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In the spring of 2012, Carolyn Mansolf was battling severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and was, in her own words, “rapidly going downhill.” Despite her COPD, she still smoked, continuing a 40-year habit. She did not have the strength to take a shower and wash her hair at the same time. Carolyn struggled so much while dress shopping for her youngest daughter’s upcoming fall wedding that her family was concerned she might not make it to the special day.
Finally, she asked her doctor what she could do to slow down the disease. He referred her to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Hospital for Special Care (HSC). Carolyn first spoke with Elyse Carroll, BS, RRT, Respiratory Disease Manager and Tobacco Treatment Specialist, and they discussed a plan to help Carolyn quit smoking. After three weeks in the program she quit smoking and began Pulmonary Rehabilitation. She has not smoked since.
Over the past three years Carolyn has come to HSC three times a week for both strength training and aerobic workouts. But while the “place” is great, Carolyn says it is the people at HSC who make the real difference. For her, these special people are Elyse, Stephanie Alderman, CRT, Outpatient Respiratory Therapist, and Kevin Mangini, Certified Personal Trainer at HSC.
Besides the smoking cessation program and the pulmonary rehabilitation regimen, Carolyn is also part of the COPD Disease Management program at HSC. She meets with Elyse or Stephanie, Betsy Smith, RN and Dr. Marcy Goldstein, Pulmonologist, every few months to discuss her status, changes in her workout regimen, and anything else which might affect her health.
With her renewed vigor and energy, Carolyn joined a couple of quilting groups, including the “Grateful Threads” at the First Congregationalist Church in Southington. She has surprised the HSC team with two quilts she made. Carolyn is donating one quilt, entitled “Boxed Stars,” to the Quilts of Honor program which will deliver it to an injured soldier. She is making this donation in honor of Stephanie, who served in the Army National Guard. Carolyn is donating another quilt, entitled “Color My World,” to a child in HSC’s Pediatric Unit in honor of Elyse.
With the support of her family, friends and her HSC team, Carolyn has certainly taken control of her life. And that wedding three years ago that she was not sure she would make? Her daughter is expecting in a few months, Carolyn’s third grandchild.