Live in the Moment

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As a baker, Scott Johnson says his job can cause some difficulty with his COPD; but that doesn’t stop him from doing what he loves. In his words, “Even though I do have the disease I don’t let it bring me down. I just enjoy the day and live in the moment.”

Johnson was diagnosed with COPD in his 40s. He says he had asthma for years.

“Working in the bakery, I have my ups and downs and high humidity is a real struggle for me. Anything that’s really dusty or has a real strong smell sets me off,” Johnson says of his job that goes from 3AM to 11AM. “I’m used to it [the hours] now, and I’ve been in the profession for 32 years.

“I am not on oxygen yet, and I have my good days and bad days. On my bad days I force myself to do things—I’ll take breaks when I run out of breath—but I get things done.”

Johnson and Family

Living in Minnesota, Johnson says the bitter winters can be difficult, and the summers are humid, which also makes breathing difficult.

“On those days, I just don’t do a lot outside, because if I do, I struggle with it. But I don’t want COPD to rule my life,” he says.

Although now he has to do things at a slower pace, he still does them.

“I’ll walk in the evenings when it’s cooler. If it’s humid outside, I tend to stay inside and read. Other than that, we have a boat and I like to go out on that,” he says.

Johnson quit smoking three years ago, after smoking for around 30 years.

“When the doctor told me I had COPD, I wasn’t surprised, but it made me stop and think. It didn’t make me stop smoking at the time, but as things progressed and I had breathing tests done and I realized I needed to stop,” he says.

At the end of a workday, Johnson says he’s exhausted, but he still gets up at the crack of dawn every day to go to work.

“I know I have COPD, but I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I can do daily tasks, and the things that I can’t do, I will at least try,” he says.

Johnson’s piece of advice for other individuals with COPD?

“Don’t let it bring you down, because then the disease wins, and that’s not what I live for.”

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