Imagine being forced to stop every five or six words to take a breath while carrying on a conversation. What if taking a shower and getting dressed made you exhausted? For Joyce Miller, that was reality.
Joyce was diagnosed with asthma and tracheomalacia, a collapse of her airways when breathing. Despite being an active person, her asthma also began snowballing, and she lacked the energy to do most anything. She knew she needed to become more active to help her breathing, but her respiratory system had become so rundown she didn’t know how to start an exercise program.
After having a hole in her heart fixed, Joyce’s doctor encouraged her to participate in Iredell Health System’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program to learn how much of her shortness of breath resulted from her heart and how much resulted from respiratory breathing issues.
Once enrolled in the program, pulmonary rehab staff assessed what she needed and ordered exercises specific to her situation. They showed her techniques to use for episodes of shortness of breath, and helped her recognize the best times to use her inhalers. They laid out an individualized plan to help her grow her stamina and improve her breathing.
“The Iredell Health employees truly cared about my success,” Joyce said. “They took the time to explain things to me and helped me through the whole process.”
Joyce made tremendous progress during rehab. Employees helped her get through moments of discouragement, and her lifestyle continued to improve.
Joyce is now back to doing things she enjoys and completing projects she had started. She can work in her yard and take her dog out for walks without running out of breath. Working from home on her phone and computer, she can now carry a conversation without stopping. She lost weight and increased her energy. Recently, she went to the mountains with her son, his wife, and her two grandchildren.
“My experience with pulmonary rehab at Iredell Health System has been awesome. Everybody has been so warm, accepting, and helpful – they treat you like they’re a member of your family,” she said.
“A year ago, I was ready to throw in the towel. But I am now confident in the future. It’s been life-changing for me.”