When I first put fingertips to the keyboards, in my mind every post was going to deal with COPD. I had been warned to show some consistency in when and how I posted. I was further advised that it would be beneficial to the reader if I had a somewhat reliable schedule to when I would post, and once the schedule was defined to try my best to stay on schedule. Well I didn’t listen to the advice. In June of 2012 I started my blog, true to my thoughts everything I wrote dealt with COPD. I didn’t need a schedule because I was posting every day, sometimes 2 or 3 in a day. I had so much stored information, emotions and thoughts about COPD, in my brain, they just spilled out. Eight weeks and 42 posts later I am still firing on all cylinders. The pace has slowed down, I haven’t stayed true to the subject line, and I still don’t have a schedule, but I have some readers that follow me, and for them I am thankful. Having said that, this blog is still about COPD and the impact it has on me.
Sense I started blogging I have joined 2 different discussion groups. One of the discussion groups focus is on COPD and emphysema, the other is less specific, and it pretty much open to whatever is on your mind at the time you submit your post. Of these 2 groups the one on COPD and Emphysema is aptly name “COPD and Emphysema Discussion Group.” This group has 1929 members, I say again 1929 members. But only about 40 are active at any given time, and of this group of 40, twenty-five are actively participating members almost on a daily basis. I will say I am quite happy that only 40 of the 1929 are active. If I got input from even 200 members or even 100 on a given issue, that would be information overload. As it stands now, one can expect to get at least one input on any issue posted, but generally 10 to 15 posts per issue. Sometimes an issue touches so many people, and causes so much add-on conversation, that a single post will have a discussion trail with 30 to 50 responses. Within those responses you will sometimes see a sidebar conversation or dialog between 3 or more members. The group is extremely active, and it is genuinely caring.
I have learned so much in such a short time span, the impact of some of the prescribed medicines, what might be coming out, when and where COPD conferences are being held. I have learned about family members and pets, about children and grandchildren. There is always a sense of caring and belonging that permeates through the group. No question is stupid, and no answer is ridiculed. Each of these folks is going thru a unique experience, because COPD treats us all with a level of uniqueness. Most of the symptoms are the same, most of the medicines are the same, even the outcome is the same. Yet the journey is different. Some of the folks were smokers (including myself) yet many never smoked. In some cases the environment they live in has caused them great harm. Yet again in others the environment played no part.
They say by 2020 COPD will be the 3rd largest killer of people in the world, yes the world, but there is no cure, and none is on the horizon. Cancer and heart disease both rank above COPD on the list of killers, and with both cancer and heart disease an individual has the potential to survive, and many many do. With continued research COPD will someday meet its match. Doctors, researchers, and individuals suffering from COPD will finally start to bring significant change in how it is treated. Maybe thru stem cells a way will be found to generate new air bags in lungs, which would go a long way in solving this disease. The point to this is that 20 years ago COPD wasn’t even a medical term, it wasn’t recognized as a disease, you had asthma or emphysema. If you were really unlucky you had lung cancer. The world of medicine has made great progress in the last 20 years, and hopefully they make even more progress over the next 20 years. A key issue in solving the riddle of COPD is and will continue to be awareness. 30 years ago we were collectively not very aware of AIDS, but as the public awareness (and in some cases public fear) of AIDS grew so did the level of effort put forth by the government (Federal, State, City) to find a cure. A lot of progress has been made with AIDS over the last 30 years. I even heard recently that they were testing a drug that might cure an individual. Once COPD gathers that same level of public awareness then we will see a significant shift and efforts to gain a handle and find a cure will take place.
Take care and have a pleasant day, your comments are appreciated.