"I was so scared when the doctor told me I had emphysema. I was afraid to go anywhere or do anything. I plunged into a big black hole of depression.
"Someone told me to go online and hook up with a support group. I did, and it literally changed my life. I was pretty shy at first, and all I did was read what everyone else was writing. Then one day I was having trouble with the company that supplies my oxygen. I went online and asked for advice. I got it. I was able to clear up the problem the very next day thanks to a woman in Minnesota who'd had the same thing happen to her.
"The next advice I took was to talk to my doctor about my depression. I wish I had done it sooner. He put me on antidepressants and had me see a counselor. I'd never been to a counselor before and didn't really believe in that kind of thing. But this woman really did help me deal with my fears. I feel so much better about things now. I look forward to every day.
"Now there's no stopping me. I go online every day and 'chat' with people. They cheer me up when I'm feeling blue. They answer questions. They give me tips. They've become true friends. I still have bad days. But no matter how bad my day has been, I usually feel much better after checking in with my online friends.
"And the best part is that now I'm one of the ones giving tips and trying to cheer people up. It's amazing how good it feels to help someone else like that. It really makes your day."
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with this condition.
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology