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Don’t Wait to Make Lifestyle Changes

I don’t think I’ve ever told my story here. I think I commented once, years ago. In as much as my heart aches for those in advanced stages, my goal is to bring hope and motivation to all of us.

Developing COPD and diagnosis

I forget how this came about but, in my early 40’s my General Practitioner told me I was developing COPD. She prescribed Spiriva and Smoking Cessation help. I wasn’t ready. I loved my cigarettes. The only thing I noticed was being out of breath a bit after jogging up stairs. I thought I was just out of shape. Classic!

I was finally diagnosed 6 maybe 7 years ago when I simply could not breathe. The ER treated me and recommended a Pulmonary Dr. I was shocked! I was 52/53 years old and not overweight. I was active with work and life. Walked my dog 2/3 times a day. The Pulmonary Dr. told me that I would probably be on Oxygen Therapy with in 10 years. Keep taking your Spiriva and here’s your Symbicort. Bye! I thought I was dying.

Lifestyle changes I made to help with my COPD

I quit smoking that day. Cold turkey! Please don’t do this! What was I thinking!? There were other life issues going on and I sunk deep into depression. I got some help. It took some months but was better, thought clearer and I was smoke free. I sought groups such as and learned as much as I could. Every six months for about 6 years this Doctor checked my heart and breath sounds, asked I was still smoking, told me to take my medication and sent me on my way. That’s it!

I started doing weight training. First, to get in shape for my daughter’s wedding. Then realized I was feeling so much better. I sought a new doctor 2 years ago. After all the tests again, he diagnosed me with mild to moderate Emphysema and explained how my weight training, not smoking and taking my medications as prescribed has help me. And he didn’t need to see me in six months. Next year!

I saw him 1 week ago. After all the tests again, there has been no change in any of my tests compared to the year before. What!? He asked me which medication seemed to help me more and take that one only. I still use my rescue inhaler before working out (just 2 days per week) but so far, so good. Essentially, my lifestyle changes has slowed down the progression of this disease substantially. I’m told that if I keep it up, I most probably won’t ever be on oxygen. Fingers crossed!

Don’t wait to make these changes!

Please, if you’ve been diagnosed early enough take your medication as prescribed, eat reasonably well ( I love food and a drink or 2 LOL ) and exercise! I can’t image how this won’t help even in later stages! Peace & Love

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.


  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 months ago

    DawnE thank you for writing such an inspirational article. You have proven that the progression of COPD has slowed, what a wonderful message to share.

  • sardonicus
    2 months ago

    DawnE: I forgot to mention the fatigue I suffer from. Sometimes I cant help going to sleep for about 2 hours around 12 or 1 in the afternoon. I will sometimes drink very strong coffee in the afternoon, a drink I despise but it does sometimes help me to stay awake. Of course all 3 conditions I mention cause fatigue, so its a wonder I can get out of bed at all….sardonicus

  • sardonicus
    2 months ago

    DEAR DawnE: I found your story very interesting. I was diagnosed last Nov. with emphysema. I was already in the moderate stage. I was given anora ellipta and told to quit smoking. That has not happened yet, but the last time I went to the lung specialist my lung capacity had gone up a little bit. not much but it was better than going down. I too was told to come back in 6 months. I told him I sprint down a long hallway very fast ending up in a run. The doctor was quite pleased about this and told me to keep it up. I do all of my own shopping sometimes carrying heavy bags 2 or 3 blocks. I am never winded after this, which of course makes me feel good. When I do get winded it is usually when I am doing nothing very strenuous and I get scared. But the thing is I have been suffering from clinical depression and anxiety disorder since 2014 and have recently been diagnosed with anemia. Anxiety, anemia and copd can all cause difficulty breathing so I never know who the culprit is. I really hate taking iron pills. Sometimes I get very bloated which is another side effect of emphysema and I don’t think the iron pills do anything to ease this. I have known for years that stomach gas can make you short of breath. Once when I was changing the sheets on my bed I was getting very winded and then I belched, like magic my breathing became normal. There is nothing you can take for this, which baffles me. Today it is really bad. I feel like I swallowed a basketball. Of course the depression makes all of this worse. Your story really gave me a lift and I am so happy for you. So many of the stories I read makes me sad and my heart goes out to these poor people. To say I was inspired by your story would be an understatement. I am going to work harder at slowing this rotten illness. Thank you…..sardonicus

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi DawnE – welcome back and thanks for sharing your story with the community.
    Your experience, and meaningful life style changes, seem to have gone a long way towards actually slowing the progression of this disease for you. That is, quite simply, outstanding! By tackling this ‘head on’, finding yourself a new, understanding, knowledgeable, and compassionate physician, you have been able to secure the proverbial ‘new lease on life’!

    I hope others in the community read what you’ve shared and be inspired for themselves. We appreciate your candor, DawnE, and are pleased to have you back on our website. Wishing you well,
    Leon (site moderator)

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