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The Story of My COPD

Hi. I was diagnosed with COPD about 11 years ago. I was devastated when I found out what it was. I quit smoking immediately and that lasted for 8 and a half months. My doctor put me on Sprivia and I gained 40 pounds of fluid in a month which made my breathing even harder. I quit taking it on my own because I knew that was causing the water weight gain. My doctor had no clue what was causing it and did nothing about it.

I was working as a cashier in a local grocery store and my manager told me to just have a cigarette…so I did. I could breathe as soon as I took that one puff. The water weight gain went away too. It was so bad my legs and ankles indented 2 inches into my skin when I pushed on them…my toes were separated because they had so much fluid they wouldn’t go next to each other.

I started another job working in housekeeping in a hospital because the store went out of business. I started working with industrial cleaners and was still smoking. I was having a harder and harder time breathing. I then went to see another doctor. This doctor told me when I was first diagnosed my COPD wasn’t even that bad to have been put on an inhaler like that. They said it may have done some other damage. I then just had a temporary inhaler to use when I needed it. I worked for the hospital for 3 years. So I could hardly breathe at all. I went to another doctor…and he said I need chest x-rays and a breathing test to see where we were with the COPD. I was then diagnosed with COPD with emphysema. I ended up in the hospital for five days with acute pulmonary failure.

I left the hospital on oxygen #3. I quit smoking again. I had to live with my daughter and she, my granddaughter, and my granddaughter’s boyfriend all smoked. You know how hard that is when you are quitting? I would take the oxygen off and sneak a cigarette with my daughter every once in a awhile. Landed up in the hospital again, this time for ten days. They even had to use helium on me because the oxygen alone wasn’t working by itself to help. This time I left the hospital on oxygen #4.

I moved into my own place and have been trying to quit smoking again. Doing better this time just can’t go cold turkey. I smoke 3-4 cigarettes a day. It’s getting easier, down to smoking a half…then the other half. Soon hoping it will be for good. I am on disability, live alone, have no one visit me hardly and no one to talk to. So this is very hard to quit because I get frustrated. I am on medicaid for now until medicare kicks in in August.

So far medicaid won’t pay for the patch so I could quit. I don’t understand that at all. My doctor even filled out a prescription for an aid to quit…they wouldn’t pay for it and it was too expensive for me to pay. It’s hard living on $815 a month. I know I have to quit and I want to quit…I know I will get there soon. I have no choice in the matter – it’s either that or die…and I plan on being here for some time. I am only 62 years old. Thank you for listening.

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.

Comments

  • babeboomer
    3 years ago

    You will keep getting Exacerbations until you quit smoking. Then you will be on oxygen.
    I had to quit using Chantix. It takes 10 weeks for the receptors in the brain to turn around so you will be on the Chantix 3 months plus. You will still smoke when you start it. Eventually you will be able to not smoke at all. (The Co must have changed the formula because originally the smoking craving would go away in a few days, but now it takes a few months). It will work.
    If I can quit anybody can.
    I also started on Cannabis Oil for my COPD. Doing great!

  • jcl
    3 years ago

    sweetness62. I think most of us on this forum knows how hard it is to quit smoking. I smoked forty five years, and I loved to smoke. One day in 2007 I decided that I would not buy any more cigarettes. I had tried quitting several times in the past. I bought the generic lozenges as I had no luck previously with the patch or gum. I was already on bupropion hcl that hadn’t worked for me, but did slow down the smoking.With determination I never smoked another cigarette.I had no signs of COPD at that time. Two years ago I was diagnosed with severe emphysema and COPD. I am on 5 liters of oxygen with any exercise and 2 liters at night.I also don’t have anyone to talk to as I live alone, but I try to stay as active as possible. I can understand how your limited income makes it difficult for you to buy expensive prescriptions. You are probably eligible for help with them. Google the drugs and see if you can get a discount.I hope you can get the support you need to kick this destructive habit. It is not easy, but with the desire and determination you can do it. NOw I hate the smell of smoke and wonder how I ever had that habit, but I am not one to condemn the ones who do smoke, because I remember how much I loved smoking. Good luck and keep us posted.

  • bradshead
    3 years ago

    I know exactly where you are coming from. When I was diagnosed 13 years ago, the consultant confirmed I had COPD and told me that if I stopped smoking it would not get much worse. Did I ? No I didnt I carried on for another 9 years on and off. In the end I was a secret smoker, everybody thought I had stopped, my breathing got much worse and I couldnt do a lot of things that I used to. I knew I had to stop, in the 9 yrs that I carried on smokingI tried everything, to help me stop, patches, chewing gum, hypnosis, none worked. I did stop, I used the E cigarette, it was magic, that was 4 years ago, and now I cant even stand the smell of them. Please stop, because I know that if I had listened to my Dr, I would be in a much better situation than I am now. Believe me….if I can do it anyone can. Never give up giving up. Xxx

  • Meaghan Coneys moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Bradshead – Thanks for your comment! And thank you for sharing with us. Congratulations on quitting smoking, as it sounds like it was a challenging journey, but you prevailed! Congrats! Again, thanks for sharing your experience with us. We appreciate your feedback. Wishing you all the best today. Warmly, Meaghan (COPD.net Team)

  • Daniel Nester
    3 years ago

    I am kind of a newbie to this disease .I was diagnosed with it when I went in to a doctor to get a prescription medication(bupropion HCL SR) to help me quit smoking . My body told me I had to quit and even though, I have severe stage 3 COPD ,I didn’t know I had it! I am very active and have a full time job on my feet all day ! I just thought I was out of breath because of age and not doing the workouts I did back in the Marines or later on in my 40’s with martial arts. Anyway sticking with the subject I have smoked all my teenage and adult life . I was a three pack a day smoker and I know how hard it is to quit Sweetness62 .I am telling you this because you can do it . I am on the meds and patches with a occasional lozenge or two. I thought there were days that I would roll my patch up and smoke it but it hasn’t happened. The biggest test for me was sitting at work before my shift started in the smoking are out side of my plant ! I shouldn’t have sat there because of second hand smoke, but I did anyway just to see if I craved one . Without a doubt the meds are working for me! I know it is expensive without coverage to afford to quit ,but I spent 300 a month smoking . Think about the savings and your health in the long run . You owe it to yourself and not the tobacco industry .No matter what course you take to quit , I and many others are behind you 100%. Keep us/me informed good luck !

  • Lorataylor
    3 years ago

    Hope you have many years keep a strong mind and when you feel bad think and say I’m gonna do better tomorrow, I have had a hard week but just gonna keep trying.

  • RockinRene65
    3 years ago

    US Funding to help quit

    1-800-LUNGUSA

  • Jenn Patel
    3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, RockinRene65! We appreciate your support of others in the community.

    Best,
    Jenn (Community Manager, COPD.net)

  • Shirley Ann
    3 years ago

    I’ll be 61 in August. I was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation 9 years ago. I had smoked heavily for 39 yrs smoker but I quit within a few weeks of this. A couple years later I was dx’d with COPD. It did not sink in how serious COPD is as I considered the heart problems the most concerning. Now I realize they all tie in together, heart and lungs, and quitting smoking was the best thing I did for myself. It wasn’t easy, of course, but I must say I had never even tried to quit before and I loved smoking, even with my horrible chronic smoker’s cough. Anyone who knew me did not believe I could or would ever quit smoking. But I did! I used Champix (or Chantix) and Wellbutrin as well as Ativan for anxiety. I have never taken so much as a puff again and do not even want to. If I can do it, so can you. Good luck!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Congratulations, Shirley Ann on being able to quit smoking. As you know, quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do for yourself with COPD. We appreciate your posting your experiences and encouraging words. Other readers may review your post and feel empowered to do more for themselves as well.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Erin Rush moderator
    3 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Many in this community can understand how hard it is to quit. I always say, “You never fail until you quit trying.” So, even though you have quit before, I don’t think you have failed in any way. Sure, it’s best to stay quit, but many smokers take more than one try before the quitting “sticks”. You can learn from each time you picked up a cigarette before. It looks like you already have! You know that living around smokers makes it too challenging. I am sorry you can’t get the patch yet, but many people have been able to quit even without the patch. And cutting out smoking will save you money as well! It can be done and you have already proven that! I thought you might appreciate this article about how quitting smoking is always a good idea, no matter how progressed your COPD is — https://copd.net/living/why-quitting-smoking-can-prolong-life/. Also, for those rough days, you might like to refer to this article about the benefits of quitting smoking. Do you know that 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate drop? After 20 minutes! https://copd.net/living/rewards-quitting-smoking-nutshell/. Keep cutting back as you can. Eventually, you will be ready to say good-bye to that last cigarette. You can do this! You have done it before and you can do it again! And we are here to help in any way that we can. You can also visit our facebook page to interact with our many community members — https://www.facebook.com/copddotnet/. I always tell people that smoking is an all-encompassing habit. It is physical and mental and people need to plan for that when they want to quit. You need to find a new stress reliever BEFORE you are stressed. Also, keeping those hands and mouth busy, especially during your usual smoke times (like the drive home from work, for example, or that mid-morning smoke break). These are all things you probably already know, but it’s good to have your battle plan in place BEFORE you need it! Thank you again for taking the time to share with the COPD.net community. We’re very glad to have you here! Wishing you the best and a smoke-free future! Best, Erin, COPD.net Team Member.

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