On this installment of Share Your Story, you will hear from Stephen Page. A loving family man who doesn't allow his COPD to restrict him from doing the things he loves. Learn how with the help of a portable oxygen concentrator, his loving family, and an excellent sense of humor, Stephen is able to travel and live an independent lifestyle.
You shouldn't allow your COPD to consume your life, in the words of Stephen "you are slower and handicapped, but not disabled or a victim... Adapt, accept your limitations and push the limits (within reason), but never give up".
Let's jump right into Stephen's COPD story...
What was life like leading up to your diagnosis?
Busy working, but was becoming breathless walking or with even mild exertion and woke up with a headache every morning.
I was diagnosed in the emergency room with a lung infection on the way to ICU for 3 days, then 2 more days in a regular room before I was sent home.
How have you adjusted your lifestyle post-diagnosis?
Have had to retire and am on continuous oxygen. I am fortunate enough to have many computer and model projects to work on.
Everything else I figure it takes as long as it takes to do since I can no longer move fast or lift anything heavy. Adapt, accept your limitations and push the limits (within reason), but never give up.
What friend/family members provide support? How?
I have a grown granddaughter living with my wife and myself that keeps track of me and goes places with me in case I get into trouble.
What is your greatest achievement in life that you are most proud of?
My work reputation and my family.
If you were talking to someone recently diagnosed with COPD, what's some advice you would give them?
Don't use the electric carts at stores. Use a grocery cart to carry your oxygen tanks or portable to get your exercise.
You are slower and handicapped, but not disabled or a victim.
If you haven't already got one, you need to get a really good sense of humor. It helps keep a positive attitude to keep you as productive as possible.
What was the hardest thing to cope with after your diagnosis?
My wife and family trying to bubble wrap me. I have found that getting ready to leave the house takes a lot of effort, but once I'm out the hardest part is getting in and out of the car.
Try not to have more than 3 stops when doing errands as you may run out of energy before you get home.
What else should we know about you?
Stubborn and persistent about getting out and about as much as possible. My wife and I just returned from a road trip from California to Texas and then on to Pennsylvania and back to California to visit the grand kids.
We couldn't have done this without the Sequal eQuinox machine as I am on 5L at home and 128ml on pulse dose. It took 3 weeks and was more than worth it. If I am able, we will do this again next year. The picture is of the grand kids in Pennsylvania.
After reading Stephen's story with COPD, you should realize that with proper treatment and management. You can still do many of the activities you once enjoyed. Though you may be slower, you should still celebrate micro improvements, such as in your symptoms or exercise routine, no matter how minor you may think they are.
Always strive to push your limits within reason, don't allow COPD to consume the entirety of your life. There are steps you can take that will effectively improve the management and quality of your COPD.
What steps do you take on a daily basis to improve your COPD? Leave your response in a comment below!