When people say something like “it took my breath away” I try to breathe deep. They know not what they say, for I have felt the strangling panic that comes when my breath leaves my lungs. Every time I breathe I feel a struggle to regain my oxygen. So much misunderstanding around chronic lung disorders has promoted me to use my experience to highlight the Canadian journey of a COPD survivor. I welcome you to join me on this ongoing road as we all strive to catch our breath.
My name is Barbara Moore, and this is my story…
I am 61 years old and I have been diagnosed with Stage 3 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) at age 60. I wasn’t surprised at the diagnosis. I was a pack a day smoker for over 50 years, I was born a preemie, I lived in an industrial city and I had blood clots in my lungs before.
I wish I had have listened to someone or asked a doctor about what was going on with my lungs. I would like to think that if I knew how bad it would be I would have done something about it. I like to think I would have at least been proactive, and what difference did it make if I quit smoking today or ten years ago, the bottom line was I had to quit in order to breathe. So I had to do it sooner or later. I made the sorry mistake, like many of my friends, and choose later.
I had known for about 10 years that I was not doing well but didn’t want to get it checked out because I didn’t want to quit smoking. At the time it was an easy decision to make. I had no idea how sick I could get. Upon diagnosis, I immediately quite smoking , and was given an appointment to see a Pulmonary Specialist.
I am not sure what I thought would happen once the inevitable diagnosis came but nothing happened. There is no magical pill or potion. I thought there would be the same as most people say, “It will never happen to me.” In those early COPD years I was very happy not to do any research because I truly did not want to know what would happen and why it would happen or when it would happen. I figured some pill or medical syrup would be available. I always said I never met a smoke I didn’t love. Funny eh?, that’s still true to this day but now the smokes never touch my lips and the smell leaves me breathless.
I am married for over 39 years and my husband and I have raised 2 sons and 1 daughter. We have no grandchildren but we have a few animals including a German shepherd and 5 domestic cats. My daughter has a chocolate lab and my son has a shepherd cross. We love them like our grandchildren.
I am a college instructor teaching Accounting and Finance. I also run a small bookkeeping business that sometimes runs hot and mostly runs cold.
I tried to apply for a Disability Pension through Canada Pension Plan but I couldn’t find a doctor who really thought I was disabled enough to be approved. Apparently you have to very disabled in Canada to get any kind of pension.
They also said that I would be more active working then I would be not working. So I work. But I only work part-time now. I may be going back to full-time soon but for now I am content to work 4 hours a day.
My goal is to build a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease blog from a Canadian perspective as I continue my journey, sharing information and education as I learn it.
My vision is to help shed the prejudice of having a chronic disease, navigating the Canadian medical system and striving to meet the day-to-day demands of working, living and surviving.
If we have this disease in common or if you have any chronic illness, no matter what it is, climb aboard. We can take this journey together.