Breathing Better Living Well



Welcome to the May Update from Breathing Better Living Well!

Happy (almost) summer!
I don't know about you but for me - living here in West Michigan, especially in Holland - when it starts getting warm and sunny, I try to spend every minute I can outside. The winters here are long and we pretty much don't count on seeing the sun at all in the month of January (if it shines for even a few minutes it's a huge bonus and we stop everything we're doing and stare out the window. Yes. Seriously!). Anyway, in the spring, we come out of our homes as if we're bears emerging from our caves. But, you know what? The days are so nice, it's worth the wait. Ahhhh.....

When spring and summer come, it's time to clean up the yard and hit the garden - raking, planting, fertilizing - all that stuff. But for some of you - many of you, in fact - yardwork is difficult at best, leaving you breathless, exhausted...and frustrated over what you can no longer do. And I've got to tell you that time after time, new patients coming into our pulmonary rehab program say more than anything else -- they want to be able to get back out there and do yard work and gardening. 

Here's a true story. Leona, a patient in our Pulmonary Rehab program came in one day really disappointed - and actually, quite peeved. She said, "Tammy, my daughter, told me my gardening days are over. Done! She won't let me do it anymore. She says I get too out of breath. That makes me so mad!" 

"Oh my," I said. "I know she's just trying to help. She worries about you, Leona."

Leona was still peeved.

"Hmmmm..." I said, I'm sure you can still to do 
something - you just have to learn how, pace yourself, and breathe the right way as you do it. We'll figure it out." 

So I Googled "COPD and Gardening," and found some great information. I copied it and gave it to Leona. I said, "Show this to Tammy when you see her on Sunday and let me know how it goes."


We'll catch up with Leona and Tammy later, but on with our update...Our theme this month is "Let’s Get Out There!" We're going to talk a bit about how, in spite of limitations from lung disease, you can still do some yardwork and gardening. 

Gardening and COPD
Here's a link to the information I gave to Leona: 
Gardening and COPD . And here are two more: The Healing Garden and Tips for Gardening with Allergies  Take a look. Even if you find just one or two tips or techniques that work for you, it could make a big difference in helping you keep on doing what you want to do. 

New articles just posted on Health Central 

It's Just Asthma is the true, tragic story of a child lost to asthma. This is a must read for anybody who knows a child with asthma.
COPD: It's Not Just for Men Anymore is an update on COPD in women and the similarities and differences between women and men with COPD. 

Nutrition and COPD
People with COPD and other chronic lung disease often ask how they can eat to breathe well. Here’s some excellent information from the folks at Cleveland Clinic on
Nutrition for COPD about how our bodies use food and what we can do to be healthy and breathe as easy as possible with COPD. It's important to know that some people with COPD have to work to keep their weight up – not off. Being underweight with COPD can put you on a slippery slope, so don't be too skinny! If you are very thin with COPD, here are some good tips on how to keep your weight up. Just scroll down to “tips for gaining weight” and “high calorie snacks.”

Your Heart and Salt
And, what’s all this talk about salt? A while back I interviewed Sandra Parkington, MPH,RN, an expert on heart health and sodium. Take a look at the interview, Your Heart and Salt. I'm sure you'll learn something new. I know I did! 

Water drinking is very important, especially when you have COPD. It helps your mucous stay thin and easy to cough up, it’s good for your kidneys, your skin and, well…it’s just good for you! Here’s a fun little piece about water drinking with COPD.

Free Booklet! The Guide to Better Breathing is loaded with information about living well with COPD. It’s beautifully done, easy to understand – and it’s free! Call 1-800-231-6568. Don't pass this one up!

What's New?
Come on over and visit our 
Newly Remodeled BBLW Bookstore! We’ve added more sections making things easier to find. Remember - in addition to books and products listed in our store, you can order anything (and almost everything!) from Amazon through either the Amazon portals on our home page or our bookstore and a few cents from each purchase will help us maintain the BBLW website. We really appreciate your support!

I'm always on the lookout for good books and products to help you breathe better. I'm reviewing one right there's more to come!

Our featured books this month are ...books that have nothing at all to do with your breathing. Here are two of my favorites!

Go to the BBLW bookstore and click on Just Great Reads and Great Escapes 

      .            For the guys: Forty Cars that Owned Me by Patrick Nowak

      .            For the ladies: A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson

Monitor your Oxygen level at home
More and more people are getting these handy little gadgets to their oxygen at home. The $99.00 Nonin GO2 Oximeter is well-made, durable, affordable, and will keep you on track by telling you your oxygen level. You can find the GO-2 at the top of our BBLW Bookstore and also in the “products” section.

Go in Style - Finally!
Do you use liquid oxygen, such as Helios? Stephanie, the inventor of O2 Totes, has designed 
a stylish bag for liquid oxygen! Scroll down to the “Products” section in the BBLW Bookstore and take a look! If you have to tote you O2, you may as well look good doing it! :-)

Visit us on Facebook
Breathing Better Living Well is on Facebook and we’ve got over 400 fans! Thanks to all of you who've shown your trust and support in our great site. Visit the BBLW Facebook Page!

Got a question?  
The BBLW "Ask the RT" forum is staffed by one or two of our six RT's each day Monday through Friday. Stop in and get to know Larry, Jen, Sandy, Craig, Kim and Jane (that's me). We love to hear from you! Go to our Community page and you'll find the forum. Anybody and everybody can read info on our Community page, but to ask a question or make a comment, you have to be a member. This is easy to do and of course, free of charge. In addition to our wonderful RT's, at least one member of our BBLW team is on the site every single day. We're there... and we care.

Relaxing -
1.) Learn
Here are Ten short articles on Panic and Anxiety with COPD by Dr. Vijai Sharma, clinical psychologist, yoga expert and COPD patient. Read, learn, and practice.

2.) Do
...Maybe you're lucky enough to actually have an old fashioned porch swing. But even if you don't, you can go out onto your virtual porch, sit back on the swing, and close your eyes. Then take a nice breath in through your nose (count 1-2) and blow it all out through pursed lips (count 1-2-3-4). Then…Listen to the Rain. Ahhhhhhh..............

 ~~~~ So, what ever happened with Leona? Well, just last week she came into rehab, beaming. “Tammy stopped by yesterday with a bunch of flowers. We’re going to plant them in pots out on the deck. I don't have to get down on the ground, I can just sit on a stool and do it. I’ll have my garden after all!”

Thanks to a little research and some creative thinking Leona will have a garden again this year. It might be smaller, it might be different, but it’s still something she can work on and enjoy.

That's all for now. I hope you like the picture of my iris, above, and our little birdbath. It's a joy to watch the robins come along on a hot, dry day -- drink and splash and then fly away, refreshed. Simple pleasures!

BreatheWell today, my friends. If the weather’s nice where you are, do your best to get yourself out there. I’ll see you next month - and until then I’ll try to do the same.


"No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn."
~~~ Hal Borland








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