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COPD means I can only plan daily

Some days, Chris finds walking just five steps is a great struggle.

"I’m going to die! I can’t go on trying to breathe!" I desperately yell, or perhaps whisper.  And then I'm gone.

Later, I see vague shapes but we don't understand each other. I whisper something that my daughter, who suddenly appears out of the misty blur, seems to understand. I am in a hospital ward, she tells me. I have been in hospital for 4 or 5 weeks - OMG, too much to deal with.

Now, that was a little under 2 years ago, and I'm very fortunate to have recovered. That episode of respiratory failure is the penultimate stage in breathlessness. The ultimate would be death.

I have severe COPD

I have smoked millions of fags, well I think about half a million in 45 years. I stopped some 9 years ago. So I have severe COPD, and a lung function of about 15%.

I've done pulmonary rehabilitation three times in the last 6 years and currently go to an exercise class every week.

I need to take lots of different types of drugs, and carry a portable oxygen cylinder around with me so I don't get too out of breath.

Breathlessness also has a permanent, long term effect on us and our loved ones. Dreams have to be ditched. You must remember that we have suffered a loss – a great loss. There are things we have had to reduce doing or even give up. We’re never really sure we’re going to get to any date we set up.

For me it's really sad that I can't go to the USA any more, where we have many friends and relatives. Losses mean depression, sadness and resentment. And that leads to rejection, isolation and unhappiness.

But help is at hand. Don't forget the British Lung Foundation has a helpline open to anyone affected by lung diseases, their families and carers, and health care professionals. They also have local Breathe Easy support groups all over the country offering support.

COPD: can only plan daily

As long as it works, we all take breathing for granted.

I think it's hard to imagine what breathlessness really feels like. My wife reminded me I had explained it to her as, “I am aware now of every breath I take”. Today I would now add: “but also of its own quality”.

To be quite frank, I am only comfortable when I am lying down or sitting down doing nothing physical. So it is no wonder that people like me can easily become inactive and seat-ridden, unfulfilled and depressed.

For no apparent reason I can wake up and find that even walking the five steps to the loo is a great effort that leaves me wobbly, breathless and tired out. The next day it’ll be easy-peasy - or something in between.

The important thing to understand is we are constrained in every sphere of life. The simplest every day act can be a trial.

For me, COPD really stands for Can Only Plan Daily.

Luckily, I am very well supported. I have a sympathetic GP practice. The respiratory ward at my hospital is outstanding. The exercise class is very useful, and I have a physiotherapist who not only comes and sees me but is available by email and phone, often with an immediate response. My family help me so much, too. My wife is my carer, and then there's my daughter, my sister and the relatives.

I hope I've given you fresh insights into the lives of people with COPD. And perhaps a deeper understanding as to why we are like we are.


My husband suffered with COPD and his last months with us he had no life...from a judo champion to be like that was hard for him. I lost him 8 days ago and miss him so much....
Reading this COPD Day post has made me realise that I'm not the only one that can't plan ahead or do what I used to do... this is something of a comfort! Also that some people have it far worse than me - I don't have to be on oxygen or need a full-time carer. For which I am grateful.
I am newly diagnosed COPD patient at the age of 47. I am finding breathing a very hard thing to do at the moment. The only way I can describe the illness is it's like doing a full work out everyday just to breath. No one can hear me as I squeak when I talk. I sit and cry a lot due to feeling helpless 
I have been recently diagnosed with Copd.Very overwhelming and scarey!!!My prayers and thoughts go out to all people with this disease and family members.Thankyou for sharing your story.
I do the trash, dishes, cooking, cleaning, dressing for me and husband, broken shoulder, kneecap, rib, wrist finger, heart trouble and maybe cancer of the mouth, will find out after know results of his sonogram of heart. I have no support, cause my daughters husband is at 2% kidney failure, and on dialysis and 2 growing boys and he works everyday. so we can adjust and do as we need to. She helps as she can which is almost never. My husband is a fall risk, 100 lbs, a drinker, Do what we can as we can, pray and pray and pray.
I love all of the copd sites that are spreading the word. My only question is why aren't any of the pictures posted with people on oxygen. Wearing those nose pieces aren't becoming but they are reality, why do I never see them on these sites
I have been diagnosed with copd in the last few years as i struggled in the last 2 weeks with this i don't have much support as my partner does not understand at times what i go through if there is any support groups available please let me know.
I lost my father 6days ago he gave up smoking in 1984, it doesnt matter how long ago you give it up the damage is done. We need to do more about stopping people putting the stick of death between their lips, people shouldnt have to go through what Ive gone through for the past 30years watching my dad slowly sufficate its too heartbreaking.
It's time the government created a campaign on COPD which many people are unaware of, and automatically assume smoking causes lung cancer. Anyone being advised they have COPD are being handed a death sentence, which takes place over the coming years, the death sentence can be prolonged varies as as to the way you take medication, and importantly exercise. However, there is no reprieve, as the disease is progressive. The government must act, but the big question is, owing to the revenue raised from tobacco, up to now appears to have turned a blind eye, therefore vehemently suggest contacting your MP, or better still write direct to the Health Department, equally to help others who smoke get them to Google COPD.
Wow! Not on my own suffering daily with this nasty debilitating problem. Winters on it's way dreading it. The cold wind makes breathing so dreadfully difficult. No wonder this disease makes us hermits.
I have COPD with a lung capacity of 31%. I gave up smoking 1 year ago (thank God) but use Vaping at the moment. Nobody has ever suggested to me, that there might be excercise regimes, which would help to build up the volume of the lungs again, which will in time also effect ones breathing very positively.
I have had a cough now since September an it is now November an still coughing.Its suppose to be a copd flare up.I am finding it so depressing as I can't do much.Scared to go out incase I have a coughing fit.I live on my own and its a hard struggle doing stuff at the moment,must eat though. Wish many a time I never smoked.
i here all the comments on here about lung/and copd im 47 i watched my dad his brother and his sister die of this and its not a nice thing to have has iv got this too i was diagnosed a bout a year a go im at home feeling sorry for my self nowing whats to come in future i started smoking age 13 im still a smoker cant quit iv tryed every thing but like some one said once youv got why change i get no income cant get help of goverment turned down 4 times for pip cant get a job had 12 interviews in last 6 months and i got turned a way due to it can get worse and im aliability to there company all i can say is gl to you all and the future as we all on our own any comments please write a review ty for reading this
wow reading most of your comments on c o p d makes my own disorder of c o p d look trivial I must be quite lucky and have a milder form of it I can at least go up inclines and stairs but I do get slightly out of breath also I find a change of atmosphere makes me cough from a warm theatre say and going out into a cold air makes me short of breath I do take a scarf with me and breath through that wich helps you dont think at 17yrs or 20yrs or 30yrs old when your smoking 30 to 40 a day about the conciqences of how your lungs are going to be at the age of 75yrs I had a p e through that, and gave up smoking at the age of 36 but by then then the damage had been done
I have every sympathy with all the people with this horrendous disease. I have just seen the report on researching why the lungs age so quickly with COPD and I have always felt that genenics play a part in why some people get COPD and others who smoke don`t. The research programme looks exciting so hopefully we will hear much more about Senescent cells in the near future. We need something positive.

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18 November 2015