections.

Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Carol passed away in February of 2022. Carol's storytelling and advocacy will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on through her articles and in all the people she inspired.

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