Exercise and Staying Active Are Crucial to Sarcoidosis Management
The last day of pulmonary rehab is upon me. Truth be told, it’s bittersweet.
This will be my third time in the rehab program. A few years ago, my pulmonary nurse practitioner suggested it might be a good program for me. She explained the particulars of the program, and I was sold.
I’ve always been an active person, and I enjoy swimming, walking, and biking, so pulmonary rehab would be a welcome challenge for me, especially given my pulmonary sarcoidosis.
Pulmonary sarcoidosis has a way of slowly stealing one’s breath. As it does so, it also steals energy, a little at a time. Sometimes when I’m watching television in the middle of the day, I get really sleepy. That never happened before. Remember, I used to be full of energy. I’m not sure if sleepiness is directly related to pulmonary sarcoidosis, but I leave nothing to chance.
With everything happening in my life because of sarcoidosis, pulmonary rehab seemed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. I have written about pulmonary rehab several times, and I can’t stress enough how important physical activity is for people with this chronic health issue. We gotta keep moving!
If you’re in a similar situation, remember that no matter what you’re going through, you have to keep moving. It’s not only important for your physical rehabilitation and mental health, but also for managing this illness. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll lose if you don’t move.
I admit I was bummed about the program ending. For the better part of a year, I’ve been confined to my home, with limited interaction with people and few activities that make me feel somewhat normal. Rehab was my “breakout move.” I thought that finally, I would have a taste of normalcy. Although I was being monitored and tested, it was a way out for me. And now it has ended.
If we don’t keep moving, life will slowly slip away, and we’ll go from living to merely existing within the blink of an eye. I say that because if I’m not physically moving, I’m also not mentally moving. When that happens, I’ll forget to pay a bill or call the plumber, or I’ll put the car repairs on the back burner. It quickly becomes a new normal to “conveniently” forget what’s important to my family and me.
Sarcoidosis doesn’t play fair, and neither should we. We must be careful about how quickly and comfortably we let things slide. This past year, we’ve been asked to adjust our lives with extraordinary measures, but we must continue to stay on top of the important things, both physically and mentally.
When I came of age, I couldn’t wait to do adult things. I had no issues with paying bills, taking care of my house and my family, and holding down a job. But I can also see how quickly someone can become stagnant when they aren’t doing the necessary things.
That’s a dangerous thing. You gotta keep moving forward, because getting trapped in one place is too easy, and the longer you stay in that place, the more likely you’ll fail to move forward. Then, you’ll feel comfortable failing to make progress, and unfortunately, you might think it’s a waste of time. When you reach that point, you’ve allowed the illness to win.
I was almost at that point when I was sitting in front of the television, eating, drinking, and watching reruns of shows I watched while hospitalized. I almost took my life from a place of living to solely existing. Posture and breathing work hand in hand, and being a couch potato doesn’t help.
Well, I got both of my COVID-19 vaccine shots, and I’m ready to get outdoors in the sun again. I promised my two therapists I would wait two weeks after I received the last shot before I went back to the gym. Now that I’m finished with rehab, I’ll be rolling my portable oxygen tank to the gym for a much-needed workout. I can’t wait.
For an hour and a half a day, I feel like my old self, and it feels great. Slow and steady wins the race, and I’m still running.
If you can relate to this, get back in the game and start living. We need you back in the game!
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.