I want the Community to speak of their EXperience with COPD Awareness!
Here's my story:
On March 14, 2010 I went to the Hospital with a temperature of 102! My teeth were clacking in my head. I radiated heat off my feverish body for yards. I was literally delerious and then I was given the news, "Your lungs are inflated." What do you mean, my lungs are inflated? How can that be and why? "You have Emphysema." That's not possible! I hardly smoke at all! "Emphysema is chronic, progressive and incurable." Whoa, hold on here! I haven't smoked that much!"If you don't quit smoking now you will get a lot worse very quickly."YIKES! I guess my smoking days are over! Smoking just isn't an option for me anymore!
What I didn't know was way more than what I did know about Emphysema and COPD!!! Oh, I'd seen the pictures of the happy retired folks puttering around in their gardens or playing with their grandkids because they were smart enough to take Advair or Spiriva! That's about it! My Grandma who lived in another State died of Emphysema when she was in her nineties but we all have to die of something, don't we? Eventually! But heck, I was 52 and had never really been sick much at all my entire adult life! I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and never thought anything of it - hard physical labor, not a desk job!
Here are some facts that I have since learned about COPD: it is an auto-immune illness. it doesn't care if you are 20 or 80 years old! It doesn't care if you smoke 2 or 3 sickerettes a day or 2 or 3 packs! Just one sickerette will trigger your body's defense mechanism and there you have it! My friend JoJo from New York calls that one sickerette the killerette!
About 15-20% of all smokers and EXers will be diagnosed with COPD and half of the folks who have COPD don't even know it! Meanwhile the damage that they are doing to their lungs can NEVER be repaired! Your body creates all kinds of mucus in your lungs and bronchials that is a perfect breeding ground for any kind of bacteria or virus you cross paths with like pneumonia! Every time you get a lung infection a bit more irreparable damage will have been done and your condition deteriorates.
Because your lungs don't work so well you can inhale fairly well, but you can't exhale so well at all. If you want to EXperience this feeling take a breath in and without exhaling take another breath and another. Did you feel the panic? What people exhale is Carbon Dioxide - you know, poison! That CO2 stays in your system and makes your whole body in a constant state of being poisoned! Because your body wants Oxygen and not CO2 your heart overworks itself trying to get enough Oxygen to where it's needed. Eventually, the heart deforms itself from working overtime! Then you have Congestive Heart Failure!
Don't forget, you're still getting those lung infections from time to time! The toxins make your limbs feel like wet spaghetti so that such things as getting dressed or washing dishes become monumental tasks! When you cross a room you huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf! And know you can't even blow out a candle - let alone blow down a house! This is COPD!
So I joined BecomeanEX that very day and 6 days later, March 20, 2010, had my last smoke ever. Ever since then, I have used my illness as an opportunity to educate myself and also to educate others about COPD. If you enter COPD in the search window you will find 3160 entries. When you add Thomas to that you get 1820 entries. I feel like I'm making a difference! I often wonder if I'm "preaching to the choir" when my intention is to outreach not just to those who have been diagnosed with COPD but to those who may have copd and not know it and to help the rest of you know how to act and what to say around COPDers. Since up to 20% of all smokers has COPD this is a great population to raise awareness.
I'm asking anybody who wants to join in to please Blog sometime today about their COPD Awareness.
Here are some questions to help you get started:
How did you learn about COPD?
What are your feelings about possibly having COPD?
Have you taken the Spirometry Test? If not, what would motivate you to get tested? If you have taken the Test, What were your reasons?
What was it like to take the test?
How did you feel about learning that you do/don't have COPD?
How, if at all, has your perspective on COPDers changed?
If you are a COPDer, how has your lifestyle changed since diagnosis?
Anything along those lines!
Thank You for caring!