Goshen, Ind. Breathing, like our sight and hearing, is something many of us take for granted. We go about our day never thinking about breathing out and in.
But for the growing number of Americans who suffer from COPD, just trying to take a breath is like being underwater. It can mean a lifetime of oxygen, difficulty walking and moving and often, even death.
But Tuesday night, in a special Medical Moment Just Before Six we'll introduce you to a Goshen woman who got a devastating diagnosis, but says now, life is good.
“It got to the point where I couldn't breathe,” says Lisa Adams a COPD sufferer. “We are actually at an outing and my husband carried me literally to my van and took me to the hospital. Four days I went home on oxygen, I went home to die. I was done.”
That was two and a half years ago, after this mom and grandmother had spent 30 years smoking two and a half packs of cigarettes a day.
She went home to die, unable to even take a few steps without needing oxygen.
IU Goshen Respiratory therapist Ron Cable says for most adults smoking is the culprit with COPD and its increasing in women who are more susceptible. He says often times smokers have no idea it's going to hit.
“That's the problem sometimes, they don't realize they're getting into this issue of I am very sick,” says Ron Cable a Respiratory Therapist at IU Goshen Health. “I can't breathe, until suddenly one day they go to the emergency room because they can't breathe.”
That's exactly what happened to Lisa who after initially going home to die vowed to survive for her family.
Lisa found a support group and met with the pulmonary team at IU health Goshen Hospital and made a very wise decision.
And then she started therapy, which included oxygen, medications and breathing treatments to improve her lung function and exercise. She started with baby steps but now she still goes twice a week.
“When I first started I did about three minutes on the treadmill and I was done,” says Lisa. “I was done for the day and now I'm up to almost an hour on the treadmill. I do 20 minutes, I do my leg weights, my arm weights and I'm good to go.”
And best of all, while still wearing portable oxygen, Lisa can take care of those beautiful grandchildren she loves so much.
“My whole quality of life has changed,” says Lisa. “I take care of my grandchildren.”
Both Ron and Lisa say others with COPD should find help.
“That's the number one thing to do is quit smoking, get off the cigarettes,” says Ron.
“If you're smoking you have to really really watch it, you have to quit,” says Lisa.
And then Lisa says, get into a program like this. It's changed her life.
And while Lisa will always need oxygen, she can't believe how good life is.
“From my diagnosis going home to die my life has improved 95 percent,” says Lisa.
And she's looking forward to many more years with her children and grandchildren knowing she's made a change that has given her life back.
“They're very proud of their mom and their grandma,” explains Lisa.
Proud and excited that they have a grandma who is every child’s dream, he wrestles and does a whole lot more.
“We get on the floor and I flip him and my beds the only one the kids are allowed to jump on so we jump on the bed,” says Lisa.
Fun she never could have dreamed of two years ago.
Some of the signs of COPD include coughing that brings up mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. It kills more than 120,000 Americans each year and disables many more.