Dear Friends of Breathing Better, Living Well,

Welcome to our February update – and Happy Valentine's Day! 

dog with Valentine roseWhether or not you have someone special in your life to help celebrate this time of love and caring, come celebrate Valentine’s Day with us! Breathing Better, Living Well is a caring community of folks who understand what it’s like to live day to day with chronic lung disease. Through our site they’ve opened their hearts to help you know that you can live a full life with COPD or other pulmonary disease – and that life can be good!

We’ve got some especially exciting and interesting things for you today. I’m sure you’ll be informed, inspired, and maybe even intrigued.

Ask the Respiratory Therapist!
For some time now we’ve been wanting to have a RT visit BBLW – and here she is! Helen Sorenson will be visiting our BBLW Community forum to answer your questions from February 25-29. Helen comes to us with not only a wealth of respiratory experience, but a true heart for people with pulmonary disease. She specializes in pulmonary function testing and will be able to answer your questions on spirometry as well as other lung health issues on our community forum. Helen is Assistant Professor of Respiratory Care at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas.

New article – Simple Spirometry
Helen Sorenson wrote this great article about Simple Spirometry (lung function testing) just for us!

Sex and Intimacy with COPD
Just because you have COPD or another lung disease doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life and enjoying it, and yes, that includes sex. In celebration of Valentine’s Day – and remember, love and caring is not just for one day, but all year round – we’re posting some links to information about intimacy and sex for people with pulmonary disorders. The links to this information put out by the National Jewish Center (the leading lung authority) will be a permanent part of our site.

Relationships – Caring and Loving with COPD
My blog this week on the HealthCentral site also talks about this subject. Feel free to visit my blog any time. I welcome your comments!

More Loving and Caring… Poems
When it comes to loving and caring and COPD, who better to write about it than a couple who is living it day by day? Here are two warm and wonderful poems. One was written by Art, a pulmonary patient, and the other by Deb, his sweetheart. I’m sure they’ll inspire you. Share them with someone you love, or if you are so inclined to write your own, feel free to send it in!

Welcome, John!
We’re very happy to welcome, John, a new moderator to our BBLW Team. John is a wonderful guy with a big heart for encouraging pulmonary patients – or anybody who’s having a bad day. We’ll get to know John a little better next month, but for now, take a walk though our community and join me in welcoming him! John’s wife, Susan, is also a member of BBLW.

New Videos
Thanks to Trudy for telling us about some great new videos explaining pulmonary disease. These brief videos help make sense of Bronchodilators, Asbestosis, and How the Lungs Work. You can link to them from our basics page. Once you get to the videos, you can find others as well. Just to let you know, you do have to sit through a short commercial advertisement before each video, but it’s well worth it.

Your Heart and Salt – an Interview with Sandra Parkington, RN
Speaking of hearts, I want to remind you of this excellent piece on our site about Congestive Heart Failure and Salt. The heart and lungs work closely together and sometimes people with pulmonary disease can also experience heart problems. We – all of us – eat too much salt! This is a good thing to learn about, no matter what.

Climb the Tower
On February 16th, 2008 our dear friend, Lori Palermo, will be "Climbing the Stairs" of the Bell Atlantic Tower in Philadelphia, PA, in memory of her dad, Wayne A. Litzenberger, and in honor of those who live each and every day "Starving for Air."

Lori invites you to join her to make a donation in memory of your loved one who could not Catch their Breath or in honor of someone you know who is "Starving for Air." Or you may e-mail her at with your loved one’s name and she will carry it close to her heart as she climbs 50 Floors – 1,088 Steps! You can learn more about the climb here.

Another New Survey – COPD Needs
In 2004, the National Emphysema/COPD Association (NECA) conducted the largest survey in the United States of persons with chronic lung disease. The survey results provided valuable insights about the needs of the COPD community to physicians and other health care providers. There is now a follow up survey, actually two surveys to choose from. One is for the person with COPD and the other is for the individual who cares about the person with COPD. Every bit of information gathered in these surveys helps to better serve COPD patients in the future.

Well, I think that’s about all for our special Valentine’s Day update. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together … and I hope you can take the information, and the inspiration, to make your days a bit brighter and more full of love.

I’ll see you next month!


“It is easy to love people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start.”

~~~Mother Theresa