Saturday, June 9, 2007

Living with COPD

The following article was written by my dear friend and mentor, Cecil Montgomery.
Cecil is an invaluable member of the COPD community. His knowledge of the disease is extensive and impressive - he combines that knowledge with an upbeat, common sense approach to living a life that includes COPD.

When you develop COPD it takes on a life of its own within your body.
At this point in time it is your option to accept these changes and adapt to them. This is necessary so that you may get on with your life and maintain as much quality and quantity as possible.
However, if you refuse to adapt to the illness you will not win.
It is a chronic disease and you will not change that fact by denial or ignoring it. There are things that are required to cohabitate with this illness within your mind and body. Below are several major points in sequence.

1. Accept the diagnosis and establish a will to survive. Convince yourself that it is a change in lifestyle, not a death sentence.

2. Educate yourself on the illness and what you have to do as an individual to adapt.

3. Seek support from your family, friends and others with this illness that are surviving like yourself. Acknowledge from the start that you will lose friends and even family members.They don't know what you are going through and don't want to accept the new you. It makes them face their own mortality. Don't be hurt or offended when they drop out of your circle.

4. Develop the will to exercise in order to stabilize your oxygen levels and develop endurance and stamina. All exercise programs should be adapted to the individual and discussed with your medical support.

5. Find a medical support team that is willing to work with you, not for or against you. It has to be a joint partnership with give and take to work. If your doctors don't want to discuss your ideas then you have the option to find ones that will, in most cases. Remember, you pay their salary and they are not gods.

6. Diet is also important. There are things you don't do and don't eat when you have this illness. Never assume you need to go on a standard diet and lose weight or gain stamina.With all the medications you will be taking it is a good idea to check with your doctor and get a referral to a nutritionist and possibly a pharmacologist. They are the experts and can set a general dietetic guideline for your general condition and tell you what medications affect what diet.

These are just a few things to give you a starting place and a good base line to establish an understanding of this disease.

You can read many more articles by Cecil Montgomery in my library here