No, I never smoked. Seriously.

Last updated: August 2016

My COPD stems from a lifelong birth defect.

Originally diagnosed as needing a "pectus excavatum" at about 6 months to keep my deformed ribs from puncturing my lungs and heart, things were further complicated as I grew due to keloid skin around my scar, tightening up the surgery site to again put my heart and lungs in jeopardy. I had 2 more surgeries for repairing that problem, which contributed to my life long asthma. There were other birth defects, too, but we'll concentrate on that topic for this summary.

I come from a long line of people on both sides of my family tree with hidden birth defects. My Great Grandmother was sent here from Scotland to live or die, the old country was so bad on her delicate lungs. She went on to have 19 children, 13 of whom lived, and thus begins one side of my family tree. (Mom's Maternal line).

My Great Grandfather married a woman of "delicate" health, who gave birth to a dwarf child. In order to protect life opportunities for the younger son, they lied about the first born son being hurt in a fall from his highchair, so it wasn't until much later in life, long after she was confined to an asylum (we think for depression) that Mom began to learn the truth on both sides of her family tree. (Mom's Paternal line).

Dad's situation was no picnic. While we can't prove it, we believe that the paternal line on his side of the family may be descended from the lineage of the Elephant Man (too long to go into here, but many birth defects and points of origin in Liverpool, plus the paternal naming conventions say it may be a possibility.

On Dad's Material side of the tree, we are descended from Paul Revere and Boston blue bloods, but my Paternal Great Grandmother married someone she should not have married, and thus ended our link to the Revere family and any hopes of wealth, LOL.

I tell you all that to tell you this, though - things happen whether or not you know your own genetics, and while I would not repeat the cycle of pain and repairs by having kids of my own - I am the proud Auntie to 5 strong young men. Their health issues are their own, though most have been repaired for various issues, and I'm confident that I made the right choice in not having children of my own. Luckily, Mother Nature was kind to me, and never turned my biological clock on at a relentless volume.

I moved from damp and chilly Massachusetts in 1985 to warm and (mostly) dry and sunny California, and that's given me many more quality years of life than I ever expected.

At this point, though, I have had more than 40 cases of pneumonia (I stopped counting a while back), and the damage to my lungs has left with with a lung capacity of about 26% on a good day, and on permanent disability due to COPD-exhaustion related issues.

I don't want a lung transplant (it would be a waste of money and resources), and I'm hoping on stem cell treatments for my next possible resources, if my body doesn't give out before the treatments are perfected.

Not depressed, as I've had a lot longer on this world than I ever hoped to achieve, and I'm always focused on my next trip or adventure to keep busy checking items off my bucket list and having fun.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Is your COPD affected by colder weather?