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Diagnosed in 2012 with emphysema by mistake.

About 4 years ago I was having pain when I tried breathing deep so I figured it was probably the usual pneumonia and pleurisy. The doctor came back saying that I didn’t have pneumonia but to be sure he was going to do a chest CT. The CT came back with 3 pulmonary embolisms in my left lung and also there he did see the pneumonia too.

By then there was a team of doctors around my bed giving me too much information way too fast. One of the doctors said, “You need to quit smoking now because I already see a little damage.” I didn’t question and the next day they sent me home on Lovenox and Coumadin.

I followed up with a hematologist who told me my clots were dissolving. Then went on to see a pulmonary specialist. She asked me what I was doing for my emphysema! I said, “I don’t have emphysema.” She showed me on the CT they did in the hospital but I was never told. (Thinking back, that must have been what the “damage” was that one of the doctors saw but never mentioned it at the time, all talk was on my P.E.s.).

So now here we are 5 years later and I am still smoking although only 3 per day. I hate that I still smoke. I started on the patch. Now I am at stage 1 still, but sometimes if I lay down too long, I need my rescue inhaler immediately, then after about 5 minutes, I’m ok. But those little flare ups are scary.

I’m currently taking Anoro, Ventolin. No oxygen or nebulizer. Fortunately not yet anyway. The next time I see my primary care doctor, I want to be able to tell him, I quit smoking. That’s 3 months.

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.


  • Gadget
    2 years ago

    I quit after 40 years. I swore I could never quit. But after many years of morphine, and was able to get off of it in 4 months. Dr. said it would take at least 8 months, at 250 my. daily. I played a mental game with myself…I cut it back further..and further.
    Did the same with smoking..cut back on the milligram, the amount…till there was none. I don’t miss it at all. Any thing that smells gives me coughing fits..
    If I can do it, anybody can..

  • Casey Hribar moderator
    2 years ago

    Wow, what an amazing story, Gadget! Thank you for sharing, and a big CONGRATULATIONS on everything you’ve achieved! You are awesome, and we’re so grateful to have you in our community! Warmly, Casey ( Team)

  • Erin Rush moderator
    2 years ago

    HI Leasafb! Thank you for sharing a part of your story with us. First off, you CAN quit smoking. Many of our members have quit and I know you can, too. You are almost there, so keep working on it and by your next appointment, you should be able to tell your PCP that you are smoke-free! You may want to check out this free program to help you quit — I know it has helped quite a few people with that extra support and encouragement you may need to make this change. Also, you are welcome here anytime you need to vent, share, or get a little extra support.

    I am sorry your doctors did not communicate clearly with you when you were first diagnosed. I know that can be very frustrating. I am glad your embolisms cleared up and that you are doing well, overall. As you probably know, quitting smoking can help slow down the progression of your COPD. Here is some information on why quitting can really help control your COPD —

    Thank you again for sharing with us! I am glad to have you as a part of the community! Hang in there and know you CAN DO THIS! Best, Erin, Team Member.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Leasafb – I see that Erin has provided you with some terrific advice and reading material. I wanted to chime in and give you the support too – only three cigarettes a day now? YOU CAN DO THIS! I’m hoping you will be smoke free by the next time you go to see you primary physician.
    Good luck and please be sure to check back with us and let us know how you’re doing.
    Leon (site moderator)

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