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

dog dressed as a turkeyIt’s almost Thanksgiving, that holiday steeped in the tradition of family gatherings, a big meal of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pumpkin pie – and of giving thanks. When we think of giving thanks, even with a tough and uncertain economy, we hopefully still have the basics – food and shelter, more easy breathing days than bad ones, and yes, some things we’ve asked for – things we want.

But have you ever stopped to think about being thankful for the things you didn’t want? Those things you never asked for, circumstances that came upon you as painfully unwelcome … disease, hardship, loss, and the list could go on …

Today I’m going to share with you a wonderful little piece that was an unexpected gift to my pulmonary rehab class – and to me. I don’t have to explain it. It speaks for itself. I hope you read it, and I hope you are blessed by it. It is called, simply, Thanksgiving.

I can’t tell you how many times a lung patient has come up to me and said in frustration, “There must be something they can do to help me breathe better. Can’t they just get in there and do something to open up my lungs? It seems like they can do everything else nowadays. Why can’t they do something to help people with COPD?”

Excellent questions, and unfortunately, for so long there was pretty much nothing they could do short of lung transplant. Then came lung volume reduction surgery, which works for some people, but not for many. Now, thanks to years of research and new developments there is hope for people with lung disease to improve their breathing without extensive and risky surgery.

On our Basics page, we have a new section: “New Therapies.” There you’ll find video information on some new developments to treat pulmonary disease. Each video is just a couple minutes long and clearly shows a new method of treatment for pulmonary disease. Some of the videos are preceded by a 30-second commercial (everybody’s got to pay the bills!) Now, not everybody is a candidate for these procedures, but I want you to know that you have the right to a discussion with your doc about it. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

These new therapies involve the Bypass Stent, the IBV (intra-bronchial valve) Valve, the (non-bypass) Stent, and the use of hormones for improved muscle strength. The IBV Valve is currently enrolling for a clinical trial in the U.S and you will find the link to that on our basics page as well as on our links page.

I hope you’re getting to know our BBLW Team, that amazing group of dedicated and caring friends who are working hard to keep our community a safe and welcoming place. Meet the Team! I am so thankful for our BBLW Team!

Have you had your flu shot? Here are links to two excellent videos about virus:

How You Catch a Cold and Getting the Flu

For information on what you can do to avoid getting the flu, read Protect Yourself from the Flu.

You might think that by strolling through your local Barnes and Noble you’ll find all the latest and greatest books. Sure, they’ve got lots of neat books, but you might be surprised to learn that the book world as we know it is getting a surprise of its own with more and more independent authors writing unique books that are capturing the attention – and the hearts – of readers everywhere. I recently attended a conference at which I had the honor of meeting two wonderful new authors, and today I have the honor of sharing their books with you!

What if there was an orphanage where the kids picked out the moms? The Mommy Orphanage will warm your soul and the stunning illustrations will capture your heart. Seriously, when I first saw this book, it took my breath away … in the very best of ways!

As if reading The Mommy Orphanage and meeting the author weren’t enough, I was doubly blessed to meet Professional Santa Claus Cliff Snider and read his precious book, Santa’s Journey. “Santa Cliff,” as I call him, shares his life as a professional Santa Claus from a Christian perspective in this little book of magical, and sometimes extraordinary, stories. Next month our newsletter will feature a story from Santa’s Journey along with a gorgeous illustration.

Of course, we have a nice collection of pulmonary-related books in our bookstore. Two of them are The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu, and The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu.

Ugh! How do you know if the toy is right for that special child on your Christmas list? Leave the guesswork behind by visiting Amazon’s Holiday Toy List. Shop by child’s age and your budget. Click on the toy to watch a video of it in action from the comfort of our home page. What could be easier?

*** Remember – a few cents from the purchase of any product made through any Amazon portal on the BBLW site goes towards supporting the maintenance of this website.

We’ve had a huge response to Dr. Sharma’s Breathing Relaxation for Lungs and Heart “Tune-Up” on our articles page. Dr. Vijai Sharma, a member of our BBLW team, has emphysema and had a quadruple coronary bypass last year, finds these simple techniques most helpful for both stress management and for lung and heart function.

Our BBLW Community forum is hopping! A recent upgrade to the board gave spammers the boot! The team now has more time to spend with you, posting, listening, and supporting you in your life with lung disease. Stop in and take a walk through our community. Visit our thankfulness forum and share your thoughts in this holiday season.

Remember that the “Welcome Inn” is the place to go when you’re a BBLW Newbie. Our BBLW team is here to help. Remember, they were once newbies, just like you! Welcome to the BBLW Welcome Inn!

Join us at BBLW Chat each Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 pm, East coast time. 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.

For more pulmonary-related articles along with my personal story of finding thankfulness in what I never wanted ("But … I Didn’t Order this Life," parts I and II), visit the Stop Smoking widget at the bottom of our home page. Click on “Jane M. Martin – Stop Smoking” for all my shareposts.

So, my friends, thank you for sticking with me and making it all the way through this long newsletter. I wish for you today, with all my heart, a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving. See you next month!


“Dwell upon the brightest parts in every prospect … and strive
to be pleased with the present circumstances.”

~~~ Abraham Tucker