In the much earlier years of my life, I ended in the Montreal General Hospital where a Cat Scan/CT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) revealed that my pituitary gland had become encased in a sac of water, compressed against my brain. My entire ordeal, at the time, with this glandular illness left my body debilitated. Symptoms and results included: excessive weight gain; dehydration; problems with eye vision; high and low blood pressure; liver and pancreatic problems resulting in diabetic symptoms; stomach disorders; weakened immunity; neurological disorders; and a life-threatening depletion of minerals, enzymes and electrolytes. I was given the option by medical specialists to either have the gland removed entirely, where I would have had to live with taking a wide assortment of pills for the rest of my life, or to keep the gland. I opted for the latter.
The medical specialists did not understand the root cause to my ‘pituitary gland anomaly’. I became a medical paradox; especially after I ‘technically died’ on the ER stretcher, and woke up in a hospital room two days later. When I became discharged from the hospital, I knew that I had a long road ahead of me to physically improve myself.
Over the years, I gradually lost weight and stabilized my life by keeping a strict healthy nutritional plan, and regularly exercising. However, one persistent problem emerged; COPD.
What is COPD?
COPD stands for ‘chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’. During my tumultuous seven-year ordeal with my pituitary gland illness, my stomach disorders had me regurgitating on a daily basis, leading to my esophagus containing severe bile acidity; inevitably affecting the passageways to my lungs. The damage to my bronchial tubes would keep promoting excessive secretion of thick phlegm/mucus. In time, the regurgitation stopped. However, not completely out of the woods with my hormonal disorder, my metabolism could only receive what it was able to; and to this day, this is still a reality at a lessened degree.
Despite the liver being the only self-healing organ in the body, the pancreatic gland remains a problem; where my carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamins are not always processed efficiently. This produces a state of health where an infection can easily be obtained. Since my bronchial tubes were already damaged, lung disease set in; namely COPD.
Learning how to cope
The one realization I soon learnt, was that a proper mix of protein, minerals and vitamins were essential, in order to keep mucus production at a minimum. Exercising regularly, would flush out toxins. Keeping hydrated, by drinking the required amount of water per day, assisted in the overall health management.
My sleeping hours prove to be difficult, as phlegm will most oftentimes culminate in my esophagus, let alone my bronchial tubes, rudely waking me in my having to cough up the unwanted substance in order to breathe. On critical days, it can often take me up to two hours to fall asleep as I struggle prior to clear the passageways to my lungs.
Fortunately, I have two types of inhalers prescribed to me: Ventolin® HFA (albuterol/salbutamol sulfate), an emergency inhaler, which also helps treat and prevent bronchospasms (wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath) ; Pulmicort® (budesonide), a corticosteroid medicine used to reduce inflammation of bronchial tubes.
I’ve discovered that Ventolin® HFA is great when I exercise a lot. I need that ‘extra air’ to keep going; especially when the build-up of mucus is imminent during any type of prolonged exercising.
The winter season proves to be quite difficult for me. A ‘common cold’ can result often and easily into pneumonia. During such times, I take a lot of hot steamy baths to help unblock the mucus membranes, and then apply Vicks® VapoRub on my chest. It is essential that I stay as relaxed as possible.
Stress, is another factor which I try to avoid. The more nervous I am, the more mucus builds; resulting in more problems with my lungs. I try to keep my living environment as clean as possible, avoiding allergens. I don’t smoke and I steer clear from smokers. Breathing in ‘second-hand smoke’ can very quickly spawn ‘asthmatic attacks’, with my having to cough up phlegm/mucus. If going to a restaurant with friends or family, I quickly check for the ‘non-smoking’ signs.
At times, I will be invited to a local bar with friends. Most bars I know have outside terraces. I normally don’t enter them, and I definitely don’t go to bars during the winters.
Taking all these factors into account is a reality that I must face every day in order to keep COPD under control. Lung disease should never be taken lightly and neglected.