Don Nichols overcomes COPD everyday. I met Don at 24 Hour Fitness. He was on oxygen and walking fairly slow on the treadmill. When we got to talking he told me how much improvement he had made. He had made this improvement by walking. I was so impressed. Many people just do not take charge of their health.
Don had ignored his symptoms of COPD till it was so bad he had to be intubated on the ventilator in ICU for a week. When he was stable he heard the Doctor tell him, “We will make you comfortable with steroids and anti-depressants”. Don sat on the sofa for two years not wanting to live if this was the way it was going to be, not able to walk across the room without having to rest. He watched his Granddaughter in the afternoons and could not get her if she decided not to come.
The beginning of his life change began with a trip to Walmart. A young girl walked up to Don and asked him if she could pray for him to be better. He agreed. He decided to to act on the idea of being better. He did research on the internet. He looked into the idea of a lung transplant. The lungs do not last as long as other transplant surgeries so he decided that the idea of respiratory rehab might be the way to go. He also found the drug Spiriava on line. He went to his Doctor and asked him if he thought these things might be an option for him. The doctor said, “Rehab could be good and he would look into this new drug and see if it could be an option for him. He started taking Spiriva along with Symbicort, Singulair and Prednisone.
It was a slow process. He began with rehab. Then he saw that his insurance would pay for a gym membership. When Don started going to the gym, he walked to the front desk and rested. Then he walked around the track resting as he went till he got to the treadmills in the back where he walked at the rate of 1.7 mph on the treadmill.
This was ten years ago. There were victories along the way that encouraged the action it took to make the next step towards health. About five years ago Don had to run all over the pulmomologist office to get his blood oxygen low enough to get a prescribtion for oxygen to use during his cardio workout at the gym. Four years ago it was the end of his daily use of oxygen. In fact he has not had to use oxygen in the last two years and he is off the daily use of prednisone. Don’s oxygen level is 98% most of the time.
The biggest factor besides walking at least five days a week at the gym is what goes on in his thought life. Everyday he says, “I feel healthy,happy and terrific!” He said this everyday from the first day of his recovery. We can pray for a healing in our lives but then we must claim that healing. We cannot wait till you feel like walking or taking on what ever change you need to act upon till we feel like doing it.
One of the other activities that keeps Don going is his love of the game of golf. It is a sport that gets him outside, moving and in the company of good friends.
Another reason in Don feeling and overcoming COPD is his weight loose of nearly 70 pounds. It was not over night. First he lost from 260 pounds to 225 pounds. About three years he lost down to 200 pounds, a weight lose that he maintained for a year and the he lost 10 more.
He no loner walks 1.7 mph on the treadmill, sometimes I catch him going 4 mph. He lefts more weight now.
We got married a year ago on September 22, 2010 and I am writing this for Don because he is at work today. He drives a van part-time with a doctor and a speech therapist that do swallow tests. When he is not at work of course weather permitting he plays golf four day a week.
We decided we wanted to tell this story because the disclaimer on the medications for COPD are not the whole story. No, they do not cure COPD. But their regular use can aid you in the life changing steps to OVERCOME not just get progressively worse.