One Life, One Body, One Chance.
As the holidays approach, we often think about connecting with friends and family. This past year has been no exception as during the pandemic we have all had to find creative ways to safely connect with the people in our lives. As someone with lung disease, I know how important our support networks can be to support us mentally, emotionally and physically.
In 2009, I began experiencing shortness of breath. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and thought there was little hope for my future. I was in shock and disbelief, but I refused to accept that there was nothing I could do – after all, I had a lot of living left to do!
Shortly after my diagnosis, I learned about the pulmonary rehabilitation program for people with lung health issues supported by The Lung Association. Several times a week, I would take part in the specialized exercise program as well as educational sessions to learn about COPD. By exercising consistently in a safe environment, I learned how to use my muscles so I can do more, have fewer symptoms, and enjoy a better quality of life. I can manage my COPD and I am in better shape now than I have been in years. The benefits of exercise are endless for the body, mind, and spirit.
Education is equally important. The Lung Association provides education sessions specifically on COPD medications. Although I have attended the medication session several times, I keep attending because there is new information and different treatment options emerging regularly. It’s important for people to know they have choices and that The Lung Association and health care providers are available to help.
The pulmonary rehabilitation program saved my life. I would not be alive without it. I can enjoy fishing at the lake and, most importantly, I am able spend more time with my wife Brenda, my children, and my grandchild. My family has been very supportive and encouraging. On the first day I started the program my daughter gave me a shirt that said One Life, One Body, One Chance. It has become my motto in life.
It is hard to exercise and stay motivated on your own. I rely on my friends to keep me going so when the pandemic hit and the rehabilitation program was closed, I knew I had to do something. I decided to turn my backyard into the rehabilitation gym with some homemade modifications. I set up stations 6 feet part and invited participants from the program to join me in working out at least 3 times a week. We are a group of friends brought together by ugly circumstance and we are determined to make the best of it. People in our situation do much better with continued exercise and we do not want to lose what we have worked so very hard to gain.
This holiday season I hope you and your loved ones are able to safely stay connected.
I ask that you help support vital programs, such as the pulmonary rehabilitation program, found across the country and supported by the Lung Association by making a gift today. Your generous contribution impacts everyone suffering from lung disease, because when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.
P.S. Your donation today will help fund critical lung health research, and support educational and advocacy programs in your community. Thank you.