a woman on her phone is very zen, and her oxygen tubes are flowing around her, morphing into orchid flowers

Taking My Life Back With COPD, Part 1

Editor's note: Taking My Life Back With COPD, Part 2 is the second installment in this series.

I have created chaos in my life. It’s overwhelming. It can be depressing and it interferes with my life. Yet, life is what caused chaos. Not life, but the events of life.

Recent life events

Facing up to the pain and heartache is what makes a person stronger. Here is a timeline of my recent big life events:

  • 2006 Diagnosis of asthma and allergies
  • 2006 Our angel grand baby was 29 days old when taken off of life support
  • 2008 COPD diagnosis
  • 2008 I decided that Spiriva was my wonder drug
  • 2009 My mother-in-law passed away
  • 2010 The family went to Arizona to celebrate my moms 80th birthday
  • 2011 My dad passed away
  • 2016 My granddaughter went missing and no one has heard from her since
  • 2018 My mom passed away

More big happenings

During this time, the following things also happened:

  • We welcomed six new grand babies and will welcome another in August 2020.
  • We celebrated with five weddings
  • We celebrated five graduations.
  • We gained two more grandchildren
  • Our total to date is seventeen grandchildren.
  • I found two biological sisters who I am very close to, as well as some of their families on the maternal side. I met paternal cousins. My mom, the one who raised me, actually encouraged me me to find my biological family because of all of my health issues.
  • July 23 is one of my granddaughter’s birthday. I quit smoking on that date in 2003.
  • March 2010, I created COPD Friends.
  • In 2014 I became part of Health Union and COPD.net
  • Over the years We added three shih tzus and a poochon.
  • August 2020, my husband and I celebrate 17 years of marriage.

Photo and video memories

Going through the photos was heartbreaking. I didn’t get a video done for my mom’s viewing. I didn’t get my nieces wedding video done. Time passed. I made a Shutterfly book for my niece’s baby daughter's first Christmas to make up for this. I always did videos for other birthdays, graduations, weddings, and even funerals. One year I made a Facebook video for my mom, so she could see the many things that a person would want to see.

I haven’t done the family calendar for the past two years either. Every New Years' Eve I used to do a Shutterfly book with events throughout the passing year. I need to go back to creating them. I’ve been dusting off photo albums and will get ready to scan many photos from the albums, frames, and loose photos. Copies of these will go to my brothers as well as my children.

What does this have to do with COPD?

Each of these things affects my breathing. Things like this can affect others' breathing as well. Joy and happiness can cause that, as can sorrow. Starting a Facebook site for COPD opened new avenues of support for others, as well as myself. I found that by helping others, I was helping myself.

Learning, growing, and friendships opened up so many things. Wonderful people reached out to help. Sure, there were kinks, but we got through them. Yet, how much better to be part of COPD than to reach out to others and to let them take my hand and know that they aren’t alone.

Remember to breathe

Through everything, it’s important to remember to breathe. Pace yourself physically, but allow yourself time to pace your mind as well. I find humor in some of the tough family things lately that many people go through. They can’t understand why I’m not stressed out. I enjoy saying that I’m not allowing anything to overwhelm myself. Upset and stress aren’t allowed in, but I am glad they called and I would like to hear why they did so. Do you know that I stayed calm, I listened and heard? I’ve been told “thank you, it was so much easier to talk to you. I felt like you really listened”. Another made a similar comment. Wow.

Learning to accept it

By learning to breathe and to not let the conversation overwhelm me, there was calm throughout my body. I so appreciate my husband, because he listens to my stresses, as do a few of my COPD online friends. My brothers and I are talking more often and able to share growing up and family things, healing things. Even the guilt of not being there to help with my mom as often as I feel I should have been. They both respond with “you physically couldn’t do it." I know that deep down and am learning to accept it. Mom even told me that.

My sisters ask about my health too. It was amazing to hear that my birth mother had the majority of my health issues, including COPD. My COPD is not genetic, however. The genetic form of COPD is Alpha-1 Deficiency. Everyone with a family history of COPD needs to be tested for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.