COPD: Finding Acceptance, but Not Giving Up!
A Note from Jane:
I'd like to pass on some wisdom from the writings of a dear friend, a lady with COPD, Jo-Von Tucker. At age 52, Jo-Von was told that she had COPD, she'd have to wear oxygen 24-hours a day for the rest of her life, and she had less than five years to live. But she didn't give up - or give in. This was just the start of a new chapter in her life as she went on for many years to help herself and others by establishing a breathing support group, advocating for better oxygen availability, and writing a book and monthly newsletters for COPD patients and their families. Jo-Von passed away unexpectedly in late 2003 from complications following surgery. Following her death I was given her writings with the encouragement, and the blessing, to share them with people with COPD. Her words ring true today, just as they did the day they were written.
Here's a quote by Tennessee Williams, something to consider.
"The future is called ‘perhaps,' which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you."
It's funny, you know... I never really allowed myself to think much about the future after the diagnosis. I was, after all, diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) nearly eight years ago. I was prescribed supplemental oxygen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the same time I received the devastating sentence of having this incurable, mostly progressive chronic illness.
It took me a long time to work my way through the various stages of acceptance, and to adjust to the many lifestyle changes that were now required of me. Some of those adjustments kind of snuck up on me when I wasn't looking; and they somehow became a part of daily living. Others required commitment and dedication of effort, pulling survival instincts from so deep within me that the intensity still comes as a surprise whenever I think about it.
But survive I did! Even with a prognosis of five years, I have somehow come through the obstacle course that God set for me, and find myself pushing the finish line even further out front.
You see, there is still so much to do! There are sights to he seen, and people to help, and words to be spoken, and actions to be taken. And try as I might, I can't seem to cram them all into the space of a day - the measure of time that we are all given in a 24-hour period - a simple day in which to accomplish all that we set before ourselves.
I guess that's what has led me to begin planning ahead, strangely, for the future. The future that I wouldn't allow myself seems to loom ahead of me now like the proverbial carrot before the nose of the donkey. Take just one more step; do just one more thing; and smell the carrot along the way. Ummmmm.
I'll admit, there are times when I prefer to give in to this disease. When I awaken each morning with a raging headache, or when the fatigue pulls me down as though my feet were mired in molasses. But the whiff of that damn carrot in front of my nose, my future opportunities to do more, be more... serve to push my feet into action and my brain into gear!
I sometimes startle myself now whenever I catch my thoughts about something I want to do a few years down the road. I suddenly find myself making long-term agreements, signing contracts and leases of several years duration.
Stability has brought me to the point of being able to consider - and see - a future!