We Learn From Each Other By Janet Plank · "October , 2017"
It can be so hard to hear that we have COPD, whether it’s Stage 1 or Stage 4. Too often when we get the diagnosis, no one explains to us what COPD is, what the stages mean or what to expect. Maybe we haven’t heard of COPD. As soon as we can, many of us do an internet search to find out what COPD is. This is often where the confusion begins.
Learning about COPD can bring fear
We learn that COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Stage 1 is mild, Stage 2 is moderate, Stage 3 is severe and Stage 4 is very severe or end stage. You might even hear of a Stage 5 which some refer to as congestive heart failure. This is also where some fear begins.
We can learn so much about COPD from each other
The next step is where a person finds a social media site on Facebook. You may be one to ask questions or someone who lurks in the background, not comfortable sharing. Both are okay. There is so much to learn from each other. And we often hear to check with your doctor, because the doctor knows the “whole” you. Over time we become more confident with what COPD is, we have a better understanding of the stages of COPD. We know and learn more about the other members in the various COPD sites and what they go through with their COPD. Now, this is where my concern comes in.
So often, I hear concern from COPDers that they are in an earlier stage and they shouldn’t be talking or feeling bad about themselves when others are worse off or a later stage. I understand and have been there myself.
Each case of COPD is so different
It’s so important to realize that you are just as important as everyone else and where you are in your COPD is just as important. A person that is a later stage has been where you are before and they likely had similar fears or feelings. Some may not have been diagnosed until a later stage. Yet people need to come to terms where they are at that moment, it will change as your COPD does. There are new people being diagnosed all the time, they learn from us as well. Do share yourself. Remember too, that there are other health issues that may affect you or another person, besides your COPD. Those things can affect COPD as well.
We are unique in our own disease
We always need to remember that we are unique in our own disease, because of different health issues, medications, family histories, allergies and more. So out of what you see, take what you can use and ignore the rest. Our doctors and/or medical teams are the only ones able to diagnose and make any recommendations or referrals.
Never, ever feel bad about sharing because there are people worse off. Sadly, there will always be people worse off, that’s what happens as our COPD progresses. There are also those who will see you as being worse off than they are. Remember, we learn from each other. What you say will help others as well.