30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

I live with COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  This is often considered an 'invisible disease' because, unless I am coughing, most people will never realize I am sick.

1. The illness I live with is:
COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:
2000 , but previously diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis

3. But I had symptoms since:
it seems like forever in varying degrees

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:
learning that i am limited in my physical activities more and more, and accepting that i can no longer do what i used to do

5. Most people assume:
I smoke -- I DO NOT SMOKE!

6. The hardest part about mornings are:
kick starting my breathing to become active -- caffeine and meds help a lot

7. My favorite medical TV show is:
currently, House, but reruns of ER still have a place in my heart

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:
notebook computer, iPhone, or my Canon 40D camera, I just can't decide on only one (1)

9. The hardest part about nights are:
Having to be aware of the time, and cut off eating several hours before i go to lay down.  If I don't have several hours before lying down, I will have a rough night and breathing will become a challenge amongst the coughing.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)
too many, plus breathing treatments and O2 (at night)

11. Regarding alternative treatments I:
constantly look for ways to improve my life, but will always proceed with caution when trying something new

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:
I would choose an invisible illness, it makes it easier to not constantly stand out especially with strangers in public

13. Regarding working and career:
I've had to retire and go on disability, an office environment increases my risk of contracting respiratory illnesses, making my life worse.  I've always wondered; why, when people are sick with the flu/fever they just don't stay home for a day and not expose the entire office to their sickness.

14. People would be surprised to know:
I would definitely prefer to work, but am happy with how I am turning hobbies into passions

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:
accepting that I either have trouble doing, or can't do what I once was able to

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:
I don't restrict myself, I constantly look for ways to do what I want to do.  It just may not be the fastest way, or the way other people would do it.

17. The commercials about my illness:
they always involve older/senior people, and that is not my case

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:
I seriously miss travelling and going on walking/photo tours of new cities

19. It was really hard to have to give up:
working -- no really, it is difficult to give up, once it is a part of your lifestyle

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:
nothing new, just i've gotten a lot more serious about my photography

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:
probably do a walking ghost tour of New Orleans, or Savannah

22. My illness has taught me:
to slow down and enjoy your time and life, and not to stress about things you can't control

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:
is either: I'm lazy and should be looking for work or I can't do something

24. But I love it when people:
treat me like any other friend, yet accept it in stride if I have to pass on a social gathering

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:
"Be who you are and say what you feel... because those that mind don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:
life is far from over, just take the time to enjoy it every day

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:
how much my feelings (emotional and physical) can swing on a daily basis based on the previous day/night

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:
there have been many great things people have done over the years, but bringing me a good coffee, unasked, and conversation, not mentioning my illness is always high on my list :)

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:
I have an invisible illness and feel a need to help spread the word.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:
very pleased that someone took the time to learn about me.

Health-wise: Today was ok, woke and stayed a little congested -- I blame the weather change to wet and cold. Tomorrow will be better!

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