Confusion and initial denial
Last updated: November 2022
I have always, taken pride on being fit for intense work-Captain on large commercial fishing boat. Yes, I did smoke, less than a pack a day, but never really inhaled into the depths of my lungs. Brutal winters, and intense weather conditions, dictated my fitness for purpose. I never felt, any effects taking place within my lungs.
On, May 2003, I was involved in a rear motor vehicle accident. I was the victim a no-fault accident. The catastrophic damage to my spine, became very apparent, quickly. After five destroyed discs, and horizontal fractures to 3 vertebrates, left me in a horrible situation. Several fusions, and operations, that I have lost count. Months seeing specialists, till finally no more constructive surgery could be performed. Then, began months of pain clinic, specialist, to reduce the agonizing and destructive pain. I would never walk again, was the consensus.
But I was never going to give up. Every pain medication was used to alleviate the pain., In the beginning it was a Godsend. But the human body, being what it was soon overcame the chronic pain meds. So, they tried cutting edge surgery called ablation. This would severe the pain returning nerves. The cut nine major nerves, and its was like a light switch being turned off. The patient, needed to be awake and alert. Yes, it was horrid. But the nerves would regenerate within 3-5 years. There is much more, but at the expense of boring people, and wondering what that has got to do with COPD.
My lungs were a mess
I had quit smoking, over 18+years. And I had began to wonder, why my breathing was some what labored, doing the simplest tasks. I shrugged it of with my lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle. Yes, my stubbornness to accept that something was not right. At the insistence of my best friend and lifelong wife, I went into the doctors to get it looked at. Ny lungs were a mess, there is no other way to describe it.
The pulmonologists had no doubt, when they observed much scaring, evidence of many occasions of pneumonia, bronchitis, and untold exposure to toxic, carcinogenic chemicals like asbestos, fiberglass freon and God only knows what else. So, I guess the scene was set.
Between 61 yrs. old and my age of 63+, I was confused as to why? And worse, my denial. The outbreak of covid, I had to accept it was a nightmare for me. Knowing only too well its devastating effects on people with compromised immune systems.
When my weight plummeted from a healthy 185lbs to 153lbs, fear set in. I could not understand what was going on. Regardless of my thoughts and my reluctance to accept, I had COPD. And it was advanced or what term was used. My apologies if this story is long-winded, but I feel it necessary, for others like me.
The fight is on
I have, since, undergone various procedures, and the fight is on. Embrace, the disease, and work, with the dedicated nurses and doctors, for they will extend your life, teach you how to deal with it, and so very much more.
Technology is evolving, much in medicine. Be your own advocate, research your disease, remember Doctors and Nurses, are not infallible. Perhaps they just don’t have the time, there work case load is daunting. And please always remember, this is a team effort.
What stage was your COPD diagnosed as?