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Elise: A Life Without Limits

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This blog post was written by Elise VanCise, an individual with COPD who lives in Florida.

One thing that pushes my buttons is being told, “You can’t.” When I started writing my first novel that inner voice started whispering all the reasons I couldn’t write a book. Especially under the conditions I had chosen to write under.

It was November 2006 during NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. During this challenge you have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel. I had a few people around me saying, “There is no way you can do that in only 30 days. It takes years to write a novel.”

I was working a full time job, homeschooling my son and writing my socks off every minute in between. Some days it was hard to get to that goal of at least 1,700 words.

Life without limits Other days the story of Aaron and Sarah poured on to paper 5,000 words at a time.

Living with COPD is just like that. Some days are a struggle to get out and go, while other days you forget you even have a lung disease. Because of that roller coaster ride of good days and bad days we feel like we have to put limits on ourselves.

Sometimes our mind will say you can’t walk that far. You can’t go to this place or do that task. Our bodies know what they can handle. But do we give it a chance to tell us? Or do we agree that we shouldn’t take the risk and limit ourselves more than we really need to.

When I begin to think, I can’t do that I ask the question, "Why not?" - because "I have COPD" isn’t a good enough reason. Just like not having an English degree or formal training wasn’t a good enough reason to say I can’t write a book. Sure maybe I have to take a lot of rest breaks or take other precautions but I’m going to let COPD tell me I can’t. I live with COPD but it doesn’t have a say in what I want to do. Okay maybe a little. There’s no way I’m going to go jogging 10 miles. But I am going to go enjoy a day at Sliver Springs, explore a history museum, practice archery with my son.

I’m going to put limits on what I can do. I’m going to try it; if I don’t make it at least I tried.

Oh that first novel, I typed the last word, number 52,486 on day 24. November 24th, 2006. That’s the day I learned there are no limits to what I can accomplish. On paper or in my daily life there are no limits.


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  • Thank you Elise. Just exactly what I needed this morning. A good reminder that I can do what I "want" to do, at least try and find my limits. And, yes, some days are a struggle to get out and go but I need to encourage myself.

    Congratulations on your book!
  • You have a wonderful outlook on life, Elise!! We also live in Florida, and I think Silver Springs is one of the most beautiful state parks we have. It's been a few years since we have gone, but the glass-bottomed boats were always our favorite.

    I see you have several books available on Amazon :-) Congratulations!!

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