COPD, feeling well, and mindless chatter.

I notice my writing is getting further apart in time. And am sure many of you guys have noticed the same. With that I wish to reassure you it is not because of a worsening in my condition. But so many other things in life competing for my time.

I continue to be busy. To do much volunteer work in the health sector. And to be involved in many other things that are of interest to me. My photography during summer is my real passion. My works of art as I sometimes call my photography. But oh, how things do change with this illness I realise when I look back in time.

Some 8 years ago now I had ‘The Bump’. If you look back on this blog you will come across that time. That is when suddenly I became disabled, unable to walk far, with breathlessness worse. I was forced to retire from my work. How that eight years has flown. Four years later after being stupid, not pacing, and ignoring my blood oxygen saturation levels, and becoming very ill, I found I needed to use oxygen when mobile. I shed tears at that time at my worsening condition. Looking back in this blog you will read of this time. I truly felt that maybe my time was coming to depart this world during that traumatic part of my life. I was sad then, but not afraid.

I continued to do what I felt would help. To try different ideas to improve my health. My personal research continued. I looked at information, and formed an opinion from sometimes small incomplete research papers. I increased my intake of vitamin D3. This meant although taking steroids my bones became stronger. I was asked to go for a bone scan and came clean with my doctor, that I had been taking high dose vitamin D3. He was interested as felt this might have saved my bones from the ravages of the steroids I sometimes took. A bone scan proved my bones were stronger than normal for my age. Taking a vitamin D3 capsule also had other spin off’s. My immune system became stronger. Colds a thing of the past. Exacerbation were fewer in number. Also to my delight the winter syndrome SAD, which had plagued me for many years and plunged me into depression from November until March, no longer troubled me. I also started taking NAC to keep my mucus clear and thinner. Magnesium too.

Eating right was important. As for sleep. I sleep late being a night owl, but rise late also. I do though wake several times at night. That often is the case for us with copd. As the weeks and years passed I started to put on far too much weight. Often wondering why as I do not eat a lot. I knew I had to lose weight when I became pre diabetic. This meant at the end of winter just passed sugar, lager were not allowed, and carbohydrates had to be watched too. Delighted, I shed 30 pounds although this has not been a crash diet, rather a steady loss. I had though become the shrinking man. Even as I sit here typing I know I have another 8 pounds to reach my target.

One of the oxygen bottles I carry weigh when outdoors on my travels weighs about 7 pounds. I have a box that carries 4 cylinders. I imagine if I had to strap one of those boxes with four cylinders inside to my back, and then walked around all day how that would feel. Because that is how much I have lost in weight. Meantime I stay positive. Enjoy managing ‘We strive to breathe easier,’ on facebook. Looking today there is 333 members where each of us can talk and get feedback to our condition.

I also now write blogs for copd.net. I enjoy time with my local Breathe Easy group, and take part in many other activities. Oxygen does not stop me from going on holidays, out for meals, meeting people at venue’s, or anything I am able to do. True I cannot do physical things, and have had to learn to delegate tasks I can no longer manage. But even with very severe copd with a lung function of just a quarter, I still enjoy life. If you have copd, so can you. There is no big secret involved in having a good life with copd. Take a vitamin D supplement, if not sure ask your doctor for a test to see if you are low in D serum, (most with copd are and need a supplement), and get active. Keep that body moving, get active and away from the television.

Anyhow, here I am, rambling on. Mindless chatter. But reassuring you that not only am I OK. But doing well. I am feeling better than I did five years ago. A time I felt I might not live much longer. I am not going to be running up my road, but I am enjoying life. Having fun. Even in the slow lane.

In the meantime. Look out for my blogs on copd.net where articles about copd I write might interest you. If you do not belong to my Facebook copd site please join us. And of course as I always say. Breathe Easy. I leave you with one of my works of art. A picture I took this last week in Rhossili, South Wales UK. And have now turned into a canvas picture that now hangs on my wall beside me.

rhossile view

Keep smiling. Enjoy life, and as I said,most of all Breathe Easy.

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copd and the hidden dangers in weight

It is amazing how fast the days, weeks, and months pass. Even more amazing when I realise it is now 29 years since I was first diagnosed with COPD.

There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about COPD. The worse I have seen informs the reader from diagnosis you have less than five years on this world . Even today some Doctors are not much better. Offering either no information, or tell the patient to prepare for the worse. For a rapid worsening. A life crippled, unable to do much but fight for breath. This my friends is not true. Unless of course you continue to smoke.

I am not anti smoking. It is that I know if you do smoke with COPD. You will get worse quicker. You will have more exacerbations. And sorry to say, you will die sooner.

Another thing to look out for is weight. Many with COPD lose a lot of weight, and become far too light. Even eating for two will not enable some to put more pounds on. The reason is for some in the most advanced stage of copd the pure effort to breathe burns so many calories. The best way to try to not get to that stage is to exercise as much as you can. Even if you cannot go outdoors, you can exercise at home. It really is keep that body going. If you do that you will have more energy too, and find breathing easier.

There is though another hidden danger. I exposed that danger myself by dipping my toes in it. I move my body, While in-between enjoying countless cups of warm tea. I take mine with milk, one sugar. At night I would watch TV with a nice can of cold lager. OK, let me be honest. Three cans in the evening. My weight crept up. I suspected it was the lager. But I enjoyed a little drink at night. So what harm. The problem is the heavier we are the harder it is to breathe. After all 12 pounds of weight a year added is like carrying a back pack. But that was not enough to stop me. Until.

I visited my nurse for my annual blood test. After which a few days later nurse phoned me to invite me to take another blood test. She wanted to know how long my sugars have been high. All that weight, the lagers, the sugar in the tea, had now led to type 2 diabetes. There was only one answer. To lose weight and get my blood glucose level down.

I brought a diabetic glucose tester to keep an eye on my blood glucose level. And stopped putting sugar in tea. I found lagers were very high in carbohydrates, more like eating bread said a diabetic friend of mine, so they were gone. I now have whisky and soda, with a touch of lemon in the evening. I guess I must have a small pleasure in my life. I enjoy my new drink with no carbohydrates. I want to say goodbye to that belly of mine So also started to look at food labels to see how much sugar was in what I was buying, and carbohydrates too. Out went juice, as did cakes. The result is this last month I have lost 7 pounds in weight, and my love of sugar. My plan now is to lose another 28 pounds to get back to how I was several years ago. My blood glucose levels are fine again already. And I am looking forward to the bonus of being able to breathe even better when the weight is off.

Yes I am as positive as ever. Forever looking at ways to try to make my life, and health better. I am ready for the warmer days, planning to take lots of pictures. Many of which will end up in my 2017 calendar. I always make my wall calendar to remind me of good days out we have had.

I used to do a lot of volunteer work but have decided to cut a lot of that out. I am retired and was finding I was doing more than when I was in paid work. But now am looking for more time to relax, get out, and enjoy life. In the future most of my volunteer work will be lung related.

I hope as you read this you too is having a good day. Till I next write Breathe Easy, stretch, smile, and enjoy your day.

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The copd solution. The must read publication.

Each month I receive emails from those with copd worried about their future. Some from companies anxious for me to try their product. Writers or publishers asking if I would write a guest blog. And sometimes from publishers asking if I would review a book on copd. I have to admit that most books I review I find less than exciting, so don’t make a mention. It is seldom I recommend a publication. But today I make an exception.

A few weeks ago I was asked by publishers of ‘The COPD solution’ by Dawn Leslie Fielding, if I would review Dawn’s book. After reading this it had pressed all the right buttons, and for me had that most definite wow factor. I truly believe this could be the best book you could buy to help manage your copd.

the copd solution

The COPD Solution to me is essential reading. Brilliant from the first chapter, it offers a comprehensive programme for managing your life with copd. Writer Dawn, a fully qualified therapist, has an amazing 100% success rate with her patients. Some could when they first entered therapy with Dawn hardly walk. Yet now enjoy life with much better mobility. Dawn’s book to me is a must read, and is one that can not only be kept as a reference book, but also be read time and again. If you buy this publication you will be allowing Dawn to become your personal therapist.

Although COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, few books give a comprehensive approach to living with this condition. Now, with The COPD Solution, respiratory therapist and educator Dawn Lesley Fielding brings her twelve-week sustainable program—which has a 100 percent success rate in improving the health of her own patients—to the public. Fielding provides invaluable information on diagnosis, medical treatments, physical therapy, pulmonary rehab, and smoking cessation. Her plan gives readers tools to manage every aspect of living with COPD, including tips for communicating with doctors, symptom-tracking charts, nutrition guidelines, easy exercises, breathing and relaxation techniques, even information on intimacy. With up-to-date medical research about this disease and a practical program for managing it, The COPD Solution is a welcome resource for anyone suffering from chronic lung disease.

On a personal level even I. An old-timer. Learned some good lessons while reviewing this publication. I learned how to use my medication right. And breathe better for doing so. There is a large section on medication in the book. I learned the ‘huff technique’ so I could get that hard to get up phlegm off my chest. Invaluable. I had never learned to master that till now. Plus I learned how to do pursed lip breathing right. Yep I was not doing that quite right either. I now plan to read the book again to see what I missed, or did not have time to practice to see if I can improve my life even more. For those about to use oxygen, or shy of going public with ‘your best friend’, there is a section on oxygen therapy too that you will find helpful.

The COPD Solution can be brought in paperback or Kindle digital format at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Paperback stocks are limited at the moment so if you are disappointed let them know you want a copy and I am sure they will get more into stock. The COPD Solution is also available in digital format on Itunes. Click this link.

Yes this has been a blatant plug for a tool that I am sure will help you too. I can assure you I get no financial reward from sales. My reward has been a copy of this excellent publication. And knowing that you too will have a useful tool in our fight to live a better life with copd.

Please contact me and let me know how ‘The COPD Solution’ has helped you when you have read it, and I will let author Dawn Leslie Fielding know.

Till I write again. Keep positive and most of all, Breathe easy.

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