Welcome back to Share Your COPD Story :)
Today you will be hearing the story of Patrick Wolohan, who's faced an uphill battle with his health since he was born with Pulmonary Hypertension and a congenital heart defect.
Despite the odds he has faced, Patrick doesn't allow his declining health to control his life. Instead, he turns to meditation, self improvement workshops, friends, family, and God to help him accept his unfortunate circumstances and make peace with himself, both mentally and emotionally.
In the words of Patrick "Embracing and loving yourself may seem really hard and it was for me. It's really about making peace with what you have. I know people who have a much harder go in life than myself."
It's now time for Patrick to take over..
What was life like leading up to your diagnosis?
I had been born with Pulmonary Hypertension and a congenital heart defect (VSD) which is ventricular septal defect, a hole in my heart.
How have you adjusted your lifestyle post-diagnosis?
My doctor tells me that I have adjusted quite well being 48 yrs old. In some cases I have done better than some people with COPD. I have had a few phlebotomies.
My body does make too much blood, as often with blood draws, my blood can appear like tar. I am on drugs that helps with dilating as well.
Without the drugs I take for my heart/lungs everything would be much more difficult. I am surprised I am still here.
What friend/family members provide support? How?
My father and my sister. Considering how well I have done. I do deal with endurance issues. At times my legs don't move as well as I'd like. I don't need around the clock care but do use oxygen on occasion more so during the winter months.
What is your greatest achievement in life that you are most proud of?
That I have the inner strength and spirit to guide me. I do consider myself spiritual as well as quite religious.
If you were talking to someone recently diagnosed with COPD, what's some advice you would give them?
Find time to meditate, go to church be around loved ones. It might not seem like much but I have tried so many workshops and self improvement things.
Eventually it pays off and have been fortunate to not give up in finding much mental and emotional relief. It's been a long journey which started in 1994.
I had to accept God gave me this for a reason, as hard as it is to accept the fight is just not worth it. Embracing and loving yourself may seem really hard and it was for me. It's really about making peace with what you have. I know people who have a much harder go in life than myself.
What was the hardest thing to cope with after your diagnosis?
More of an off shoot of my condition. Being circulation in my inner ear system, which deals with balance. I didn't know for years that every late fall I would develop headaches due to weather changes.
Tried therapies only worked up to a point. It seems I have to live with it. Someone with low oxygen as myself it's not the easiest thing.
Growing up with it, people who I thought were my friends, thought I was lying. Why would I lie about something like this. It's a real head scratcher. A few know the signs but i'm in a better place mentally and emotionally. That is what matters.
What else should we know about you?
I have seen the Shriner commercial for young kids with cancer. It's as if they have an inner strength about them. Just do the best you can with what you have.
As I can see I probably lived in the victim mode much in my youth. None of us are victims. If you were born with a difficulty or developed bad habits and are now paying for it. It's really a wake up call. I know some people never wake up and live a life asleep or go down a road of being unhappy and unfulfilled.
As you can see, Patrick has been faced with an uphill battle with his health ever since he was born with pulmonary hypertension and a congenital heart defect. But as you can see after reading his story, he consistently challenges his declining health's ability to affect him mentally and emotionally.
The next time you are doubting your ability to cope and manage your COPD, remember that you are in control and with proper actions you can reduce the effects of COPD, helping to greatly improve your quality of life.
You should also keep in mind that all treatments may not deliver results, or the outcome you expected. But like Patrick, you must attempt varying treatment options to find the perfect combinations for your specific case of COPD.
What's something you learned or took from Patrick's story? Let us know in the comments below. Do you have COPD? Click the button below to share your personal COPD story and be featured on the COPD Store blog!