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I am a 59 year old female and was officially diagnosed with COPD in January 2016. I had been told several times to quit smoking over the years but I was stupid and thought that nothing was going to happen to me. I struggled with S.O.B. for quite a while and last September 29, I was taken to the hospital by ambulance the first time. My first exacerbation and last cigarette.

Had another exacerbation in November, December, and January, all of which I was hospitalized for. Broke 3 ribs from coughing and have recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis after fracturing my T12 vertebrae and found a lipoma in my spinal cord at my T10-T12 vertebrae.

I have suffered from anxiety and depression way before COPD. I get stressed very easily and that makes me feel worse. I stay in bed a lot most days and think of all the things I need to do and can’t. Depressing.

The whole thing with my back is the main issue right now. I finally found a neurosurgeon in NYC to see me and he said we won’t do anything about the lipoma, and I have an appointment next week to see his partner about possible bone cement for the fracture. Been in pain for about 8 weeks now but at least for the last two, I haven’t needed Percocet which I really dislike taking.

My husband of 36 yrs and my 5 children are not used to seeing me down like this. They all have always told me I am the strongest woman they have ever seen. I was a hard worker but not now. I have bad days, not so bad days, and good days. To me, a positive attitude plays a big part in how I feel. That is difficult for me. I love Jesus and He takes care of me more than even I realize. Hope none of you on here mind but I will be praying for you.

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.


  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Cindy,

    Good for you with your quit! It’s never too late to do so. I’m sorry you had an exacerbation, and back problems. I feel so bad for you. Hopefullythe doc you are meeting is someone you are comfortable with.

    I want you to know that you aren’t alone with anxiety, depression, and stress. There are many that suffer with these. Have you talked to your doctor about possibly getting an antidepressant? I know you dont like taking meds, but that might make a difference and help you.

    It is so hard to have family see you on the bad days, even the soso days. It can be uplifting too because this opens doors for them to help you and you to help them, also to find a support group such as Better Breathers, or online support groups are available too. We have a forum where you can chat with others, as you can here under the story, where we are now. Keeping you in my prayers as well.

    Janet (moderator)

  • Casey Hribar moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Cindy12,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. It takes a lot of courage to open up to others, and we greatly appreciate you allowing us to join you on your COPD journey. I’m so sorry to read about all you have had to endure, especially breaking your ribs from coughing…. wow!! You are truly a fighter and a strong individual. It’s so amazing and admirable that you’re handling all of this on top of the fractured vertebrae and lipoma!!

    You’re so not alone in having feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress exacerbated with your COPD. I found a few articles you may be interested in regarding managing these heightened experiences. You can find them here, and here The last link is actually to a two-part series about mourning the loss of your previous life. I thought you may connect to this since you mentioned your family not being used to seeing you live your life in this new way.

    I’m so glad to read that you’ve found a surgeon to meet with. Although he won’t address the lipoma, it’s still great that you’re seeing an additional provider to determine what the best route of action is for your specific situation. I’m sure your family still views you as such a strong woman and fighter, just like we do! I know it may be difficult, but establishing a strong support network during this time may help both you and your family throughout your daily lives. We’re glad you’ve found our community, and hope you know we’re here for you. Even if it’s just when you need an ear to vent to! I’ve found one additional article written by our community experts surrounding all of this that you may be interested in as well. You can find it here,

    I hope some of these links will resonate with you, and that you know we’re here for you and grateful to have you in our community!

    Sending warm and gentle hugs your way, Casey ( Team)

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