Weight, a Cold, and Spoons
Last updated: April 2020
Sadly my mother suffers COPD at an advanced age. As a result I am sure sometimes our genes are more responsible for our COPD than we realize. I had sarcoidosis when in my 20's. Later, when approaching 40 years of age, emphysema. My mother developed sarcoidosis after she retired, which went on to be emphysema later. She still, at the grand age of 86 years struggles on. But mother is fighting a much harder battle than me. While my mother's problem is being very underweight, and fighting to keep what little weight she has, I have problems getting rid of my fat.
Become a fidget
Weighing in at 226 pounds and six-foot tall I look at clothes I buy and see them as huge for my frame. Amazing how we feel so much smaller than we are. It is not that I eat large meals. I cannot do so as too full a belly would affect my breathing. It is not that I eat little and often either. But having a lower metabolism now I am older, and unable to go on walks as I once could, or do a lot of exercise, is helping to make it hard to lose, and at times pushes a little more weight on my girth.
The only good side is being heavier is better than too light, although being overweight can make it harder breathing when on my feet. So I need to do more exercise. But how? After some thought a light bulb moment hit me, a brain wave. 'Become a fidget', said I. Research has indicated if I can keep up being a fidget I could rid myself of more than 200 calories a day. Might not sound a lot but think. 1,400 calories lost a week. Now that is worth thinking about.
Remember when you were youngBe kind to yourself
I have just got over the cold from hell. Sorry ladies - us men are entitled to that definition as you know men suffer more than most when it comes to colds. Think cold as in 'man flu'. ;) If you have a severe full on head cold hit remember: a cold can be dangerous to us with COPD. We have to be very wary of secondary infections that can and sometimes do turn into a pneumonia.
Assuming you are able if a cold hits, be kind to yourself. Keep warm indoors. Sleep as often as you need. Keep an eye on your blood oxygen saturation levels. And if needed, see your medic to get antibiotics and steroids. You will be more breathless for a week or two afterwards, I am at the moment. But that too will improve. Never ignore as it is just not worth the risk. If at anytime you find it very hard to breathe, then it really is time to get to the hospital.
The spoon theory
Often I am out and about socializing or doing my volunteer work, and to others it will seem as though nothing is wrong with me. I don't need oxygen sitting drinking a coffee, typing as now, or sitting chatting with a friend. Only when I rise do I use the 'nose hose'. We truly do suffer an invisible illness. At times parking the car we have suspicious looks as we pull into a disabled parking spot.
It can be very frustrating when you are screaming on the inside, fighting to breathe as though through a straw. While others see you as well. It takes me three hours to get moving in the morning so I never have anything planned before 11am. But explain the reason to others, and often you will be met with a blank stare. How do you explain what you feel?
To hope I am leaving you with this wonderful explanation. This was written by a lady with Lupus, although this can apply to COPD equally. I am sure it will bring a tear to your eyes, it did me. Yes I really am a big softy. 'The spoon theory' can also be downloaded in PDF form. Click here to visit the URL.
Till I next write. Keep smiling as there is always someone worse than you. But most of all, breathe easy.
What stage was your COPD diagnosed as?