Fond du Lac,
Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Patricia Billeb - I prefer people calling me Pat. I am a wife, mother and grandmother. I was diagnosed with COPD in 2011. I think I had an inkling that I had it, however, I was in denial until I was hospitalized. Here's the kicker - I quit smoking a week before I was diagnosed. Probably couldn't take another breath.
I had an excellent pulmonologist with a very caring nurse. I got stable and went through Pulmonary Rehab and embraced it with open arms. Through Rehab I was given copies of the Pulmonary Paper magazine and started googling everything. I got connected with a group known as EFFORTS. I was a regular member of the "walkers" window. One of the friends I made was Jean Rommes - she was holding a Lung Expo in Des Moines and I went. I was so excited about the Lung Expo - the Efforts group that my Pulmonary Rehab counselor asked if I would represent Efforts as a COPD booth. I have done that for the last four years. Last year I took along PPRN handouts to the WISCHPR Conference and have been asked to bring COPD Foundation information with handouts in 2018 - which will be held in Oshkosh.
In 2017, I had the privilege to attend COPD10 in Chicago. I'd been trying for a few years to coordinate the other COPD Conferences in Chicago - This year it worked out. I was totally blown away. I asked for doubles on the handouts to give one set to my Pulmonologist/Nurse and one for myself. My Pulmonologist was killed that year in a car accident, so the handout went to my new doctor.
I was so revved up that I started searching Better Breathers again in my area. There was one at one time near me. I went for about 5 meetings and then it just disappeared. Online I found a Lung Expo in my old city where I lived, Brookfield, WI. I contacted them right away to sign up. The person I had talked to had never heard of the COPD Foundation, so I sent them my second set of information. They were delighted to get it and encouraged me to invite anyone and everyone. I sent an announcement in the COPD 360 and the Efforts distribution.
I get charged and hopeful when I go to the conferences. It works for me - As a State Captain - I'd like to light the fire for those who are looking for hope as well!
Thanks for reading - Pat Billeb