Forget Halloween – This is more important

Life and Happiness

As many of you are aware – I hate Halloween. This is just one of the many posts I have on the dreaded subject. So this year I’ve decided to go another route (and because you’re all probably tired of my Halloween rants.)

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. She’ll be 74. In our ever-increasing disease-fighting culture this milestone seems like it’s not that significant. Many people live past their 70s and into their 80s now. In fact, it’s almost a given. Advancements in technology have prolonged our lives. And if you looked at my mom you would probably say she doesn’t look like she is 74 (most people do say that, actually – a trait I am thankful to have inherited is that we do not look our age).


However, for the past thirty years my mother has been battling emphysema (better known now as COPD). As a result, she’s been on oxygen continuously for about the last ten years (intermittently before then) and has been through a number of stints in the hospital. (More than any person’s fair share…) About two years ago, she suffered the flu and pneumonia so badly, we feared we’d lose her but she doesn’t even remember much of the hospital stay.

And she keeps plugging along.

When she was first diagnosed, when the disease was little known, her doctor told her she’d have about a year to live. She spent the better part of that year in bed, ready for the end and beating herself up for falling ill. After that year ended, she decided to fight back. She found a new doctor who gave her a much better prognosis and the will to live.

She quit smoking, started exercising, and researched (before the internet) what it meant to have emphysema. She joined a support group, found friends who empathized and began to live again.

Of course she’s had down times. People who suffer long-term illnesses often have bad, even horrible days…sometimes weeks…sometimes years. But she’s persevered.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Her life is hard – probably three times, or more, difficult than yours or mine. And although she says frequently that she’s ready to meet God, she still fights to put off that day as long as she can.

So now, at an age she thought she’d never see, I want to say:

Good job, Mom. That doctor said you wouldn’t make it this far…I think you may have outlived him.

How about that?

Happy birthday and I love you.


To find out more about emphysema, COPD and other lung diseases, or to contribute to research, go to


4 thoughts on “Forget Halloween – This is more important

  1. My mother had emphysema although she had never smoked. Hard go but she lived into her 90’s. Into her final years she continued to enjoy life.She and her sister were widows and lived together for about 30 years and were very active.

    1. Mom isn’t super active now but she does pretty good. Mom smoked and worked in factories without ventilation – cabinet staining and fabric sewing. I’m hopeful Mom will live many more years. Thanks for your comment!

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