Today at the Wednesday Check in, I’m sharing with you the wise words of an old friend of mine, a lady with COPD, the late Jo-Von Tucker. Here, she shares her thoughts on Hope.
Getting a diagnosis of COPD can be devastating. As patients, we learn that we have a progressive, incurable disease, one that no doubt will alter our life by limiting our physical abilities with shortness of breath and fatigue.
But by far, the worst thing left out of diagnosis is hope. We are rarely advised that we have a right to have hope with COPD. Even if a doctor suspects that his or her patient may have a poor prognosis, that person is still entitled to hope—that should never be taken away.
Everyone deserves hope! But I had to find my own. I’ve done some of this by my involvement as an advocate for people with COPD. Part of my own hope came from my quest for information about this disease. Part of it I found by writing my book about living with COPD. And part of it I gained by having faith in my own ability to overcome obstacles, even those caused by chronic illness. I continue to learn about COPD almost every day and I’m determined not to give in to it.
The big questions about hope usually come a while after the initial diagnosis, after the shock of being told we have a progressive, incurable disease that’s not going to go away. Shock tongue-ties us and prevents our brains from allowing us to reach out for vital information. Then, after the shock wears off a bit, we find ourselves in need of an understanding of what we, and our families, are facing.
I would like to see all pulmonary physicians add a few more basic facts to their ten-minute visit—to add words of hope by making sure that we, as patients, are aware that our life is not over just because we have COPD.
There are many things we can do to prevent ourselves from spiraling downward. We have a lung disease that is chronic and progressive, but we can choose to live our lives in ways that help us remain stable. By following our doctor's treatment program: eating a healthy diet, keeping up with an exercise routine, getting enough sleep, maintaining a social life, avoiding exposure to viruses and other harmful bugs, and keeping a positive outlook, we are on our way to stability!
No one should be without hope, ever! It’s a ladder to hold onto. It is a reason to get up in the mornings. It gives us reason to smile. It lets us reach out to help others. It helps us sleep at night. Having hope gives us insight into what is most important in our lives. But most of all, hope provides us with inspiration, encouragement, and strength to face each day.
What about you? Were you given reason to hope when you were first diagnosed with COPD? What helps you to stay hopeful?
Let’s talk! I look forward to hearing from you!