I will never forget the day that I considered the fact that I might have something more serious than asthma. I learned about COPD in college, but never in a million years thought that I would suffer with it. I was standing in my kitchen cooking one day and my brother’s girlfriend was at my home. She was listening to me breathe in my kitchen.
All of a sudden I heard “You are breathing extremely heavy. You sound just like my mom, and she has COPD. I know how that sounds. You need to get too checked out by your doctor.” I remember thinking that she was a bit loopy, there was no way I had COPD.
Fast-forward a year. I became extremely ill, and I swear it felt like I was living at the doctor’s office. I was put on an inhaler (temporarily) for my breathing. This is the day that the COPD conversation with my brother’s girlfriend had me wondering if it could possibly be true. Could I really have COPD?
The inhaler did not work. I was put on a stronger inhaler, and again I was still out of breath all the time. Something as simple as walking from my truck into my home would leave me out of breath. As soon as my doctor tested my lungs and I failed, she scheduled an appointment at the hospital for pulmonary testing.
While at the hospital I was told that I had to breathe into this machine as hard as I could. I would become light-headed and feel sick. This was normal. This would last for a 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the results. I felt like I was going to blow a lung out of my mouth! It was horrible! But, I did it, and I found out that I do, in fact, have COPD.
My biggest struggle living with COPD is the loss of breath. What others can do easily I cannot. Sometimes I think that walking one block would have me gasping for air. I am learning that I have to move slower than I am used too. I have to do certain activities differently. And, I have to avoid quite a few physical activities altogether.
If you find that you are out of breath quicker than most, you may want to get checked for COPD. The test is worth it. If someone tells you that you are breathing heavy, and you hear this statement more than once, please schedule an appointment with your doctor. It could save your life.