Dear Friends,

Greetings from Breathing Better, Living Well!  Boy, it’s been a while since our last update and it feels good to be back. I took this picture for you about a week ago at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Each year thousands of butterflies are invited to live and play in the fabulous indoor garden. The special guest this year was the “clear wing” butterfly. You can see it on the left. That’s a bit of glare on his wing, but I think you get the idea. What a nice getaway it was, if only for a couple of hours – being in the warmth of the greenhouse after a long, harsh winter – surrounded by blooms and butterflies reminded me that spring is coming. My heart was lifted, I was awed by Nature’s endless beauty and wonder and I wanted to share it with you.

Now, without further delay, let’s get on with our update!

I’m delighted to announce that we have added two new members to our BBLW team! Some of you might already know them from their posts on our community board. They are Marilyn, aka, “Tippy” and KathyTX (from Texas). These wonderful ladies have been an inspiration to all who visit Breathing Better Living Well and I am honored that they have joined us in our mission to provide quality education and support to people with pulmonary disease in a positive and accepting environment. Click on Meet the Team and get to know them!

If you haven’t visited the BBLW community page lately, let me tell you, you’re missing something! The up-to-the minute information; the scope, the volume and quality of it is astounding, yet it is easy to digest and understand, thanks to our dedicated and talented team. But in addition to the information that has been researched, distilled and posted, there is a wealth of encouragement, inspiration and support especially for people with pulmonary disease from those who have walked that same road. When I log on and read the heartfelt posts sharing experiences and support and encouragement, it takes my breath away…and in the very best of ways! And if you’re fighting the battle of nicotine addiction, or if you’ve already won it, click on the quit smoking forum. Stop in and stroll through our BBLW community. You will be inspired!

A little while back, our lead moderator, Wheezer, aka, Kasey, posted a note of encouragement. It was so uplifting and inspiring, I decided to make it a permanent part of our site. Here’s a little background on why it inspired me so. When I was a young, frazzled mom of a very fussy – and very wakeful – newborn, I remember sitting up with her at two in the morning (and these were in the days before 24-cable) reading one paragraph in Parents’ Magazine about just hanging in there because the baby will eventually sleep through the night. I was at my wits’ end and all I could do was read it over and over and over and hang on to that promise. When I read Kasey’s post, I saw it as that same kind of encouragement for dark and seemingly hopeless times. Read what we call, simply, “A Note of Support”, and hang on to it for dear life. You can make it!

Shine in Your Little Corner of the World – You Can Make a Difference! That’s the message from our good friend, Lori Palermo, who got herself out there again and worked so hard in November to spread COPD awareness. Read the story of what she did and visit other pages on her website. Lori is a true example of one person making a difference to make the world a better place for people with lung disease.

If you or a loved one are wondering, “Will it really make a difference if I quit smoking? Isn’t the damage already done? Is it ever too late to quit? If you haven’t already checked it out, take a look at The Fletcher-Peto Curve, a classic graph illustrating the progression of obstructive lung disease (emphysema/COPD) caused by cigarette smoking over time. You will find this graph within a very interesting and informative article about the difference between COPD and Asthma. In this article you’ll also learn the difference between asthma and emphysema and clues that your doctor follows to lead to the correct diagnosis. Since the article is kind of technical, we’ve provided a guide to help you find the more interesting parts and to help interpret the curve. Always remember that this is general information and you are strongly encouraged to print out and discuss these materials with your own physician for your specific situation. Click here for the guide and a link to the article, Asthma and COPD: Clearing the Air by Alan Kaplan, MD, CCFP(EM).
We’re very pleased to announce that the third edition of The Asthma Sourcebook by well-known physician, Dr. Francis Adams, is now available in the Breathing Better Living Well Bookstore. With allergy season approaching, and asthma awareness month coming in May you’ll be hearing more about Dr. Adams on BBLW later this year.

On a personal note, I’ve been zooming back and forth to Chicago every chance I’ve had to visit my dad who is struggling to recover from extremely serious complications following a heart attack he suffered last week. Now that he’s stable and improving, I plan to travel this week on publishing business and then directly to Texas to visit with a family member who is being deployed to Afghanistan within the next few weeks. As an Army medic, my son-in-law will be doing his best to bring our soldiers safely home and as whole and as well as humanly possible.
Well, that’s about all for now. Do take care of each other while I’m away, as always. Check in and help each other out, hang on, and look always to the promise of spring. I’ll see you again soon.

Breathe Well, my friends.

"A kind word is like a Spring day."
~~~ Russian Proverb