Thursday, November 27, 2008


COPD sucks! Don't kid yourself, smoking and enjoying that cigarette is nothing but a misconception. Unbeknown to you at the time, it will leave you with a deadly surprise, that’s if you smoke long enough.

Imagine being drafted into the military, fully knowing that you are going to be involved in battles, a war perhaps at some point.
When you come down with COPD, you are drafted for life and every minute of each day will become your battle.

You start your day with your inhalers and pills, all lined up like little soldiers on parade; then you ride into battle and knock them all down, each time knowing, that the next day and every day they will be there once again. You will do this on a daily basis for the rest of your life.

Entering the world of COPD, every single moment is a battle for your life. Once in, there is no other way out, there are no cures and the best you can do is look to slow down the progress of your COPD. You struggle for every breath you take, and even the very quality of that breath has varying levels. If you are an air retainer which a lot of people become; then that means you really cannot get a good deep breath so you end up gasping and reaching for your next breath, almost before you have finished exhaling the previous one.
By now if you’re smart, you have done something to try and handle this disease.

There are things available that will help you combat and handle your situation somewhat. Take a rehab course, for there are many places out there that put them on. A rehab course will educate you about COPD and teach you to know and how to better handle your particular situation; how to breath better and exercise thus slowing down the progress of the disease, and thereby prolonging your life.

Lately I have pictured COPD as a raft out in the middle of the ocean. The raft is only big enough to accommodate a certain number of people and already the raft is very full. Surrounding the raft are thousands of other people with COPD; all clutching to the sides of the raft trying their best to cling to life and their breathing, for the raft helps keep them afloat. The raft at this point can be their desire to live, their willingness to work and exercise, eat right, work hard to do all the right things. Slowing down the progress of COPD after all, is all that you can hope for.

There are those out there unfortunately, who have been hanging onto the sides of the raft for what seems like an interminable age. Sadly, eventually they will become too weak and distraught, losing the ability to even draw a breath and to keep a grip of the raft. Slowly they will lose the fire and willingness to hang on any longer, releasing their hold on the raft and slip away, only to make room for another eager desperate person trying so hard to grab hold.

COPD will command your attention for every minute of your waking day, for it has to if you hope to survive. Your COPD will become the biggest focal point in your life, overriding all else. It’s hard to imagine a life like that, but believe me there are millions around the world in such a predicament.

So what does your cigarette taste like now my friend? Do you still need a personal experience with COPD in order to get the message, or maybe you want to test the raft waters?



Janice Thomson said...

Gosh an excellent metaphor for this horrid disease Eric. Thanks for this info and bringing it to our attention. Take care of yourself my friend.

forsythia said...

A very vivid account of the struggle to get one's next breath. People who've had even one episode of asthma know what you're talking about.

Second-hand smoke is also an issue. Before our workplace became smoke-free, I remember the wheezing of a co-worker with chronic asthma. He asked the chain-smoker sitting next to him to please go outside to smoke. This was not yet the law, so she politely refused. She did try to help him by placing a small electric fan on her desk to blow the smoke away from him. Now we know better.

Eric Valentine said...

Thanks Janice, no one better than you knows 'a picture paints a thousand words'. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Sometimes Forsythia, it takes that kind of account to get the message out there.

I can feel for your co-worker, I remember the days of 2nd hand smoke also. So sad that a situation has to reach those heights before things start to move. :)

swenglishexpat said...

Powerful post, Eric. I can only say that I am glad I quit in 1972. Stay strong!

Eric Valentine said...

Hi Swen, I wish I had too in 72, I'd be in better shape today if that had been the case. :)

zirelda said...


My dad had emphysema when I was a kid....

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you Zirelda, sorry about your dad. (((HUGS)))

newnorth said...

very powerful post.

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you NN, good to see you here once more.. :)

Leon said...

Just stay up there on top of that raft my friend. I have been impressed by how full a life you have managed while fighting your battle with COPD. I hope this post somehow gets read far and wide, not by those with COPD but by young smokers who might get the message and quit now. Thank you for sharing your battle and your thoughts & words.

zirelda said...

It's ok Eric.

I am a smoker. I don't admit it very often. Never on my blog because I know.

I am making a plan to quit. I tried once this last summer and it didn't work out but I'm working harder at it this time.

Wish me luck.

GutsyWriter said...

I'm new to your blog and read your very well written description of this disease. I wish you'd publish it in an on-line magazine for others to read. Young people could benefit.
I grew up in Africa, Paris and the UK, where everyone smoked, including my parents. Fortunately, my Father made a deal with me that if I didn't smoke till I was 18, he'd give me 1,000 French francs. That was in the 70's. Then when I turned 18, he said he'd double it if I didn't smoke till 21. I didn't and never asked him for the money as I knew he'd done me a huge favor. So now at 51, I can say, I'm lucky, I've never even tried one cigarette. I do enjoy wine though. I wish you all the best in your quest to fight the disease.

Eric Valentine said...

Leon my friend, thank you so much for your kind words and the confidence you instill in me.

I agree that young folks would hopefully get something from what I wrote, you have given me an idea though, I will keep you informed if something works out. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Hello Zirelda, there's no shame to knowing a person smokes. What the world awaits is what they are trying to do about that, like yourself. I wrote a blog about my struggle, maybe you could read it and get an idea for yourself?

Go to the label & click COPD read the blog
battle-cry. :)

See what you think, a person will only succeed though if they really are motivated to quit, but you can do it.. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Hello GutsyWriter,thank you for your visit here, you are welcome anytime.

Thank you for your comments on my writing.

I will look into getting it posted elewhere online, any suggestions? I totally agree over the young folks, I've even written poetry to that end too. :)

That was a very good thing that your father did with you, a wise man knowing the downfalls of smoking, I am so glad that between you both it worked for you.

Please visit again, I will pop over to your blog and have a read. :)

zirelda said...

Thank you Eric. I will read that post. I want to beat this. I dont' want to be a slave to an addiction.

Eric Valentine said...

Good for you Z, I just hope it helps in some way.. Hang tough.. :)

Anonymous said...

There is now a new quit smoking drug available in the market. This latest breakthrough is known as Chantix. It is able to help smokers snub out their addiction by working on the brain.

Eric Valentine said...

Thanks adelen, for the info, there have been many smoking 'solutions' before, one would hope that sooner or later somebody will get it right.. Good luck..