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Taller than most. Louder than most.

More layers to my personality than an onion, peel me and I could make you cry.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I doubt many readers will remember a classic kid's book, Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter, where you had to play the "Glad" game.. no matter what happened Pollyanna (an annoyingly positive little chit) would try to help people find the positive side: something to be "glad" about. You know - my house was just flattened by a Tsunami. Cool, you needed to decorate anyway, now you can nubuild etc.

I read this book at an early age and no matter how I tried to fight it I think her refusal to accept bad news affected me from that day on, and I do believe it's what has got me through some pretty tough times over the years. I could have rolled over and given up so many times but I pick myself up, dust myself down and find something positive to focus on, and whether you believe in it or not, it does work. Positive thinking applies to poker - of course it does: if you are waiting for that one outer on the river after you flopped the nuts it always comes. Law of sod an all that.

If you are thinking positively other players at the table pick up on it without even knowing what they are feeling, other than that you are strong. So it doesnt matter whether you have a straight flush or 8 high, if you are giving off that strong, positive image it helps a hell of a lot. (Unless they have a Royal, in which case you're fucked)

But this post isn't related to poker today. An hour ago I was bawling my eyes out like Pollyanna's Aunty (you have to read the book!) but common sense combined with my indomitable sense of survival have allowed me to see the good news from a doctor's appointment this morning.

Friends know I've been having some tests recently as I've basically had a cough since Xmas, plus been pretty run down and feeling generally crap. I have had something called pernicious anaemia for 10 years now, which although I have monthly injections, it can still make you tired so i hoped it was this.

But I knew it wasn't. I smoke pretty much 60/80 cigs a day and I'd be pretty stupid to think a 3 month cough wasn't related.

So a week ago some bloods came back that said the anaemia was at an all time low, which I'm having some extra treatment for, so that explains why somedays even getting out of bed is a chore. But today my X rays came back and the doctor confirmed I have something called COPD.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the full title, basically it's lung disease and yes it is caused by smoking. I have tenatively googled it and I'm probably not ready to read most of the stuff when google returns "COPD - the final stages" and it isn't a film title. I have to go back for some breathing tests and we go from there. Treatment will involve loads of cardio vascular excercise (I don't even run after a £50 note if it blows away), inhalers, change of diet, change of lifestyle blah blah and obviously no cigarettes.

BUT ... here's Pollyanna...

Two lots of things to be very very "glad" about:

Firstly - depending on how bad it is, it may be able to be reversed, or at least stopped at this stage before it gets worse. This is MASSIVE. I currently can't breathe well at all and it's terrifying so to think that I might have a chance of actually turning this round is like a golden carrot dangling in front of my donkey nose.

Secondly, and this may sound like an If and But.. I DON'T have lung cancer. Obviously this was my biggest worry. Yes COPD is pretty bad but I have a chance of fighting it, a good chance I hope. I'm not sure how positive I would have been if faced with the news it was cancer, and it was what I was dreading.

So I need to concentrate on learning how to get better for a while. I won't be ruling poker out, but it will have to be controllable hours such as cash rather than too many late night tournaments as I need to give my body every chance to recover or at least not get worse. Plus it's a really good reason to Hit n Run - Oh I just won a big pot, I have to go, I have lung disease, okthankxbye ;)

Anyone know much about this disease? If you have it or know someone who has it (preferably still alive ffs) send me an email 2009cal@live.co.uk. Could do with a bit of moral support and/or advice x


  1. Yikes Caroline! I never seem to find the right words at the right time but feel that I should just acknowledge that I have read.

    It seems words help you, both in a reading and writing context,and to be honest it does for me too.

    Be strong. You know what to do and with your determination I'm sure you will beat it.


  2. Oh shit Caroline....if anyone can fight this one you can....quitting smoking is so tough but people do it everyday...find a quit smoking group and do everything the docs say and you'll beat it. I quit smoking when i found out i was asthmatic because it wasn't worth all the coughing and not being able to breathe. I know COPD is way worse then asthma but you're one of the strongest women i've ever met. Chin up and I'll be praying for ya.. Carey xx

  3. Sorry to hear the news and I wish you the best of luck in your fight, although I don't actually think you'll need luck and you'll just scare the shit of COPD and be running us all ragged at the tables in no time.

  4. One word Caroline ~~~~~~~ Tamsin.

    A close friend of mines mum has COPD and has had this for many years now.She wont give up the ciggies and has good and bad days.In hospital for a few days now and then as the inhalers dont always work to full extent.The last two Christmas's my mate has been up there in Liverpool with her at her hospital bed.

    So as I said before ~~~~~ Tamsin :)

    I truly wish you all the best in fighting this my love xxx

  5. Hi Caroline, I'm a nurse and work with patients with COPD daily. As you are quite young I would imagine that you have mild to moderate COPD, I know that it is scary for you but as long as you give up smoking, it can be managed quite well. You will be given inhalers and your lung function will be examined by blowing into tubes etc, they measure the flow rate and expansion of your lungs. You may have times where you get what is called an exacerbation of COPD and this can be like a flare up of sorts whick may cause you to become breathless and wheezy with or without a cough, it can also be caused by infection. You may be seen by a specialist nurse who will monitor you for any exacerbations and prevent these from happening by ensuring you have access to antibiotics and special inhalers. Please try not to panic over this, its very common and can be halted by giving up smoking. You'll probably need help with this no matter how scary it is for you, especially if you have smoked a lot. Theres plenty of help for you and your GP should point you in the right direction. If theres anything else you need to know then dont hesitate to ask. My name is Sally and I'm your friend on Facebook ( Doubleyou). GL. xx

  6. Yes I know quite a bit about this. I studied medicine sponsored by a pharmaceutical company many moons ago. They had a number of specialties we were forced to also be specialist in ... and one of those is COPD. Chronic damage cannot be reversed entirely as if the lung tissue has died or become necrotic as it were, then that's like saying you can bring people back to life or reverse cerebral palsy... BUT the more acute symptoms (ie your breathing/ cough/ flares) most likely can be alleviated to some extent. I have seen many patients with this, and the one thing that has left me shaking my head is them still smoking, even after diagnosis.

    Im not telling you this to scare you, but to help you ~ as I care enough to stamp my feet and want you to be better. COPD is very serious, but can be managed and you can ensure that you at least arrest its development.


  7. Sorry to read this Caroline, hope you carry on the positive attitude and quit tabs and beat this :)

  8. another smoker putting a burden on the NHS ffs ;o)

  9. Lifes a bitch or is that just you? Bad things always happen to good people. Or so they say. L + B are gonna go bust!

  10. ^^ LOL now who would know what brand of cigs I used to smoke....