Posted on November 16, 2017 |
Being a COPD patient brought on Tina’s passion for advocacy. This led to raising awareness through stories and becoming the COPD State Captain for Pennsylvania. Read below to learn more about Tina and how she’s coping with living with COPD.
Tina worked in a factory and was a heavy smoker. She always wore an mp3 player and when she would sing along she kept becoming short of breath. Her diagnosis went from a breathing test to a CT scan which showed emphysema. She quit smoking cold turkey at the age of 44 and her son, Rob, quit with her. She is now 52 and has been smoke-free for eight years as of October 8th of this year.
Tina continued to work in the factory until it closed. She eventually became more short of breath. “Chores at home took me all day, chemicals bothered my COPD as well as people’s cologne and perfume.” She now works part-time as a customer service member/cashier in a grocery store.
A COPD diagnosis can be devastating for the individual affected but also the family. In Tina’s case, “my family stood by me. We all had our emotions when I got my diagnosis. We don’t talk about it much but we know the dangers that can lie ahead.”
Tina’s current treatment consists of “a [daily inhaler] I also have a rescue inhaler and nebulizer when needed.”
Tina got into a pulmonary rehab program which “changed my life and thinking about COPD.” She had good support and found the COPD Foundation which “became my rock as well as my husband and son.” Also, her pulmonary nurse practitioner and rehab therapist have helped her tremendously. To date, Tina has not participated in any research.
Many people who are diagnosed with COPD do not get into pulmonary rehab or the information they need to live with COPD. “At the start of my diagnosis, I had to switch doctors. My doctor of 16 years just wasn’t there for me. Once I got the new doctor, I got the best care and still do eight years later.”
But living with COPD is not just physical. There are psychological effects as well. “I have anxiety and get very depressed at times. With other health ailments it’s hard for me to get back into exercise. I work and stand all day, so by the time I get home I am just too tired to do anything.”
“I am uncertain as to what my future holds. Due to circumstances that happened during my yearly breathing test in January, I have been getting follow up CT scans per Fleischer criteria.
Tina would like to see more awareness and education about COPD. More individuals with COPD need to share their stories everyone has a story and everyone is different with COPD. Doctors need to be able to push for their patients to get into a pulmonary rehab program. Those of us affected by COPD need to be able to cope to live and to educate ourselves about our disease. Tina would like to see more awareness and education about COPD.
“More individuals living with COPD need to share their stories. Everyone has a story and everyone is different with COPD. Doctors need to be able to push for their patients to get into a Pulmonary Rehab program. Those of us affected by COPD need to be able to cope to live and to educate ourselves about our disease,” she says.
Being diagnosed with COPD is a life-changing event. By sharing her story Tina hopes others contact the COPD Foundation. “They can give valuable guidance and support through the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1-866-316-2673. They also have a lot of articles and videos as well. Find a Better Breathing support group where you live and social media groups as well this way no one will ever feel alone being a face of COPD.”
Tina also recommends reading the book “Live your Life with COPD” by Jane Martin. She says it is a must read for patients, caregivers, and health care professionals. It has taught her so much she can do “I don’t have to give up because of COPD.”
“Encourage your doctor to get you into a pulmonary rehab. It will teach you techniques to breathe, teach you how and the importance of exercise and eating right. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story and always keep hope in your heart.”
In recognition of COPD Awareness Month, the COPD Foundation is featuring a new “Faces of COPD” profile every day in November. The “A New Day, A New Face of COPD” blog series will highlight the stories of those who have been touched by COPD in any capacity. Tell your story by e-mailing us at [email protected] or commenting below.
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