The Emotional Toll of COPD
Russell talks about the emotional side of COPD rather than the physical side.
There are two main points that I come across, and I know other people come across.
How Your Family and Friends Look at You
The first one being how your family and friends look at you and look at your disease. And how many times have they said to you, "You look fine. There's nothing wrong with you."
But they don't feel what's going on in our body.
They don't realize that every breath that goes in and out is difficult breaths. And how tiring it is when you're labored in breathing. Or how exhausted you can feel.
They don't get to see any of that. Or feel it.
One thing with my family and friends and spoke quite well is showing them what it's like to be me is a straw test. Where they take a straw, put it in their mouth, and they breathe in and out through the straw and can pinch their nose. So the only air going in and out is through the straw.
And that's a crude example of a strict, so that gives them some idea of what it's like to breathe like us. And I've found it quite successful.
The Perception of COPD – 'A Smoker's Disease'
The other point I've come across, and I think a lot of people with this disease come across is the perception that COPD well, it's a smoker's disease and you deserve it.
You smoked, and you got what you what you asked for. But that's unfair.
Most chronic diseases these days are caused by poor lifestyle choices. Whether you drink too much or eat the wrong food, overeat, all these things can cause chronic illness.
So to say, you deserve this, well that's unfair. I recently had someone come up to me and say, it's unfortunate that you've got COPD, but you're a smoker, and you do these things, and you get what you get. And yes, that's right, we do get what we get.
But we don't deserve it.
And as I said to them do people who've had heart attacks or strokes, or liver disease, kidney disease and they get those diseases from poor lifestyle choices are the people who deserve it, as well? It's a fair question.
So when people ask you about your disease I'm a firm believer you tell them all about it, and you say everything that goes on in your body. And you tell them if they mean that you deserve it and say, well let's hope you don't have a chronic disease because of your poor lifestyle choices because it's not a lot of fun.
So be positive about your disease. Don't let the negativity get ahold of you. And keep breathing easy, or as easy as you can.