It’s early October, and we’re well into the last quarter of the year. (Where has this year gone?!) Lots of changes are happening around us; you can see it in the trees and feel it in the temperature, but as individuals with COPD, we’re used to dealing with change.
After being diagnosed with COPD, our routines are rearranged, our habits are improved, and our outlook in life also changes. The more we learn about our diagnosis, the more conscious we are of our health and surroundings.
Some of us rearrange our furniture for better access around our homes, or are more conscious of the dust that collects on it. Or when it comes to eating out, we think a little differently about what we’re going to order.
Whatever it is, being diagnosed with COPD has changed our lives. Some of us may feel as if a diagnosis just brought bad news, but just by knowing we have more power to do what’s better for us, we can help improve our quality of life.
There is a quality of life after diagnosis, and it’s up to us to make it improve. In our hands, we have the ability to make choices.
We can choose to eat healthier meals, or go the extra mile at pulmonary rehab. We can choose to take our medications regularly, and make every doctors visits.
And as individuals with COPD, we also understand that not everything is in our control. Obstacles get in the way, like financial difficulties, but we are a resilient community. We have learned to be stronger, do the best with what we have, and continue moving forward.
A few weeks ago, I saw a post going around that said something like: It’s ok when the only thing you do today is breathe.
Breathing today means we haven’t given up. To us, breathing is what matters. And every day we struggle, we continue to fight, to move forward, and make progress.
I say, bring on the changes.
John W. Walsh is the co-founder and president of the COPD Foundation, co-founder of the Alpha-1 Foundation (a research organization) and co-founder of AlphaNet, Inc. (a unique not-for-profit disease management services company run by and for patients).