Josefina’s story


I hope to travel for a long time yet. There is still plenty to look forward to, even with COPD.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and was doing exercises to better manage it.

At the time I remember feeling that my breathing and endurance was not as good as the other ladies in the class.

I had minor asthma over the years, a few years of smoking and lived in a mining town for many years. A few times I had bronchitis and chest infections and finally pneumonia. It was at that stage that the report said that I had some degree of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which was later confirmed by a spirometry test.

When I was diagnosed with COPD I had to do a lot of research to find out what it was as I was not familiar with that term.

At the time I didn’t take it all that seriously, except to think that I now had to look out for something else after being diagnosed with a second disease.

Since being diagnosed, I have learnt there are many things I can do to live well with my condition. I have a small Peak Flow Meter at home which works with my iPad, so I am able to keep track of the quality of my breathing. I try to let neither COPD nor osteoporosis define me.

Thanks to pulmonary rehabilitation, I do a lot more exercise than I have probably done before. I go to the gym four times a week and do a lot of weights – even one of my favourites, the deadlift.

I also use a lot of the other machines and recently started on the step machine and have been able to improve from 66 steps to 110.

When I go on my 50 minute walk, which I do when I don’t go to the gym, I do a few minutes of jogging or until my breath is not that great anymore. I have an exercise physiologist to write my program, but I still do a lot of the exercises which the two beautiful ladies who taught us at pulmonary rehabilitation – Stella and Jo. I am now stage 3 of COPD, but I still do most of the things I did a couple of years ago.

I wish I was told earlier about the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation as I found the program very helpful – maybe doctors don’t know how useful it actually is. Anybody with COPD should have the opportunity to participate in such a program.

I hope more research is being done so that one day there might be a medication that is able to reverse or stop the progress of COPD.

My husband is a great help at home and a fantastic chef in the kitchen. He helps out with all sorts of household chores and does a lot of organising for our overseas trips. Other than travelling, I also enjoy crosswords, following politics, exercising, reading, admiring the colourful gardens when I go walking and listening to the songs of the birds.

I hope to travel for a long time yet. There is still plenty to look forward to, even with COPD.

After studying commerce, I worked for many years as an Office Manager both nationally and internationally and still do some selling on the internet to keep my mind busy and active. My husband and I have been blessed with two beautiful and successful children and four very lovely grandchildren.

Sharing your personal experience with lung disease is a compelling and inspiring way for others to learn about and cope with their diagnosis. Your story may also encourage people to identify and act on symptoms they are experiencing, which may otherwise have been ignored.

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