My Story: Madison Meadows

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I experienced an industrial accident in February of 2000 that caused lung damage. My lungs progressively worsened over the years.

I was always active and experiencing these limitations were frustrating. Two of my favorite activities was swimming and water exercises.

In 2015, I called many pools and rehabilitation facilities and asked about options for bringing my small portable tank into a pool. They all told me I could buy a long tube and put my tank on the pool deck while I was in the water.

I knew this would cause a trip hazard on the pool deck and then would have to stay on the edge of the pool the entire time. Some places would not even allow this option.

I looked for a flotation platform for my tank. I checked with my oxygen supplier about the tank and the regulator being water compatible. If the constant flow regulator is not immersed completely in the water, it is fine to get wet.

Then in December of 2012, I was prescribed supplemental oxygen after an extended bout of bronchitis. My world changed at that point.

Now I must carry oxygen around everywhere. There are days when I can’t even get to my car. I run my own business out of my home, so I am still able to continue working.

The weather greatly affects my ability to get out of the house. Even strong smells like coffee, cinnamon, cigarette smoke, and car exhaust can cause my lungs to constrict and keep me from performing my daily tasks. It feels like my lungs are making a fist.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I am very excited about opening a corporation with my two business partners, figuring out the patent and trademark process and developing a product that can help so many people that are on supplemental oxygen.

Many people fall into the routine of not being active once diagnosed. I am just so happy to be able to offer freedom for so many.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

My daily activities have all changed. Doing simple things like laundry, getting dressed, cooking, shopping, carrying items to and from my car, and cleaning the house. I've had to learn to do these daily tasks in a much slower way.

Working has been a challenge. I manage the property, so I had to give up the multi-storied buildings and adjust my lifestyle to live on a more limited income.

That was when I made a prototype so I could start getting in the water again that could keep my tank afloat and close by while I was in the pool.

Walking in the water is so much easier than on land. I can walk for about an hour without stopping. I knew that other people could use this device by how much freedom it has given me since I have been on oxygen.

Who has been there for you? How?

I am sure there have been many prayer warriors out there for me.

Additionally, my daughter, Sydni, does things for me like running to the post office to check the mail and carrying items into the house.

I think that the doctors have been there to guide me through this nightmare of reality. There are probably many others out there that work in the medical field that are making new discoveries on early diagnosis and will help many others with the research that is being done now.

When my bag broke, others were there for me by replacing it. The training staff helped me lift my many bottles of oxygen on the train. I think that support comes right when you need it. A little bit at a time.

Who has been there for you? How?

I am sure there have been many prayer warriors out there for me.

Additionally, my daughter, Sydni, does things for me like running to the post office to check the mail and carrying items into the house.

I think that the doctors have been there to guide me through this nightmare of reality. There are probably many others out there that work in the medical field that are making new discoveries on early diagnosis and will help many others with the research that is being done now.

When my bag broke, others were there for me by replacing it. The training staff helped me lift my many bottles of oxygen on the train. I think that support comes right when you need it. A little bit at a time.

What's your advice to someone else living with COPD?

I think life changes in many ways with COPD or another diagnosis where you need to learn to be flexible. Maybe I can't walk five miles anymore, but I can still walk. Maybe I can't walk outside in the cold, but I can still walk around the grocery store.

It is up to me to make myself happy.

We all need help now and then, but we also need to learn to adjust our thinking and ways of doing things, so we are still able to care for ourselves.

Lastly, make enough time to rest because hurrying will not help this situation.

I've had to learn to do these daily tasks in a much slower way.

About Madison Meadows

My Story: Madison Meadows

I am 53 years-old, I live in Lakewood, WA, I have three grown children and two beautiful granddaughters.

I owned a real estate brokerage for seventeen years, and I am a real estate broker. I am also an author of a children's book that was recently published, and I have invented and patented a flotation device for portable oxygen tanks.

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