MY DIET NIGHTMARE – But I’m doing it, well sort of!!

This ties in with Step 5, 6, 8 of the COPD Solution post


Well started my diet on the 15th March and have lost 10lb up to now. Can’t believe that I have managed to stick through this. Since I stopped smoking 4 years ago I have been totally addicted to food and any attempt to diet was scuppered by myself and my need for sweet and fatty food. But no more, I have been enjoying eating healthily now and also find that I enjoy my meals better because I am not eating anything that I am not supposed to eat. However, I have decided to do a more calorie controlled diet this time so that if there is anything that I really fancy one day I can immediately count for it. Also I am going to try fasting for one day a week and try all sorts of different dieting tricks to keep me interested. I will post them on this post and this will be an evolving post so please keep coming back because it will be updated regularly.

My Shopping Basket

1915613_10204315133479086_8499442798078363292_nWell my shopping basket this week was filled with much better healthier stuff and if my son will keep his hands off it, I won’t go hungry. He annoys me because he is underweight but as soon as I start buying in healthy stuff he eats it. The bird’s eye steam fresh veg are really great when you are having a bad day and don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen. Last night I had fresh baby carrots, mashed10364063_10204315133199079_617427517448159017_n potato and chicken breast. Will a little oxo gravy, it was delicious and if I had been feeling a bit off it I would have used the microwave veg instead. My favourite frozen selection at the moment in Morrison’s is the Veg cupboards lol. I said to my daughter if you see a rabbit hopping towards you next week that will be me!

I really hope that this effort combined with exercise will help my breathing which is terrible at the moment. Lets see eh?

Exercise Too – You cant get away without this!

Link to Exercise images

Will be incorporating exercise just a little bit, with my diet, it so helps the breathing and I have never really 100% committed myself to this before so its about time. I might throw in some Yoga breathing at some point but  I will record my exercise in the above link, so lets see how we go?

Saturday 26th March – Diet News – Feeling the Benefit!

I discovered Kale! Bought some in Iceland yesterday and googled it to see the best way todownload cook it and found it is a super food, full of nutrients and anti inflammatory properties. So am going to have some every day. Need to steam it or best results, I boiled it yesterday and it was a bit chewy so let you know how I get on cooking it in different ways. Feel better this morning than I have for a long time. Was not out of breath when I came downstairs. Usually I am reaching for the inhaler! When I didn’t do this, I realised that I had managed to have bath without getting out of breath too. Its funny how you only notice the moments you are really out of breath and when something good happens like your breathing improves a little, it doesn’t register straight away. So, now I am wondering if its the weight I have lost that’s improved my breathing or the food I am eating or not eating, if you get the drift. Well whatever it is I am keeping going with this and my respiratory breathing exercises and see how far I go.

The 10-Step Programe – does it work?

Ten Steps – Ten Weeks

I bought this book after seeing a very small review of it on another blog and it has been well worth the money I paid for it. It can be bought through Ebay for around £11.


The author states –

The COPD Solution is a comprehensive, 10 step program for managing life with chronic lung disease. It bridges the gap between merely surviving, or just getting through each day and completely thriving. its about treating, educating and implementing life saving modifications for anyone suffering with COPD. Dawn also says, that when you hear the rest of Linda’s story you will cry tears of your own and maybe, for the first time you will feel hope for yourself or your loved one.

images (14)The first thing I will do before starting any of the program is the 6 min walk test and I will post the results in the section Exercising and COPD, it gives you a base measurement to go by. I will try to do a video as well so when I have finished the course I can compare videos with progress that I have made. I will measure a 75 feet circle or length in my room (as described in the book) and walk as far as I can do without stopping and at the end of the 6 mins measure how far I have actually managed to walk in the 6 mins taking the stops into account. Its very similar to the way I have been doing my cycling which I started at the beginning of January. I did 15 mins cycling. At first it took me about 30 mins to do 15 mins cycling I was so breathless and just before I had to stop because I was ill, I was managing 15 mins in less than 20 mins.So I was slowly improving.

The book covers food that makes it more difficult to breath, so you will be taught what and what not to eat. How to become stronger, you will learn about your oxygen and about using energy. You will learn about your muscles and how your body uses oxygen and how to properly breath, how you got this disease and what has happened inside your lungs so you can better understand what your struggle is and how to cough the right way to bring up the mucus and how to take your meds properly so they will be more effective.

Dawn Fielding explained to Linda that by carrying out her program she would expect her to dramatically improve on her present performance. Lets see if I do! I need my breath for singing. After reading this book would I recommend it? Yes I would indeed it was worth every penny, they should give it out on the NHS! The following is a run down on the books’ contents, what are you getting for your money?


The appendix

At the rear of the book you will find a lot of trackers and organisers  that you can photocopy and fill in to help you organise certain aspects of your COPD. A good idea if you like writing things down.

Step One – Coming to Terms with COPD

Step one of the 10-week plan is Making Peace with COPD, I have mentioned this myself at length in the section Coming to Terms with Your Diagnosis. Before I could move forward and make any sense of this illness I had to come to terms with what I had, how bad it was and really look the dragon in the face. Many different emotions are felt at this point the main one is grief, the loss of something but you are not alone these feelings are common among many people with life changing illnesses. What helped me was reaching out for help, meeting people who were in the same boat as myself, joining support groups etc. The author explains this step very well and talks about fear, depression and anxiety also. Well, it looks like I have worked through this step without any help from the book already, so I can move on to the next step.

Step Two – Oxygen Therapy

Step two is oxygen therapy. In the USA a lot of people are on oxygen therapy, they use it a great deal more than we do in Great Britain, we do get given it eventually but our specialists tend to wait and see if you pick up on your own after pulmonary rehab. As long as your 02 stats are above 90 or so when resting they are happy. You can get dependent on oxygen, when I am in hospital and recovering from a bad chest infection I need some supplemental oxygen and its surprising how quickly you become dependent on it. They then wean me off it as soon as they can and usually when I go home my oxygen sats are at 94 and rise to 97 after a short time. However, when oxygen is really needed it is vital to use it because your main organs can be affected by lack of oxygen, such as your heart! It’s a very good section that she has written on oxygen and covers all the delivery methods and sleep apnea also.

Step Three – The 3p’s Patience, Pacing and Persistence your 3 Best Friends

Downward-spiralThe next step is about breathing exercises and ways to breath to help you recover quicker. Its a great chapter. She starts by explaining that your stress levels directly impact your lung disease and your ability to breath. This is called the cycle of dyspnea, referred to as the COPD Downward Spiral. When you struggle to breath, your stress levels naturally increase, which makes it more difficult to breath and repeat, repeat, if you get the jist of it. She explains controlled breathing techniques which I do at times and I have done a section on some of this already. Controlled breathing actually releases endorphins in your body, dilating blood vessels and increasing blood supply to the tissues, lowering, heart rate and blood pressure. Controlled breathing is pursed lip breathing which I use a lot, belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) and positioning. The belly breathing is practiced during singing so that is why singing is so good for you. Its the only way I can do the diaphragmatic breathing properly. You need to practice these things on a daily basis. These are some sections on my blog that cover breathing …. Breathing, Breathing  and Exercise, Breathing 4. I practice these different types of breathing all the time, my sons always complaining, ‘do you have to make that noise’, I just ignore him and get on with it.

Step Four – Conserve your Energyimages (11)

I have covered this already on my blog a number of times and it is important to pace yourself and it is also important to relax and meditate. The following links have all got within them ideas for conserving your energy and getting the most out of each day –

Making the most of every day
COPD, how to claw some  of your life back
If you want the rainbow you have to put up with the rain
The spoon theory

The author of the book has some great ideas and advice so it’s well worth reading this section.

Step Five – Prevent Flare-Ups: Use Your Meds Effectively

This is another useful chapter, it is very important to use your meds effectively. It is very complex and there are so many medications that I really do not cover this on my blog because I am not a medical person. I learnt a few things when I read this chapter one was the existence of another medication that I knew nothing about. However, it doesn’t come without a number of possible side effects. It is called Daliresp and this is the brand name for the prescription drug, roflumilast, which is a phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor used in cases of severe COPD to reduce the number of exacerbations.

Dawn also explains about the importance of having peak flow readings daily. I know this is important for spotting when an exacerbation is on its way but I hate doing these peak flows. At the rear of the book you will find an appendix which contains lots of different forms for you to use especially tracking charts. These can be photocopied and used to help you plot your peak flow readings. There are a lot of forms which are referred to in this chapter such as your COPD Action Plan and I am sure that I will use a lot of these forms.

Step Six – Pulmonary Rehab

Pulmonary Rehab is described as the key to the COPD solution

The author uses inspiring quotes at the start of each chapter which I like and this is the one for this particular chapter which I find very motivating –

When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs, and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self loving. (Kim McMillen)

This chapter is very important in the book because from experience and also from many other peoples’ experience, exercise is the key to regaining a chunk of your mobility back. I like the quote because although exercise is one of the main things you can do to improve your life it is also very hard. The author states that Pulmonary Rehab is designed to  –

“support your circle of therapies, to help slow the progression of your lung disease, improve your daily life and decrease your symptoms, ask your doctor for a referral to Pulmonary Rehab…Pulmonary rehab is designed to improve your physical, emotional and psychological health.”

The Anxiety/Dyspnea Deconditioning Cycle

In plain English this means that when you are very out of breath you can become anxious and in this situation you will refrain from carrying on with whatever you were doing when this happened.  It could be perhaps just walking to the door, going downstairs for a cup of tea on an evening or maybe just hanging the washing out. When this happens and you stop doing these things you become more breathless as you are less fit. I think this can happen particularly after an exacerbation or a stay in hospital, that is why you feel that you never quite get back to your pre exacerbation state. You are mainly just out of condition due to being sat about for a couple of weeks waiting for the exacerbation to pass. That is why pulmonary rehab is so important it gets you fitter and more able to use the oxygen that you are breathing in more efficiently. Toned muscles use less oxygen.

A pulmonary rehab course covers a few things including exercise, half of the class usually has feature speakers talking about medication, lifestyle, breathing techniques and more. Physical reconditioning is very important, did you know that a 2 week exacerbation is all it takes to wipe out loads of your physical fitness? The strength and tone it took a week to gain will be lost in 2 days!  PR is also a chance to chat with other people who have the same illness as you. I will be reading this chapter over and over again because it is something I want to do but have also found very difficult.You have to realise that it is OK to get out of breath, the more exercise you do the more you will be able to do without getting so very short of breath. You can also read quite a few posts on my blog about P and exercise –

As stated previously this chapter is very important and I shall be revisiting it regularly.

Step Seven – Quit Smoking

hqdefaultI am not altogether sure that this should be step seven because of its importance with this disease and the benefits attached to stopping this habit are very high. I would have put this step as 2 or 3. In the section of my blog called ‘my stopping smoking saga‘, I explained how difficult I found this to be, you are struggling with two things really the fact that you want to quit for your health and money of course; but also I was struggling with the fact that I was going to gain weight and that is also unhealthy. Its like the devil and the deep blue sea in a way. So, I tried to minimize the weight gain as much as possible!

The addiction of nicotine and all the other chemicals that they put in cigarettes is no joke, I found the following piece very helpful to read it really explains about the addition.

Nicotine Addiction 101 – Best piece I Have Read On Nicotine Dependency!

Step Eight – Choose Foods for better breathing

tumblr_mqi7rwm8Y71rjetaio1_500Having enough food to eat of the good kind is very important as people with COPD require more nutrients and tend to be malnourished even the fat ones, like me! She explains the cycle of malnutrition very well and to be honest its not something I have thought about until now! Like everyone else you think that if you are overweight you are ok nutrition wise NOT TRUE! I think this is a great chapter and I will enjoy reading this one and researching nutrients.Apparently not getting enough vital nutrients adds to the deconditioning (loss of your overall physical fitness). I know I do not get enough of some nutrients because of my diet, I am almost vegan. Because of this it might be a good idea to take a supplement as you need to feed your muscles to keep up their strength. This is a fascinating chapter and well worth the cost of the book for this chapter alone. Another chapter that I will be visiting again.

download (1)

One interesting thing that the author points out is the subject of  Carbon Dioxide (CO2). If you consume a lot of carbonated sugary drinks, such as coke and sugary foods you can after a short while find yourself more breathless. And this has definitely happened to me but I did not know at the time why it had happened. The point is when sugars are metabolised they break down to form excess CO2. The only place that this can be done efficiently is with your breathing, you end up breathing the CO2 back to normal levels, this is a natural response for your body in this situation. This is not good for people with COPD because it puts your respiratory rate up making it harder to breath. A much better explanation of this is on page 215 of the book. Sugary foods can have the same effect so say no to sugar!


This section also stresses the importance of not being too overweight because unnecessary weight can make it more difficult to breath. Belly weight of which I have loads, can hinder the ability of your diaphragm to descend lessening the space your lungs have for expansion. So, I am in trouble from the top and the bottom. The top where my emphysema is and the bottom where my fat is!

Step Nine – Try Yoga

As a young woman I did a lot of Yoga and I must admit I will enjoy taking this up again on my own. There are lots of videos on YouTube that you can watch. I enjoy Yoga because it focuses more on breathing and holding various poses. It is not an aerobic type of exercise but when I first started to do Yoga when I was about 16 I can remember losing half a stone very quickly.

Step Ten – Stay Connected – Take Charge of Your Life!


It is very easy to become out of touch when your COPD progresses, I have included a piece on this in my blog, this is the link – Loneliness and Isolation. It is so easy to become housebound and there is no need. It is all about maintaining your relationships and friendships, communicating and staying connected to others. You might say this is easier said than done! But with all the equipment we have these days, phones, laptops, tablets you don’t need to leave home to have company. Staying connected with your friends can be very difficult  because many just cannot deal with their friend having this disease. I have had to make some new friends and most of my new friends have COPD themselves.

There are many groups on facebook where you can meet hundreds of people who have COPD and are in the same boat as you are. Going to church is another method of meeting people and becoming involved with your community. At the PR group you will also meet more people and have a chat over a cup of tea and biscuits. My local hospice also has a lot of different courses that they run such as pilates and art class, give yours a call and see if there is anything that would suit you.







This week that good old saying of Robert Burns comes to mind! I had imagined myself sat today eating my pancakes and reminising about skipping day in Scarborough. And am I? NO! Instead I’m in blinking hospital AGAIN!


Seven years ago today, I was in the same hospital on the same ward but with pneumonia and it was that week on the Friday, (Friday the 13th February actually), that my beautiful son died. He will have been gone from my life now for 7 years. Gone but never forgotten.

It just seems like yesterday, I can remember talking about him to another patient. He had been on my mind for a while, I was trying to organise his life. The soft approach hadn’t worked with him so I had decided to take a harder approach. But like anything else I try its got to backfire on me. Michael had been addicted to drugs and alcohol and no matter how much I tried with him I just wasnt getting anywhere. It was so frustrating. He had just come out of prison and I had been talking to his probation officer in Scarborough only a few days previously. I was cross with them because they wern’t dealing with his mental health issues. I can remember saying to her, “if anything happens to my son it will be your fault”. I wanted him sending to hospital so he could be monitored properly as I felt it was his mental health problems that caused his drug and alcohol abuse issues. He was 33 but so vunerable. Every time over the past few years when I had tried to get the mental health team to see him, Michael would do a runner. Then I wouldn’t see him for a few weeks/months until he turned up dishevelled and dirty. I would send him up to the bathroom and sort some clothes out for him and then we would be back on that same merry-go-round. I had to break this vicous circle somehow.

I already had my hands full with my youngest son who had an aquired brain injury after falling through a factory roof and I was trying to get him into Daniel Yorthath House for rehabilitation. That was a great fight on its own trying to get funding etc. I was planning to bring Michael through to live with me while my youngest son was safely away in rehab. But what was that I said earlier about mice and men and things not going to plan!

My youngest son had already gone through a couple of operations to repair his fractured scull with a titanium plate. And then, I ended up in hospital myself with pnumonia, I didn’t have a diagnosis of COPD at that time, but I know I had it now, my breathing was definitely not what it should have been.

I’m afraid because of all this Michael took a bit of a back seat while I was sorting my youngest boy out. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and didn’t get the chance to help him as I wanted to. I tried to park him up for a while and sent him through to where his dad, brother and grandma lived. I just wanted them to see to him whilst I sorted my youngest boy.

Life can be so cruel at times and you need all your strength to get through petiods such as these. When the police delivered the message that my son was dead I felt numb with disbelief. No he can’t of, I am going to bring him through here! Knowone can explain the raw and constant pain you suffer when you loose a child. Even though it was through drink and drugs I still miss my son so very much. It doesn’t matter how they died you still feel useless. Tonight reading this through I felt like running into the hospital corridor and screaming my son is dead and its my fault. I’m his mum and I wasn’t there for him! Deep down I shall always feel like this. If and buts?

But no matter how much you suffer in personal grief there is always something to slap you in the face telling you that things could be so much worse. What my gran used to call a big dose of reality. From my hospital bed, I watched a young woman with no hair who could hardly walk struggle to the toilet. So obviously a cancer sufferer and I thought shame on you Gina wasting even one minute on self pity, you have so much to be thankful for.


Nicotine Addiction 101 – Best piece I Have Read On Nicotine Dependency!


I’m sorry but there’s simply no nice way to say this. Nicotine dependency, like alcoholism, is a real mental illness and disease. While able to fully and comfortably arrest our chemical addiction, there is no cure. It’s permanent. Like alcoholism there’s just one rule. Once we’re free, just one, using just once and we have to go back. You see, it isn’t a matter of how much willpower we have, but how the brain’s priorities teacher teaches, how nerve and memory cell highways that recorded years of nicotine feedings have left each of us wired for relapse. But it’s not all doom and gloom, it can be cracked, armed with the right knowledge you can do it like millions of others have  – click below to find out how its definitely worth a read!

Source: Nicotine Addiction 101


The following is an account of a day in the life of a COPD sufferer by the TV celebrity Nadia Sawalha. I am so glad that COPD is now getting the media attention that it needs. This illness has been swept under the carpet for far too long and just put down to smoking and poor life style choices and this is just not true in many cases…

Fighting for her every breath, TV’s Nadia Sawalha had ­flashbacks of her beloved ­grandmother ­struggling just to walk to the shops.


Nadia Sawalha (Pic: DM)

As the exhausted presenter paused after climbing a short flight ­of stairs, she ­understood the hell her late nan ­had experienced.

Nadia’s grandmother ­had chronic obstructive ­pulmonary ­disease, a term used for a number of conditions, ­including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that damage the airways inside the lungs, causing chest ­tightness, shortness of breath and a persistent cough.

Those in the condition’s early ­stages often think they are just out of shape or have a smoker’s cough when they actually need help.

Half of sufferers are thought to be under the age of 65, and the most common cause is smoking, but coal dust and inherited genetic problems can also influence its development.

To raise awareness of the deadly condition, Nadia strapped herself into a corset and donned a mask to restrict her breathing, simulating the ­conditions sufferers endure every day.

She says: “I hadn’t thought about Nan for years. But when I put this on I was reminded of her. She had a lung disease and we used to get irritated.

“We thought she was hamming it up because she kept stopping, holding on to walls, bending over and standing with her hands on her back. What I didn’t know is that she was ­desperately trying to take a breath.”

Wearing the gear, Nadia went ­shopping in West London and tried to cook. She wanted to know what COPD sufferers had to deal with. And she admits she found it truly horrific.

“You find you are trying so hard to open your lungs that your eyes widen,” Nadia explains. “Having a ­conversation becomes almost ­impossible because all you can think about is your next breath.

“There’s something very melodramatic about how a person looks when they are gasping for air, so you can ­understand why some people are unsympathetic,” she says.

“I ­struggled to make it up the stairs, to buy coffee and trying to cook was so ­frustrating.

“I love making food for my family, so it was awful to have that taken away. Reaching up for the cupboards, down for the drawers – ­everything has you ­wheezing. It’s as if when your airways narrow, so does your very life.”

It was hard work but Nadia, who is backing the COPD: Know it. Check it. Treat it campaign, feels the experience brought her closer to her nan.

She says: “As soon as I walked with it on, I was taken back to ­walking ­with her as a child, ­thinking: ‘Why does she keep stopping?’

“It looked like she was making a meal of it but now I know how she must have felt at the time. She would stop and pretend she was looking around and I’d find it so irritating, but ­obviously she didn’t want people to see her struggle.

“She died when I was 11 and she was only in her late 50s, which is too young.

“My nan could be ­cantankerous and she ­continued smoking until her last breath, but I was ­devastated when she died.”

Doctors estimate COPD affects around three million people in the UK and their advice is to stay active.

Nadia agrees and says: “It’s a slow process – people start cutting down what they do because they feel short of breath. They get frightened – I did, even though I knew the suit would come off.

“You see some saying, ‘Oh, I won’t go shopping, I’ll do it ­online’ or ‘I won’t go to the ­cinema, I’ll watch a DVD’. But that just exacerbates the condition.

“People start using ­wheelchairs and ramps in their houses when really what they need is more exercise.

“It’s like the saying, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’. You have to keep active or you will start to feel worse.

“From that comes dreadful ­depression which impacts on your family. You can see why loved ones would get frustrated when you become more and more reliant on them.

“But there are life-saving treatments if you are diagnosed early.”

When it came round to taking the lung function test – called a ­spirometry – to see if she had COPD, former smoker Nadia was very anxious.

“But I was lucky,” she says. “The test was really easy and I found out I had lungs 10 years younger than some people my age, so I was pleased.”

Still, she found her day so ­emotional, she urges anyone who thinks they might have COPD to visit their GP for a check-up immediately.

“It is not something you would ­always be tested for so it’s best to ask your ­doctor,” Nadia advises.

“When I took off the corset it was a relief and it made me realise how lucky I am. Someone with COPD can’t do the same. But they can get so much better with the right help.”

(Taken from the Mirror on Line)

For further information on the campaign click here “Know it, Check it, Treat it”

The following video also shows the above in detail and how COPD effects people daily, all taken from the same UK campaign and featuring Sportsman Iwan (Ewan) Thomas MBE, the Welsh sprinter, whose mother has been diagnosed with COPD.


My Appointment at Jimmy’s for Nuclear Scan – Easy Peazy

win-win-quotes-3Well, I have had my appointment at Jimmy’s for the Nuclear Scan and it was very enlightening and encouraging, I think?

I got up this morning, and yes was blinking not feeling great as usual. Why does this happen every time I have an appointment at the hospital! Anyway, I had to get my backside into gear and go anyway because this will never get sorted out if I keep being a pussy about it. So, I had a cup of coffee and got my hair curlers and my slap out and got on with my day.

Elise, arrived at about 9.30 and I had to be there for a 1o’clock appointment and I would never have managed without her, and her partners mother very kindly offered to pick Jacob up at dinner time so we went without children, which was great. I must admit I was scared at what they might find and am wondering if this maybe sets my asthma off.

When I arrived at the hospital and finally found the Department of Nuclear Medicine, I hardly had to wait long at all before he called me in. It was a massive room, and the machine was situated in the middle. He said he would leave me for a bit to get my breath back and then he said to lay down on the bed. I had an injection into my vain a small amount of radio active fluid from what he said and just laid there and let the machine do the work. The fluid he said would colour my blood and show where in my lungs blood and air was not going or was going to!

pray1I closed my eyes and prayed to God that there was only one bad bit on my lungs and that it wasn’t all of it.  Just after I had finished my prayer, the Scan operator said, ‘Its just the top of your right lung that you are having trouble with, is it?’, I said, ‘I am unsure’  he said ‘look’ and I opened my eyes and looked to the left where he was pointing and there was a screen showing a clear image of my lungs and he said, ‘that is your left lung and it looks good its got blood running through it from top to bottom. This is the right side of your lung and you can see at the top this black bit, well thats the bit that is not working but then below it, its fine, right the way down to the bottom’. I could have cried, I was so pleased that it was only that little bit at the top that has been causing me all this grief. So, I imagine that is where they will put my valves, if I get them! He said, you will be jogging soon, but I don’t know about that one.

Now, the specialists will put all the information they have together and come up with a plan. I have another appointment on the 9th March to see the surgeons so we will see then what they intend to do. Until then, I will be carrying on with my exercise and trying to lose as much weight as I possibly can before I see them next.