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A New Day

Now that I have had time to digest my diagnosis with COPD, things do not seem as scary as I originally thought. I am still unsure about the future, but I know I have every reason to be positive. Now I can focus on moving forward and thinking about what steps come next.

The Hard Part

The obvious first priority for me is the need to quit smoking. The idea is terrifying to me, but I have to address the addiction in order to give my doctor the best chance of helping me. I think the scariest part of trying to quit smoking is the weight gain. Every time I have tried in the past, I have gained terrible amounts of weight that never seem to go away.

If I were alone, the mood swings wouldn’t bother me, but I am scared of how they will affect my relationship with my wife. She is my number one supporter. I worry that I’ll snap at her while I go through the withdrawal process. Having tried to quit multiple times before, I already know I am not a pleasant person to be around during this time, so I will have to be diligent about recognizing that my moods are a symptom of withdrawal and not the fault of anyone around me.

Grieving

I have been a smoker for 30 years. Even though I know how terrible smoking is and has been for me, there will be a period of grieving similar to having lost someone close to me. It has been a part of who I am for so many years that I’ll have to figure out who I am after everything settles. On the positive side of things, I should save a fortune considering all the money I spend currently on cigarettes.

The Plan

My Pulmonologist sounded confident when she diagnosed me with COPD that I was not at the end stage of COPD. She ordered more chest x-rays to help determine if a bronchoscopy procedure might be necessary. She currently has me on a once per day inhaler (Breo), along with an albuterol emergency inhaler. Hopefully my x-ray results will give her the information she needs. If not, there will likely be an MRI in my near future.

Changes

Now that I’ve been diagnosed with COPD, I am paying more attention to everything. At this point, I am still nervous enough that every little thing makes me question what is going on with my body. Purely a coincidence, just after the diagnosis, my allergies have been off the charts bad. My wife and I both agreed we felt like it was allergies, but because of my nerves, I went to the doctor anyway, only to have her confirm what we already knew. I thought it was better to go to the doctor and not need it, than to skip it and find out I was really getting sick.

Adjustments

While I will be making some life changes, I am also adjusting to sleeping with a sleep apnea machine. It has been a far bigger struggle than I would have imagined. I have only managed to use the machine over six hours once. Most nights I am below five hours of usage. As of last night, I was able to make some changes on the machine that actually helped me sleep better though. I was having trouble exhaling through the machine forcing air inwards.

Do any of you dealing with COPD also use a sleep apnea machine? Has the machine or any inhalers helped with your cough? Your ability to get quality rest? Please share in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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