Ask the Advocates: Thankful for Our Community
Why are you thankful for our community?
As a caregiver for my mom, my heart is full of gratitude for the COPD.net community. Every time I see people encouraging one another, I'm reminded of how people who don't meet in person can develop dedicated friendships like no other. My mom's life was filled with doubt, uncertainty, and regret after her diagnosis of COPD. That soon changed. After finding an online community, she loved getting her morning coffee and logging in to see what was happening. Throughout the day, her online friends were always there when she experienced loneliness or fear. When a symptom or a medication changed, instead of listening to her anxious thoughts, she would find solace and comfort in the form of words posted by like-minded people. She cared deeply about her friends and took time, thought, and prayer when responding to their concerns. When she had good news, she loved logging in to share that too.
At COPD.net, there are no dumb questions, and every concern is received with respect. The responses come from trusted friends, medical team leads, and moderators. It's like a family or a club. There are always people who have an experience to share or a word of comfort. In a world where media can bring you down, there is a gracious oasis where everyone is welcome. The group here at COPD.net have taken community friendships, articles, and moderation to the highest level. I'm so thankful that everyone with COPD has a place where they will never have to walk their journey alone.
I began my career as a respiratory therapy professional in the early 1970s. So many of my patients were diagnosed with COPD, and I was able to provide treatment for all of them. I got to know the patients and, in some cases, their entire families. Patients generally improved under my care and were discharged. It was a gratifying and rewarding profession to be in.
Serendipitously, in 2015, I was recruited to the COPD.net online community within the Health Union (HU) organization. Interestingly enough, my daughter, who was already with HU, did the recruitment. I was fortunate to be one of the first moderators in the COPD.net community. I was thrilled! Having worked in every aspect of respiratory care (acute care, long-term care, home care, academia, publishing, consultation), I know how exciting this was - working within the industry, interacting with, and providing support for, our online community members! For me, this was a very natural and logical progression to yet another setting in which to help patients with this disease.
I have held this role for over seven years now, and I love everything about it! It is the community members who make all this so worthwhile and rewarding. There are times and interactions in which the individual benefits from my care by providing technical and clinical suggestions. It can all be very subtle - after all, we do not provide medical advice; however, my knowledge and experience as a therapist can help someone online manage this disease in their daily lives. That is truly gratifying! The collegiality of working with peers, clinicians, and other team members provides an emotional reward that cannot be quantified or even explained! I am indeed fortunate to be a part of this community!
I am very thankful to be a member of our COPD.net community. I am a respiratory therapist who lives in a small-town community in Michigan. My greatest joy is educating people with COPD about their disease and helping them learn how to cope with it. It's neat that this community allows a small-town therapist like myself to connect with people living with this disease from all over the world. This community enables people like you to communicate with COPD experts like myself. I understand that COPD can often be an isolating and lonely disease. Getting support and empathy from those who do not live with COPD can be challenging. So more importantly, this community allows people living with COPD, even those from small-town communities such as mine, to connect with others living with it from anywhere in the world. It is a place for all of us to come together to offer support and empathy and to educate one another. For this, I am thankful.
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