I've Never Touched a Cigarette

It is true that COPD is mainly a 'smokers problem' or pollution and even genetics. I have never touched a cigarette in my life, my Dad smoked but never in the house so it was never a second hand smoke problem.

My diagnosis journey

Unfortunately for me, I have had tuberculosis twice, apparently at the age of 2. I was never diagnosed but the lung scarring seen years later proved that my body had healed itself and damaged my lungs in the process. I got through life fine without knowing, though looking back, I know I pushed myself hard just to be able to match everyone else's energy levels around me.

The next round was when I was 38 and too busy working to recognize the symptoms, just ignore it.... it will go away. I received the necessary treatment but the damage was done and added to the scarring. I was having to go to hospital often with lung infections that were very difficult to get rid of so a year later I had a lobectomy (left top side).

It is a lot better now but with one lung gone and the other still damaged and diagnosed with COPD, moving on and getting exercise and air into my body is not easy.

How I keep going

I do, however, push myself as best I can to keep moving. It is NOT easy, sitting down is way easier. But I find small things to keep me going:

- Park the car furthest from an entrance, take the walk
- Walk when you can, but at your own speed, even it it takes longer or you are slowing people down
- Stop and take a breather when you need one, don't push yourself too hard
- Have a laugh at yourself when you are out of breathe, it is what it is, smile that you are still standing
- Carry those bags up the stairs, you are not useless, just take it slowly
- Lift things when you can, otherwise you will lose all muscle function, it is horrible to feel weak
- Understand that this can bring you down emotionally, but again.....you are still standing

We need to look after ourself and be kind to ourselves and the people around us who care and look after us. Don't be a victim, rise above the emotional pain, frustration and fear, inhale (yes, as best you can!) the roses around us.

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