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Life Is Getting in the Way of Living (Part 3)

Editor's note: This is part 3 of a series. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2!

Is that all for this series? Sadly, no. My sister-in-law has stage 4 cancer. She is stage 4 and basically in remission and still on chemo.

Heartbreaks and blessings

It’s heartbreaking because she isn't feeling like she's better. A few weeks ago, my granddaughter and I got to see her and my brother. We had a very good bonding time. I’m hoping to go back to my hometown to see her again soon.

She is so special and wonderful to me. Ten years ago, when my dad went into hospice at his home, my sister-in-law took shifts caring for him with me. What a blessing to be able to care for him during his final days.

When in my hometown a couple of weeks ago, I saw other family members. A daughter of mine lives there. Another daughter, a son-in-law, 2 grandsons, and a granddaughter came to move my grandson to an apartment there. He found a job there and is also in the Army National Guard.

My son-in-law and his wife separated and are getting divorced. They have two children. I talked to each of them and had some good conversations during this time.

There for them

So many COPD friends and their families are such a part of my life. I feel their struggles, hardships, and pain. My heart is with each and every one of them. Some I consider very good friends and even family.

It can be heartbreaking. Knowing I can't do anything to help the pain, lack of sleep, difficulty breathing, and all that they go through can make me feel empty, like I'm letting them down. But it isn't true. Often, we develop a friendship or a bond.

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I know that I'm there for them. That I can be there online, as well as pray for them. So many ask for prayer, I can do that. Sending hugs across the miles can brighten a person's day, as can all of the cute images and things that let them know they aren't alone.

Did you get your hug? If not, grab hold of this one! I'm also here for family members - so often they feel that they are left on the sidelines. They need support too.

Affecting everyone

COPD is definitely a family disease. It affects everyone. It can be so hard to lose a COPD friend. Does it make me worry about my health worsening? No. Sometimes I struggle to find the words - that's called being human. Yet, I can always share a conversation and hugs across the miles.

This old body of mine struggles much of the time. The pain, shortness of breath, and everything else can be so hard to cope with. Sitting in this office chair or my other chairs causes intense pain in my upper and lower back, shoulders, and neck. I know when I need to go lay down ‘now'. Pain is definitely my biggest obstacle, allergies next. Then the breathing. After a nap I usually some relief and function much better.

Do you get winded walking? Sometimes, I get winded just going from one room to another, or up the stairs; or when other health issues rear their ugly heads, I do the best I can. Yes, I am on medication for those things, as well as an anti-depressant because of my fibro. I do get asked that question a lot, "Are you on an antidepressant"?

Taking care of me

My husband likes to surprise me. He might bring me an Arby’s sandwich, a suggestion for a ride, a treat for the fur babies, a back rub, or even a little dance in the kitchen. He helps or actually does most, or all of the laundry, and so many other things. A doctor asked if I’m able to do all things by myself. My husband, who also has health issues replied “we take care of each other”. That is love!

My kids and grandkids call to say hi and that they are thinking of me. Some call with a problem, because they know that I’m there for them. They also know that it’s better to keep me in the know before things get overwhelming or bad. It’s important that they know that I am here for them 24/7.

Life does get in the way of living. By living, I’m talking about the good things, the things that bring joy to life, and even some unpleasant things that are part of the reality of life.

Relation to COPD

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with COPD. Everything that happens in your life can affect your COPD. These can trigger a positive reaction and, they can also trigger an exacerbation.

Some definitely can take my breath away, in a good way or in a negative way. Anger, fear, sadness, joy, reality, tenderness, sex, relaxation, sorrow, happiness, anxiety, fear, depression, and even excitement of receiving an amazing gift can trigger a reaction for so many. As can so many other feelings and experiences.

I need to ask myself, is my COPD taking my breath away or could it be asthma? Regardless, the important thing is to remember to breathe. Is it time for me to neb? If so, I can do that. If not, I have my Pro-Air inhaler. Also, do the pursed-lip breathing, which can help to control breathing, as well as my body's reaction to whatever triggered this physical response


It was mentioned to avoid animal dander. I do have a Shih Tzu and my Poochon. Sixteen years ago, before I got Gizmo, my asthma/allergist told me that it was okay to get a non-shedding dog. It's important to realize that even though they are called hypoallergenic, they still might be able to trigger a reaction. I struggle to be around my nephew's bulldog and some other breeds that I have encountered.

I make sure to give my dogs spa days frequently. Badger, my Shih Tzu, loves the attention - the poodle not so much. She tolerates it fairly well, then gives me the cold shoulder until she gets a perfect treat, of something she might want at that time. She can be so picky. They both can actually. Finally, I just tell them to show me. They know where the good things come from.

Talk to your doctor about what type and breed you are wanting to get. Test them, spend time with them, try them before getting one. The same with cats.

It’s crazy how some things that trigger a reaction, might have been okay not too long ago. This has to do with allergies as well. My doctors have said that they think that my allergies trigger my COPD.

One thing I know

The one thing that I know above all: I can’t be there or help anyone else until I take care of myself! The same goes for you. Remember, you could have lots of living to do. Please share your experiences and wish you a breathe-easy day/night!

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

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