“You’ve got COPD. It’s a progressive disease and there’s no cure.”
If you think back to when you first heard those words, you may have felt confused, sad, or angry (maybe all of these!), and had a hundred questions. Maybe you thought, or still feel, that the plans you made may never come to be. No doubt about it—that’s an awful lot to take in!
Then, as time went on, you mostly likely faced a lot of changes. There were medically related changes such as new medications, a variety of inhaler techniques, and maybe supplemental oxygen. Another challenge was learning how to cope emotionally with life with COPD. One way to cope may have been that you began stay at home more, isolating yourself from friends and extended family. And when it comes to family, you may have discovered that even the most sincere and loving family members, as much as they try, don’t have your lungs, and can’t fully understand what it’s like for you to live day after day with COPD.
Those are some major changes and challenges—but there is help and there are people who understand! It’s a huge help to have peer support—individuals just like you with COPD who are going through many of the same things you’re going through. It really does help to listen, to talk, to learn, to exchange experiences, and to share feelings with those who know how you feel. This kind of involvement has many benefits, and one is that it can help to start breaking a habit of isolation.
The COPD Foundation has several peer support programs that can help you as you live with COPD.
Oxytalk is a free, live, open forum where participants can ask questions about oxygen use and learn from others in similar situations. There’s no pressure to speak up or share—sitting in and listening is fine! Oxytalk takes place on the third Wednesday of each month at 4:00pm, Eastern time, and is led by one of the COPD Foundation’s respiratory therapists, Mike Hess. Click here to join our November 2021 meeting! Check the COPD 360social activity feed for information on future meetings.
Social Hour is a free, live, online support group. There’s no pressure to speak up or share—just come, listen in, and get to know us! A different topic is discussed each month. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at 5:00 pm, Eastern time, and led by one of the COPD Foundation’s respiratory therapists, Stephanie Williams. Click here to join our November 2021 meeting! Check the COPD 360social activity feed for information on future meetings.
COPD360social is the COPD Foundation’s interactive online community. It’s a great place to ask questions, get support, learn about events in your area, participate in research, chat with the experts, download education materials, and learn how to take action—all on your time, at your pace. COPD Foundation Online Community and Support Network
COPD360 Community Support Lines are toll-free and available for patients, caregivers, and friends to receive one-on-one support and information. COPD: 1-866-316-COPD (2673) Bronchiectasis and NTM: 1-833-411-LUNG (5864)
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it essentially impossible to hold meetings in-person. Hopefully it won’t be long before we can get back to meeting again face-to-face— for breathing support, pulmonary rehabilitation, and harmonica playing. However, for people with COPD, online meetings will always be a big source of peer information and support!
Have you used any of these peer support resources and found them helpful? If you have, tell us about it! If you haven’t, we hope to see you soon!
Either way, here’s a challenge…by the end of this week, let’s—each of us— tell two or more people about these great opportunities for peer information and support.
Let’s talk! I look forward to hearing from you!