Meredith Lores (COPD)
My name is Meredith. This is my journey. I recently turned 60 years old and I’ve been an asthmatic since my early 20s and suffered bronchitis since my mid teens. I stopped smoking in November 2014, after 40 years. I knew after 6 months of ongoing chest infections, it was was something I had to do. In February 2015, I was diagnosed with moderate COPD, and in November, with mild sleep apnea.
I felt I needed a GP who was more proactive, so I found my awesome GP who is very proactive. I then changed my Thoracic Physician again to one who is extremely proactive and I haven’t looked back. When I was diagnosed with depression, that was an issue for me. I was morbidly obese, not exercising at all. I thought I have a lung disease and couldn’t do much. I couldn’t have been so wrong. I was told my breathing may improve if I lost weight. Hard words to hear.
My life-changing journey began with the amazing support of my family, GP, Practice Nurse and Thoracic Physician.
The thought of walking far or up a hill terrified me. So I began walking 30 minutes (less than a kilometre – very, very slowly), started doing 4 gentle exercises, and started my diet. In November 2016, I attended pulmonary rehabilitation at RBWH and loved it. The staff were fantastic. The sessions went on for 8 weeks in a group environment with exercises that were tailored for me. The educational side was excellent. I followed that with Lungs In Action exercise, which I really enjoyed and have continued to do so twice a week. It’s been nearly 12 months since my journey started, and I’ve lost 45 kilos and I am walking 4 kilometres per day. I can now run up 2 flights of stairs as part of my walk. Hills are still challenging for me, but now I have a go. I have learnt to pace myself and think about my breathing. Everyone is so different, but for me, my life is so much better now. I love walking. I can now manage my COPD better.
My advice to anyone who has been diagnosed with COPD is to:
- find a proactive GP and/or Thoracic Physician if you don’t have one
- do pulmonary rehabilitation as soon as possible, after your diagnosis
- follow this up with Lungs In Action (exercise classes)
- exercise daily
You won’t look back. Remember, it may not be as hard as you think.