Welcome, friends, to the August update from Breathing Better Living Well!

Late August is an especially meaningful time for me because it’s Monarch butterfly time – for my family at home, and maybe for my BBLW family here – a time for transformation and new life. Right now my Monarch caterpillar, named “Jasmine,” is getting ready to go into a chrysalis. I know this because she’s hanging upside down from the top of her jar, in the “J” formation, just like the one in this picture.

But you know, Monarch butterflies are not the only ones who can experience a major transformation. People with lung disease can also go through significant changes – for the better – with the right information and support, and yes, a bit of tender loving care. At BBLW we’ve seen folks who are lost and lonely, confused and isolated, find a sort of new life, and a healthier life, with a new purpose and confidence. More on that later, at the close of this newsletter. But on we go now with what’s new on BBLW…

The “Welcome Inn” continues to bustle with activity, as we’ve had several new members stopping in and posting, and also posting on the other forums. Remember, the “Welcome Inn” is the place to go when you’re a BBLW Newbie. As with other forums on our community page, we like to think of the “Welcome Inn” as a place, and this place has two parts: the “Front Desk,” where you can come for information, just as you would at a hotel. And when you’re ready to post, the “Welcome Inn” is the place to start. Don’t worry about goofing up! Our caring, and very patient, moderating team is here to help. Remember, just like you, they were once newbies! Welcome, friends, to the BBLW Welcome Inn!

You’re invited to BBLW Chat each Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 pm, East coast time. At chat, we talk about whatever comes to mind, kind of like sitting in a coffee shop and visiting with whomever comes along. Check the chat forum to make sure of the next scheduled time and for a link to the World Clock for information on time zones.

Get to know BBLW moderators, Tim, Eileen, and Sandy through their blogs that are linked from our home page. Also, remember that we now have archives of our past newsletters, “Newsletter Archives,” linked from our home page. Here you can find the newsletters starting in January, 2007.

We have three new link partners at BBLW! Drug3k is a free online database for most commonly prescribed drugs, including links to detailed prescription drug information; images of the drugs, side effects, interactions, and use. This site provides information only with no pharmaceutical advertisements. Hazardous work environments can contribute to major breathing problems and next month we’ll be talking about that. You can find links to Drug3k and two new resources related to Asbestos and Mesothelioma on our links page.

What’s a Widget? I didn’t know either, until I got one. Widgets connect you easily to other places, mostly blogs, on the internet. You can find my widget at the bottom of our home page. Once you’re there, to read my last ten articles on Health Central, scroll down in the “recent posts” box. (Two of my recent articles are: Breathless in Beijing: Olympics 2008; and one especially close to my heart, Living with COPD: Stories Matter, Stories Heal.) To see all my articles on Health Central, click on “Jane M. Martin – Stop Smoking.” To subscribe to this RSS feed, click on “about.” You can even embed this widget in your own blog and customize it by clicking here. What’ll they think of next?

Okay, at the beginning of this newsletter I said something about transformations not being just for butterflies. Many of you probably know that our wonderful friend, Trudy, who was a moderator here at BBLW has stepped aside to pursue her dream of spending more time on writing. Although we’ll miss her, we’re thrilled for her, and we’re also proud of her courage and enthusiasm to pursue this goal. In the course of my conversations with her about her leaving, Trudy said something so profound. She said that being a part of BBLW was actually a part of taking care of herself. I wanted to know more, so I asked her to write something. I should have known that she’d express herself so beautifully. Here is what she wrote:

“In the winter of 2006/2007 I was lost and alone. I had learned so much at pulmonary rehab and had gone to maintenance rehab for some time, but the cold winter set in and more lung infections. I was so despondent and so weary of this lung disease and all the changes it was making in my life. I started searching online for some encouragement and support. I found Jane's book and ordered it. I then found BBLW, and I knew it was an answer to prayer. :-) I gained more knowledge and understanding of lung disease, and I experienced a unique, caring, and nurturing environment. BBLW and the special friends I have made here have taught me that life does not have to end for us! We may have health limitations, but each of us still has a special place in our world! In fact, because we know what it's like to deal with a chronic illness, we can make an even greater impact on those around us.

“Thank you…I came to you lost and insecure, but I have grown so much. I am now confident enough to step out and follow my dream. We may not be able to do some things anymore, but we CAN still do so much! :-) I will be leaving BBLW as a moderator, but I hope to still keep in touch! After all, BBLW is an essential ingredient to my commitment to take care of my health. :-)”

Transformation and new life. Thank you, Trudy – and to every one of you – for being part of this amazing community!

monarchI’ll let you know how it goes with Jasmine. Soon she should look like this. There’s a neat story about my about my first Monarch experience on the “What’s New from Jane?” forum at the top of our BBLW community board. I invite you to share it with me.

That’s all for now. Breathe Well today,
my friends, and I’ll see you here next



Man is that he might have joy.
~~~ Joseph Smith