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Standing my ground

Back in January 1999, I became quite poorly, coughing a lot of green phlegm, getting very breathless and losing weight, I went back and forth to me GP who kept saying, take these, try these, you got a chest infection... I soon got jarred off and demanded a 2nd opinion.

What is emphysema?

The second GP took a listen to my chest and referred me for a biopsy and a bronchoscopy. When I heard the word biopsy, I was worried sick that I had cancer as I was now coughing up blood. There was no sign of cancer, but I was diagnosed with emphysema. I jumped for joy, not knowing what emphysema was back then; the consultant said to me "Why are you so happy?" I just said "Well, it isn't cancer, is it?" and he looked at me and said, "It might not be, but you could still be dead or bedridden in 4 years."

.What's next?

This was in May 1999. I just said "OK" and walked away. In 2004, it got slightly worse, and I was referred to the a new hospital for a possible lung transplant. Luckily, they found that my lungs weren't damaged enough for a transplant, but I was put forward for a bullectomy in September 2004, and I haven't looked back.

I'm glad I got that second opinion

I still work and walk at least 3 miles most days, I do not use any inhalers and my breathing improves slightly every year. I do get the odd chest infection, the last one was about 4 years ago. I'm so glad I ignored the diagnosing consultant, I could of taken on board what he said and been dead or bedridden within the 4 years. It is now 25 years since diagnosis and I'm 64, most people don't believe me when I explain that I have emphysema. I'm just so pleased I stood my ground and demanded a 2nd opinion

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