A surprising diagnosis

One year ago I moved from the east coast to northern Arizona. Newly retired, I was eager to take advantage of all of the outdoor activities, especially horseback riding and hiking. But I found that I was having trouble breathing and began to cough constantly. I thought it was the altitude. When I saw a doctor he gave me a rescue inhaler and took a chest x-ray; he wanted to rule out “Valley Fever” a sometime infection of the lungs that infects newcomers to the area. He also sent me to a cardiologist for a full work-up. The cardiologist cleared me of any heart issues (thank goodness), and referred me back to a new general practitioner. This new doctor sent me for a CT scan of my lungs, and to my surprise, it showed mild emphysema in both lungs. I thought that because I quit smoking 30 years ago that I would be “safe” from lung disease. Now I’m on meds, feeling better. Even though the diagnosis of COPD was a shock, I’m determined to be as well as I can. This online community is just what I needed for education and encouragement. Thank you all, Mary

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