Lung disease is not always caused by our own bad habits. There are people with Cystic Fibrosis, COPD, Lung Cancer, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Asthma, and Mesothelioma. In fact, according to the Lung Foundation there are over thirty types of lung disease.
Whether or not a person has smoked, he or she can suffer one of the many lung diseases.
The Stigma of Lung Disease
Over 40% of people with lung disease feel there is a stigma from the view that lung diseases are self-inflicted and smoking-related.
Not always true.
However, from my experience using oxygen, I would have to agree with that statement. There is a stigma. The reaction of some people when I am out, usually in a shopping centre, is varied. Some people are embarrassed and look away, a few smile, while others clearly are repelled by the sight of me using oxygen.
For most people with lung disease, before oxygen therapy, breathing could be likened to trying to breathe through a plastic bag.
Oxygen and Lung Disease
Not everyone who has lung disease uses oxygen. The criteria for being prescribed oxygen is much more than breathlessness. There is a series of tests which are done to assess whether or not oxygen will help. If it will help, a respiratory physician will determine how often and how much oxygen will need to be used.
I need oxygen 24/7, and this is described as palliative care. However, on ‘good’ days I have a reasonably normal life. Getting used to trailing around an 18 metre (59 foot) tube was a challenge and is quite a ‘trip hazard.’ But it is one that can be met.
(I share my experiences, the challenges and solutions in Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube.)
Use it or lose it
This common term really is true when it comes to living with chronic illness whether it be lung disease, back problems, or many of the debilitating conditions that make us reluctant to move.
It is not easy to make the effort some days. Especially the days when it is a struggle to breathe, or when the herniated disks make walking difficult.
This is the key – the attitude of the person with lung disease, and those who care for them. It is natural to grieve the loss of ability, but it is not wise to become bogged down in self-pity. And it happens. However, life with lung disease, whether on oxygen or not, can be quite fulfilling. Some days it is more of a challenge than others. But rise to the challenge. And if you are someone who supports/cares for someone with one of the many varieties of this disease, recognize the difficulties, don’t gloss over them. Then encourage your ‘someone’ to become involved… join a club, write an article, or take up a hobby. And be aware, there will be many days when going outside the home is not possible.
However, it is true… Life with lung disease can be fulfilling.
About the writer:
Susan M B Preston is the author of several award-winning Biblical fiction novels.
The Apostle John Series
Hold the Faith (1st in the series. Award winner)
Grow in Grace (2nd in the series)
Light of Truth (3rd in the series. Award winner)
Keep the Flame (4th in the series. Double Award winner)
Hell Shall Not Prevail (5th in the Apostle John Series.)
Shadow of the Past (coming soon.)