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Googling for COPD Finds an Old Letter

I wrote the following about 2004 for the American Lung Association and re-found it goggling for COPD.  I’m posting it here in hope you will see the value in early detection Spirometry testing.

“Hungry for Air: Breathing Better Together

“Living with COPD/Emphysema and Sarcoidosis was a living death. I existed. I struggled to breathe, when I moved I panted, gasped for air like a fish out of water.

As I slowly showered and dressed, ready to go somewhere, I couldn’t sit down to rest. I fell asleep.

I went from a physically active life landscaping, restoring a wonderful property in Port Townsend to a blob who existed in front of her computer.

I searched the world web to discover what COPD/Emphysema was – what Sarcoidosis was, everything, anything I could find out about my diseases and the medications I took.

I couldn’t sleep in a bed – I couldn’t breathe – I dozed sitting in a chair.

By the time I arrived at the Pulmonary Department at the University of Washington Medical Center, I believed my days were numbered. Previously diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema, an open lung biopsy showed the fibrosis and granulomas of Sarcoidosis evenly throughout both lungs.

Without energy, I felt isolated, without a purpose, a shell, a mockery of the person I used to be.

I regretted a 40-year smoking habit, but didn’t dwell on it. The single most difficult thing I’ve ever done is stop smoking. I craved cigarettes and for the first time understood a drug addict’s ‘craving’ for a drug. I craved a cigarette many times a day, then almost daily for more than two years. Even today, occasionally the urge to smoke a cigarette becomes almost overwhelming.

That is how I felt then. Today I’m energized with purpose.

I found a support group online – the non-profit EFFORTS, begun by COPD’rs, run by COPD’rs and filled with folks like me working to change the world’s awareness of COPD. I want other lung folks to know they are not alone and how they can lead the best quality of life possible.

I want to see Spirometry tests for patients. common place among physicians – to catch COPD early – before it is too late. Other than stop smoking, the single most important thing Lungers can do for themselves is exercise.

And from the time I learned of the American Lung Association® of Washington’s Big Ride Across America, it is my dream – my goal.” – Sharon”

People Gotta Breathe
Fish Gotta Swim - People Gotta Breathe

Part  2 of 4     More later… Sharon O’Hara

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