For COPD, Bronchiectasis Asthma or Respiratory sufferers



Miracles can happen. I promise.

When we shun our own darkness (the sadness, the anger, the pain, the frustration and its depths), we feel disconnected from the universe. Isolated. I know how this feels.

Out of my whole journey to date, last year from October 2018 until about January 2019, it’s probably the worst I have ever felt. For some reason, my immune system and body was in complete shut down. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t know how to deal with it. Usually proactive, I just stopped caring. I felt a despair. I felt like quitting and giving up on everything. I was despondent and I really didn’t know what to do.

But fast forward to March 2019 and I truly feel the light as a feather again. And to keep it real, I’m not bouncing off walls with a false sense of happiness. Of course I have days, where I just feel emotionally crappy. Everyone has those. However most days, I have a sense of gratitude, more content and happier for the little things.

Continue reading “Miracles can happen. I promise.”

It gets better. Trust me.

I always wanted to be in a position where I could write not just from a positive place, but an encouraging yet realistic mindset. Good things don’t always last, but neither do bad things. So it’s probably ideal that I’ve come straight ‘off my mat’ and into writing this post because I’ve just meditated and my creative juices are flowing.

Each year I’m amazed at how much growth and opportunity comes through adversity. And also if you proactively seek it (meaning don’t just wait until bad things happen or become complement).

I could’ve sworn about 2 months ago, that I felt I’d never get out the bottomless pit I thought I was in. Too much had happened in a short space of time over 3 months, where I was in hospital twice, and I was going through extreme physical and mental pain. I felt like I died a little bit inside and was destroying my own self-worth with my harsh thoughts. It was, once again, eye-opening, it was like I’d lost all hope and a reason for living, and that opens up an abyss of extreme suffering.

I really thought I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t serve a purpose on this earth, that I was a burden to my family, that I wasn’t worth loving, that no one would ever love me, that all my efforts were useless, that I was stuck, that I was going no where, that I was helpless… and more. You see there was an endless list and I was MASSIVELY catastrophizing. Many people do that and sometimes aren’t even aware of how much they’re destroying themselves.

Yet this changed. And nothing in particular has happened or good events have ‘come my way’ in order for me to feel somewhat positive or to be in a different mindset. And I realised, it’s the good old cliche of ‘time heals’, mental strength, clarity and unconditional love for the self.

I’ve also had very good health in January, so a great start to the new year! Virtually no symptoms of COPD and my breathing has been exceptional! So I’m hoping that this is the turning point, from the feeding tube I had before (it’s gone now -yay!) . The nutritional support has been there, I’ve gained some weight and I feel stronger physically and mentally. Like I can resume life with much better health again!

I began to understand that suffering, like well-being, is essentially an interior state and understanding that is a pre-requisite to a life worth living.

Continue reading “It gets better. Trust me.”

Top reasons to keep going and never give up

Life can be tough, huh? Healthy and privileged people can still feel unhappy (and entitled to) or encounter things/events that are life-changing, hungry for understanding the meaning of life. Unhealthy or underprivileged e.g less well-off, an ethnic minority, disabled, ill, in poverty etc- the obstacles just got harder.

But yet, there’s still a strength in human-beings that I’m in complete awe of. Top reasons to keep going below. As you can imagine, I’ve been on a reading marathon lately (unsurprising), given the ‘existential crisis’, depression and events I had gone through. I am not afraid to admit this because I learned from my workplace just how common depression can be (1 in 3)- and from my condition, knew there was a chance of this anyway.

So self-discovery and ‘answers’ are always something I’m exploring. But not just as a result of crisis. Out of interest too. Human pyschology fascinates me. Anyway, here’s me writing paragraphs and paragraphs, when I wanted the purpose of this blog piece to be a digestible, bite-sized listicle haha.

It is to inspire you, to motivate you and to remind you- not all is lost. Some of it is my own thinking, others from my memory and collection of other amazing authors (but too many to count), so I hope I’m not plagiarising, but if you recognise it already, it might be because you too have also read the book or come across similar quotes! And reminder here, that nothing is ever really original (otherwise, how else would you learn?? ;)) but, what’s important is that it’s about your nuance, stamp on it and interpretation.

Continue reading “Top reasons to keep going and never give up”

How to still kick-ass, even with a chronic condition

What can I say? Every time I think I’ve faced the worst of it, something crazier happens and then more of me realised just how resilient a human-being can be.

You see, over the last few months, I haven’t had the easiest time, even with all my ‘lessons’ and perspective on life. Once again, I got hospitalised in October because lo and behold, it’s winter, and unsurprisingly, this is a vulnerable period for those with chronic illnesses. Prior to that, for the first time, I’d been experiencing a form of depression and anxiety at its deepest levels, to the point where I was overthinking, all day, every day, too paralysed to move and having panic attacks about going out in public. It was like this for two months.

Anyone that knows me, recognises this is not a ‘me thing to do’. I think I’d just got to the point where I was fed up, sick of ‘fighting’ the constant ailments, tired of how easy it was for me to get ill, experiencing both physical and emotional pain like never before. The low energy was making me tired and I was in a vicious cycle of self-loathing, constant criticism and hated not having a ‘normal’ life. I kept telling myself I wasn’t out there living life, missed out on career opportunities, couldn’t travel much, hadn’t socialised for months and I had severe cabin fever. Almost every individual has some form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), especially in winter periods, and with a chronic condition, its like that x 100.

And what I didn’t expect was to be put on a feeding tube for 3 months, this was the icing on the cake. And I couldn’t stop crying, every single day. Every ounce of pain I could feel, from the weak body, swollen throat, struggles at swallowing about 20 pills day, the emotional prison I’d created for myself thinking I’d be destined to this ‘low’ quality of life forever. I couldn’t even talk much to my own family, was silent, wanted to sleep and not wake up. That’s how severe it was. I didn’t think I’d be ending 2018 like this, especially after the year I’d already had.

But as always, it gave me ample opportunity to read lots and lots, get counselling sessions, work through my emotions and as they say, once you hit rock bottom, you have no where else to go but up. So I wanted to share my views and things that you can do, to lift yourself out of what seem like the darkest periods in your life ever. Plus an awesome reading list, that will help you get there.

Continue reading “How to still kick-ass, even with a chronic condition”

Being free and being healthy

In my last post, I acknowledged that I needed to write an equal amount of posts that were about happiness (not just me venting when something bad happens). And of course,  to continue with my main purpose of writing this blog- helping others, providing advice and practical tips.

Also pleased to report that after a two-week stint in hospital, my chest and breathing is the best it has ever been for what feels like about 3 or 4 months. The ‘sacrifice’ was worth it as the intensive treatment managed to kill off any bugs I had. I no longer feel like I’m suffocating. And it’s just a reminder, more and more that one should be in touch with their body, more intuitive if they can, and to listen to their body. This is a hard job and I thought I was ‘qualified’, but I’m not. I also had to let go of my stubborn nature and listen to others properly including my doctor who was keen to treat me and look after me properly. He knows my stance on over-use of antibiotics, but in this case it was necessary. And he was also right.

A good way to think of this, is that most extreme spiritualists will vilify ‘western’ approaches and modern medication, but the truth is, without it, humans wouldn’t be living as long as they are living. Some spiritualists are too inward looking, the ‘western’ approach can be too outward looking. Balance is what is needed. You need both e.g. you can’t just sit and meditate all day think peace, health, tranquility and harmony will just arrive. Some action is required e.g. effort is required for you to have a good diet, exercise etc.

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When things thing seem to majorly fuck up

Sometimes I question myself when I’m writing at the time of when bad or negative things happen. And it’s a mental note to myself to be more mindful and write, record and share happy things too!

But it often makes sense, because you go deep within , start reflecting like a maniac and are in complete exasperation when things majorly fuck up.Then you just want to meditate, journal, shift and write the negative energy away, so that’s what I’m doing!

And it’s not that chronic sufferers (ahem, warriors) should get special VIP treatment when bad things happen, because bad things happen to everyone, not just us. But sometimes you’re thinking- GOD DAMN it, this is just NOT FUCKING FAIR.

All summer, I had been struggling with a couple of common cold/flu infections due to COPD making my system more vulnerable to bugs. But there was one secret lurking demon, and that came in the form of ‘psuedomonas’. It’s a superbug known to affect vulnerable immune systems such as CF, COPD/Bronchiectasis and elderly patients who are already ill. Having picked it up in May 2018, it was treated with oral antibiotics over a week. Or at least I thought so.

I had kept myself busy and was deliberately trying to, so I could circumvent the loneliness I was feeling from being a remote worker. I was trying to create social opportunities for myself, spend time with quality friends, had two weddings, a weekend hen party abroad and another wedding abroad in Greece. And a holiday yoga retreat  booked to Bali. I was excited to have a busy, full-on summer filled with fun, good company, lots of new things to explore and doing things I love with people I love. Normality was all I wanted. Interaction, human connection and good health. And it was the first year I’ve planned a lot and been ambitious since being diagnosed with COPD.

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Why you shouldn’t be complacent with COPD

When it comes to coping with a chronic condition, TRUST me, I know what it’s like to feel like giving up and turning into a piece of jelly.

Sometimes, you just have really bad days, where either you want a superhero to come along and save you (preferably in the form of Chris Hemsworth ;))  or a miracle to happen. Yet, if you’ve followed my story (check it out featured on Sunday Mirror, Real People and Network Health Digest), or blog pieces, you’ll know that I have a Buddhist mindset. Meaning- don’t react to it or become a passive bystander. Whatever you can control, you can do so with mental strength to overcome a bad situation or learn from it. Otherwise, if you literally do nothing, you will become nothing.

Besides, there’s always the rewarding/ self-actualisation feeling that comes from the link between effort and reward. Who wants to be handed something on a plate for doing nothing? It’s not a nice feeling that way.

“So tell me Kim, what is it I must do, in order to overcome or help my chronic respiratory/ COPD problem?”

Continue reading “Why you shouldn’t be complacent with COPD”

What a good COPD diet looks like

In all honesty, I think several posts are required to address this delicate area! As everyone’s body is different plus there’s a lot of conflicting or confusing information out there! For example, is milk good or bad for us COPD sufferers? Does it trigger more mucus production or is that just a myth?

Additionally, when I say it’s your own journey, it really is. For example, with my specific body weight, I have to make a conscious effort to put on weight, with COPD sufferers typically using up to 10 x more calories than an average body. Because it’s using more energy to fight, heal and repair. In some instances, people will be overweight and this puts further pressure on the organs, where you may need to lose weight.

Either way, having experimented over the years with foods that are good and bad for me, research, dietician visits and advice from my own qualified dietician cousin, I can give some insight to what I consciously try to incorporate into my diet each day.

Continue reading “What a good COPD diet looks like”

Top coping strategies for COPD

I feel my last couple of posts were heavy. But to be clear, not in an ashamed way, I feel proud of being able to be openly vulnerable. Many mindfulness masters, if you like, will encourage the idea of ‘surrendering’, being open to failure, risk and having an open heart. I really do believe it’s the key to ultimate healing, whatever life circumstances or health conditions are thrown at you. It’s the only way to grow, love and be unapologetically human.

The latter months of 2017 and beginning of 2018 had been tough for me emotionally and on my already ‘weakened’ lungs and immune system. I’d gone through a breakup, lost my grandma and went through an operation. Those have all passed now and each one has been a journey in and of itself, with huge efforts to sustain my condition.

It’s also prudent to check in with oneself, even when life isn’t being volatile, tough to cope with or if you’re generally feeling well. Only because prevention is better than cure 😉

So whilst life goes on these are the following ‘life maintenance’ and keeping-health-in- check hacks.

Continue reading “Top coping strategies for COPD”

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