My Story

Last updated: January 2022

I'm new to my diagnosis, compared to most of the people that post here that I have read. So I'm still in the processes of accepting my new life.

I started smoking when I was 17. Didn't think much of it my dad, brother smoked, my sister smoked for about 2 yrs then quit. (I think in her early 40's she was diagnosed with COPD. I don't know if the smoking did it for her or the fact that when we were growing up she was always sick, pneumonia at least twice a year, and bronchitis, it seemed like all the time.)

I should have quit

Anyways I had multiple times I could have quit, but choose not to. Now I wish smoking would have made me sick when I was pregnant, like I know it did for a few of my friends. The next time was watching my dad die of throat cancer. I did try, made it 3 days then I made excuses and started again. The multiple times my youngest son asked me to quit and I made excuses. Then in early 2017 I started to notice that I would become short of breath walking across the warehouse I worked in. Didn't think to much about it, I had changed jobs and doing more sitting so I chalked it up to not exercising enough. There again made excuses instead of quitting. Then in late 2017 it seems to be getting worse, I really noticed it when we were moving. So for the next 3 years I dealt with it, lying to myself about what was going on, trying to hide it from everybody around me. In late 2020 I asked my PA for an inhaler, thinking it was more allergies or asthma triggered by dust.
Starting early 2021 I started really thinking about quitting smoking, this went on most of the year, I knew that I would have a hard time quitting when I had someone else in the house that smoked. But I getting more resolved to quit no matter what. This all started when my son told me I was going to be a grandma. My granddaughter was born in September and I got to hold her for a few hours. That's the last time I got to see her.(my doctor said no traveling) I'm guessing something was looking out for me, when the husband came to me and said he had been thinking about quitting smoking. You got to understand this was a shock for me because when we meet he told me he would never quit. So the conversations began. It appeared both of us began slowly making changes. And he had his last smoke a week before I did.(quit day 12/10/21) My thought when I had that last smoke was now with time my breathing will get better. The first couple of days were rough but I made it.

Struggling to breathe

The next few days I noticed I was using my inhaler more often. Then on Thursday 12/16 I ran errands and was really struggling to breath, my thoughts were I'll get past this keep going. That evening I was still struggling and seem to get worse, I stayed up hoping I would get better. But at 4 am when my husband got up I couldn't breathe. (Sometime in the last 6 mts. my husband had bought a pulse ox.) But at 4 am my 02 was either 55 or 65 can't remember very well. But I told him to call 911. I thought I was dying. When the ambulance got here and put me on O2, stats were 02 - 60-65, BP 180/126, what I could see my lips seem to have a blue tinge. The EMT's saw that I was in real trouble; before I got to the hospital they had started an IV, and a Neb treatment. This started to help. At this point no one had to tell me that I had COPD. But what was a shock was the list of diagnosis in the 4 days that I was in the Hospital and all the test they ran.

Going home

I'm thankful that they got me through this crisis. I came home feeling pretty good not realizing that was not going to last. I started back into my life trying to do all the things that I did before my crisis. Even with them sending me home with 02, suppose to be 24/7. I didn’t take my time and slow down. I sent myself into a small crisis but with the meds they sent me home with brought me out of it and made me slow down. During all of this I still wanted to go do the things I did before. I thought I could walk out to the barn to take care of animals, but yeah NO! Every time I would go into panic breathing. I'm realizing with where I live that I'm going to have to be patient, with Doctors and Pharmacy, and O2 supplier. I'm dealing with 02 tank shortages right now. I have a doctor’s appointment later this week and no 02 tanks. I'm realizing I can't predict when I'm going to have a good day or bad. Not able to walk from one room to another. My house is only 900 sq ft.

It's different for everyone

With all of this I am realizing that this hits everyone different. The husband is a little short of breath when active, but can recover to 90+ 02 in just a couple of minutes, and stay that way while resting. My 02 jumps around no matter what I'm doing.

I'm feeling useless, emotional (crying at nothing), anxious, and panicky. Is this how any of you felt when diagnosed? Does it get any better?

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