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Sometimes doctors want to know what motivates patients to do what is necessary to really take care of themselves. As an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) patient, I have a lot of reasons for why I am proactive in my health. I know several other patients who have similar motivations for their personal decisions.

I feel motivated by a lot of things to be proactive in this area of my life. I became a bit of a health nut in my early college years. So, I most likely have a lot more motivation about this than the average person would, but there are a lot of other possible motivators.

I believe everyone is due a certain amount of respect, including myself. Part of this is a personality trait I have as an empathetic personality. I respect how my body works and believe it needs to be treated with dignity, and I have a hard time with people who don’t.

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Another reason I believe respect for a person’s body is important is because of my faith. I believe the Bible when it says I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Read about HCP resources for AATD

I’m sure there are exceptions, but most people want to be healthy. One main reason for this is that we have the desire to be happy in our own skin. And, of course, breathing issues are not fun.

So when someone is resistant, they may have qualms about the care they are receiving, the health care industry, or the idea that they are sick. For a long time, I was in a state of denial that I had a real lung disease.

This could have had a real impact on my health. However, I have a routine I like to stick to that is good for me physically, so I didn’t see any immediate problems except that I didn’t allow my rescue inhaler to do its job.

I hear of a lot of people who question or sometimes even don’t trust their doctor. It saddens me that this happens. It’s sometimes from their own experiences or other people’s opinions. I have a great doctor who is very knowledgeable and good at his job. I reflect on that blessing every so often. It has been a real difference-maker in my life.

Read more about AATD diagnosis

Not being able to get the right amount of oxygen we might otherwise take for granted is very uncomfortable for me. I don’t want to be dependent on machines to help me do something so “basic” such as taking in oxygen. But, as any doctor knows, breathing is far from simple. I have come to understand this as a patient who struggles with it. I want to be a person who doesn’t worry about it and can give my family and friends the attention they need.

I can’t consistently help others if I am having to devote time and energy to asthma attacks. I can’t do that if I am often facing exacerbations that come from being surrounded by smoke or mold. It just doesn’t work.

I have a desire to be comfortable and I am motivated by that as well, which goes into my next point: people don’t want to be uncomfortable at the end of their lives. They don’t want to die in pain or suffering.

Feeling like I am suffocating as I am dying doesn’t sound like the best way to go to me, but as an AATD patient, I’m very aware this of this possibility. Knowing that, I really want to make life as easy on my body as possible. The thought of that really motivates me to treat my body right.

Read more about AATD therapies

Not that I think about dying a whole lot, but I can tell you that I truly appreciate how awesome hospice is at helping people have a better end of life. My grandmother was a hospice nurse, and she found a lot of joy in it.

The more I come face to face with the realities of being over 35 years old, the more I appreciate certain things. I had no idea it would be the last half of my life that would be the hardest, not just my last few years on earth. Sometimes worry about health can cause a kind of paralysis that can keep a person from enjoying life. And lately, I am enjoying the little things in life.