Back in 2008 I got pregnant with my now 5 year old daughter. Just prior to getting pregnant, I was having issues with pain. After I found out I was pregnant I had a major attack, the pain, unbearable. Gallbladder, gall stones. I needed surgery, but being pregnant prevented that. I spent the next 6 months drinking muscle milk and slimfast, because food wouldn't stay down. I had my baby girl and dreaded going back to work, I was so tired. No energy at all.
Being a single mother, who had already raised 2 kids, was tough. Thankfully they helped me a lot. In 2009, I waited until my baby was 6 months old to have the gallbladder removed. Thinking I will FINALLY have some energy! Nothing. It was even worse.
My days at work were now spent sitting in a chair and delegating to my employees. Where I had been super active and all over the store prior, even pregnant. I started making appointments to find a solution to my extremely low energy problem. I was now only able to do about 15% of the workload I had done. I was getting REALLY sick every 2 months, and it took WEEKS to start to feel better. I never got completely over it, but would feel a little better and it would come back full force.
Each appointment I was told I was coughing because I was a smoker, given a zpac and steroids and sent away, only to come back in 2 months. Finally, after a year of this, I went to the ER. They admitted me and said I had full on pneumonia and sepsis. Great! I was so sick the infection was now in my blood. After I got out of the hospital I was feeling much better, but still no energy. I started to take frequent vacations, and LONG weekends. None of this helped me.
So, I switched doctors. The new one admitted she didn't know respiratory illness well and asked if I was okay with the respiratory specialist taking over my appt. Sure, great! Well, she knew what she was doing! She asked me lots of questions and did a spirometry test. Yep, my lungs function was very low. My FEV1 was 40%. Think of that as your lungs only working at 40% of what they should be working at.
"You know April, if you get sick like that just one more time..."
I knew, it could be the last time I would ever get sick. She was wonderful and so caring and HONEST. She put me on Spiriva, Advair 50/500 and an albuterol rescue inhaler. I also got a nebulizer and was to do treatments twice daily. I was also referred to a pulmonologist and pulmonary rehabilitation. Sweet relief! Sure, I was very sick... But now I knew how to control it, what to avoid, how to care for myself. That was in 2010.
Now, my FEV1 is down to 26% and my pulmo is talking double transplant. I am only 41, my daughter is 5. I think I'll wait. I can no longer work, and have been fighting with SSI Disability for 3 1/2 years. Just had my hearing and that went very well. Hopefully, in a few months I will get that decision and a check! I have never been able to be a stay at home mother, and because of my family am I able to now.
I dedicate my spare time to running HOPEforCOPD, I have a website, 2 blogs, and a support group on Facebook. They keep me busy and it is SO nice to talk to others that really understand what you are going through! That was the first things I did when I was diagnosed, look for support groups! There are so many loving people out there that are so inspiring!
COPD is NOT a death sentence! You just have to embrace it as a part of your life, your new more relaxed life. Every day is beautiful, cherish it, just don't forget to LIVE it.
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