Introducing Your Family to COPD
By Bill Justice
So you have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and you are wondering what the next step is. Besides, readjusting your lifestyle to control the disease, the most important thing you must do is inform your family. This can be a difficult task and it is hard to know how they will take the news until you tell them. But it’s something that has to be done both for you and for them.
After you have told them the news of your illness, the next step is to inform them on what the disease is, what kind of treatment you will need, and how it will affect your life both in the short term and long term. Here are some reasons why it is important to let your family know your situation:
1. They should be aware of your condition in case there is an emergency. It is easier to get you the help you need if they are aware of what is wrong.
2. The quicker you tell them, the quicker they can adjust to your new lifestyle and the more they will be able to help you get through any tough times.
3. It will be easier for them to plan family activities that include you if they know your condition and your limitations.
4. Knowing your condition will help them to know what they need to do to make you comfortable and deal with the diagnosis.
There is no reason why your diagnosis should affect your family life. There are many things that you can do as a family to make it work out for everyone. Just be honest and straightforward with them and, although it may take time for them to get over the initial shock and to adjust, there are things you can do to help them come around.
1. Remember that you are the same person you were before the diagnosis.
2. Don’t let your mind get the better of you. You felt one way before you were diagnosed, all of a sudden, you feel worse after the diagnosis. This may not be a coincidence, it may be a case of mind over matter. Before you were told you were sick, you felt normal, but when you found out you were sick, you focused on that so much, you actually made yourself sick. Try and forget about being sick, take as small roadblock that can be overcome by just continuing on with your life as you lived it before and think positive. This will reflect on everyone else around you too.
3. Don’t treat any limitation that develops over the course of your illness as the end of the world. Search for other things you can do in the place of things you can no longer do.
4. Don’t assume you can’t do something because of your illness. Always try first and if you succeed, great! If you don’t, than at least you tried and can now move on to the next test.
It is possible to live a normal family life with COPD, it’s just a matter of working together!