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Tips for "self-care" for people with lung diseases: Observations of a Practice Manager

The below tips for self-care when you have lung condition are based on observation of more than 8,000 patients over the last 12 years and not to replace medical advice but are a “common sense” approach as they work very well with medical treatment.

People with lung conditions have a slower or lesser capacity to recover, so there’s a greater need to take care of the body.

The simplest things we do can have a lot of impact.

Firstly, keep your body warm, especially your lungs and kidneys. You will be surprised of so many people who are visibly trembling in cold when the warmth of our body can do so much to support the healing process. Warm blankets, layering of clothing, warm jackets, socks and hand-mittens help greatly.... and wash these regularly to keep them fresh and clean between the seasonal changes.

Secondly, stay out of and/or take care/be sensible when in public environments which can easily spread germs or when partners, patients or other loved ones have a cold or flu. We have seen so many people who suffered for several months following the so-called 'flu' when it needed a gentle gesture to stay away from the source of infection. "Self-love" is also the permission and self-honour to say NO to something that can be harming to you.

Thirdly, eat nutritious food and drink that is easy to digest and not toxic to the body as it has to work harder to clean it out of the system. It is an under-statement to quote, "Food is Medicine".

Fourthly, continue to be gentle with yourself after treatment. When you breathe better you may be tempted to push or run your body as before and this can put it through undue stress. WE must build on the continuing imprint of self-love on a daily basis, even if we may lose ourselves occasionally but always to bounce back with intent to heal more deeply from day to day.

Fifthly, when you can breathe more easily there is an adjustment period so take it easy and observe what happens to your body, e.g. sometimes you become light-headed. The human body is not a machine that can go again after its repairs. It requires adjustment, amendment, refinement, review and more repairs as needed. While we do not seek or expect perfection as a human being, always be prepared to do some more fine-tuning in your daily activities following a significant illness.

Sixthly, see the doctor early, especially men tend to present late and makes it more difficult to treat them. You will be shocked to find out that despite the advances in our cancer diagnosis and treatment, up to 70% of lung cancers are still diagnosed too late to allow a definitive surgical resection by our experienced surgeons. So, please feel your body on a regular basis even if you may or may not have a trivial symptom to simply ignore for few more months.

Seventhly, pay attention to your feelings and be super tender with yourself, e.g. rest if your body is tired, or talk with someone close or someone you trust when you are feeling especially vulnerable and emotional.

Lastly, like, love and/or cherish yourself no matter what. "Self-love" is a step towards loving yourself more deeply than ever before. Love can heal, and it can inspire others to help you. It is through love that Medicine can far expand in its scope of service and offer what is truly needed for humanity.

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