I never even knew what COPD was until my Mom's diagnosis a few years back. I wish I had never heard of it. It's a vicious, evil diagnosis. And it's slowly killing her.
She's always been a feisty one, my Mom has. Active, slim, always busy, always running from point A to point B. Growing up, she hated driving, so she walked everywhere. Grocery store, bank, 5 & 10, if she had errands to run, she walked there. I remember when I got my drivers license, she pretty much stopped driving and relied on me to take her where she needed to go if it wasn't in walking distance. She was never one to sit still.
A smoker from the age of 13, she has no one to blame but herself. Years and years of smoking have taken a terrible toll on her lungs. She now has 30% lung capacity. Go get a straw out of your pantry. Now put it in your mouth and try to breathe through the straw. Forever. That's how my Mom's COPD is now.
This past weekend I went up to visit with Mom in New Jersey. On Saturday, we walked from her apartment to a little breakfast place about a block from where she lives. When we got back, I took her out grocery shopping, and when we got back from the store, I took her to church. Those 3 tasks completely wiped her out for the day. Thanks, COPD. Thanks for slowly destroying my Mom's life. She struggles to breathe in the hot weather, she struggles to breathe after a trip down the hall to the trash chute in her building. She struggles to breathe when getting into and out of the car. She's on oxygen 24/7/365. She'll miss my daughter's high school graduation because she's paralyzed with the fear that her oxygen will run out and she won't be able to breathe.
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an ugly, awful disease and it's slowly taking my Mother away from me, one breath at a time. I don't know how many more Mothers Days we'll have left to celebrate together, but I will cherish every moment I spend with her, every phone call, every precious minute I can get. This disease will eventually take her from me. But my Mom's such a fighter, she won't go easily. She'll struggle, she'll battle, she'll fight to breathe. Until she can't breathe any longer.
I thank God every day that she doesn't have cancer from all the years of smoking. But make no mistake, I hate COPD with a passion, because it's slowly, painfully taking my Mom away from me. So if you are reading this and you are a smoker, for the love of God please stop. The minutes of pleasure you get from smoking now will eventually lead to pain, struggle, suffering for both you and your loved ones down the road.
Happy Mothers Day, Mom. I love you and I wish I could breathe for you.
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