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Has My COPD Been Cured?

We are often told that COPD is incurable and irreversible. But consider my story.

Starting to show symptoms

I smoked marijuana for more than 40 years -- deep draughts from bongs and joints daily, held as long as possible in my lungs before exhaling -- again and again. In my early 50s, I began to have frequent bouts of bronchitis and asthma.

After I retired, I continued smoking and became a solo world traveler in 2016. My lung problems continued and worsened. A respected pulmonologist at a Malaysia hospital gave me a spirometry test in 2019 and diagnosed COPD mid-stages I and II. I immediately stopped smoking, became a clean-air advocate, stopped abusing alcohol, and began avoiding all types of environmental pollutants. I also stepped up my exercise program and improved my diet radically, while continuing my world journey. The pulmonologist in Malaysia also prescribed the daily use of an Anoro Ellipta inhaler, which I complied with.

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I visited 39 countries on six continents before returning to the USA in December 2023 to write about my life and travels, including my experience with COPD.

What's happening with my lungs?

After my journey resumed with the diagnosis in Malaysia, I have had no further COPD flare-ups (“exacerbations” in medical-speak) or any other serious illnesses. I have had spirometry and other lung-function tests, and an X-ray and a CT scan of my chest, all recently at U.S. medical facilities, none of which shows any evidence of lung damage or COPD-related abnormalities.

Was I misdiagosed?

That creates a problem as I try to make sense of this for the memoir I’m writing. The doctors shy away from definitive statements that would help to answer my questions. I think they fear problems with a misdiagnosis and potential legal problems, perhaps. I do wonder, though, did I ever really have COPD? Then, practically, cure myself with diet, exercise, abstinence, determination, and an inhaler?

Or did I never really have it at all?

I'm still trying to figure this out, and I welcome anyone here and throughout the COPD community to share their thoughts with me.
Would I, in fact, be the first COPD patient to survive this deadly diagnosis? And with such a simple, holistic cure, and one inhaler?

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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