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If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

I should have asked a doctor about what was going on with my lungs much sooner. If I knew how bad it could become, I would have done something about it and made better choices.

I like to think I would have at least been proactive because the bottom line is that I had to quit smoking to breathe. I wish I had done it sooner rather than later, but like many of my friends, and chose later.

Reflecting on the beginning of my COPD journey, I realize that it slowly developed over time. COPD is a progressive disease that gets worse every day.

I heard that voice in my head urging me to get checked out. I wondered what the doctor could offer me in the way of help.

When I finally asked him for help, he told me to quit smoking, gave me a puffer to take twice a day, and left the room.

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No other warnings were given. He failed to tell me that I would gain 15 lbs. within the first month and keep gaining from there. There was little in the way of solutions for me.

Looking back on my journey

My new puffer was loaded with steroids, and the result was that I started to gain weight. I felt my breathing was worse because of the weight gain, but I never put 2 and 2 together, and nobody bothered to explain it.

So, instead, I started to beat myself up for the increased weight, and I would do that for many years. Once I began talking to others who used the same puffers, I found out they were the likelier reason for my weight gain.

There were not a lot of puffer varieties back then. I understand that now, but it sure would have been nice if my doctor had helped me to understand what was happening and why it needed to be that way.

If I had known, I might have been more willing to quit my cigarette addiction then and there, but I couldn’t now. I barely had any clothes that fit me, and nothing looked good on this new body.

Wishing things were different

I realized I had hit the fountain of knowledge when I saw a specialist. These people would become my people.

I felt they understood me and knew how to help me. Being empathetic, each staff member had the knowledge to pass on to me.

I had hit the proverbial jackpot. They were experts in lung function, and the one thing I understood was the nurse explaining my condition to me.

She reminded me this was not my fault, even though I smoked. I was ashamed to say that I loved every cigarette, regardless of what it did to me.

She replied that by design, it was what tobacco companies depended on. While my guilt was warranted, I needed to move on from these feelings.

While I couldn't change anything about my journey, there are things I wish were different.

Do you have things that you wish you had known during your COPD journey?

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The 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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