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Newly Diagnosed

Another Newly Diagnosed

  • By Chris

    Hi All, I’ve been diagnosed with Stage II COPD and have to admit I wasn’t surprised, disappointed but not surprised since I’ve smoked for the last 50 or so years. I began experiencing recurrent bronchitis about 5 years ago and this year after a particularly stubborn case my PCP sent me to a specialist. I was prescribed night time oxygen and was told I’d feel great in the morning after starting on it. I didn’t and had a sleep test showing I have OSA as well. I started on the CPAP and told again I’d feel great. I’m not but I’m hanging in and hoping some morning I will.

    As I said, as a long time smoker I wasn’t surprised, hoped this wouldn’t happen but it has so about 10 days after the initial diagnosis I quit. In the past I tried over and over but always lapsed. Apparently I needed some life changing event to provide real motivation. Better late than never I suppose.

    I don’t think I’m in that bad of condition now but know I’m not in the shape I once was either. I attributed a lot of it to just getting older. Close to a year ago I had spinal fusion after a life of back pain. It got to the point I couldn’t delay it any longer. It was successful but my years of avoiding pain resulted in serious muscle atrophy. I had PT and started a home exercise program. Towards the end of my PT I was having trouble breathing and got the COPD/OSA diagnosis. I continue to walk most days covering about 2.5 miles and 5 flights of stairs. The walk is fine, the stairs not so much but I figure it’s good for me so I’ll keep at it.

    Time will tell how things progress and I try not to let this get me down. I did have a couple weeks of crushing depression which was honestly bizarre. I have always had moderate depression but this was something horrible. Fortunately one morning I was back to my normal. I don’t know what that was all about but it’s been suggested I was mourning the loss of my old life. Not sure about that but, like everything else, time will tell if it’s in the past.

    I’ll wrap this intro of mine up by adding pulmonology problems seem to be health weakness. Besides the COPD/OSA I also have had a PE and numerous cases of pneumonia. Every Fall I get bronchitis and usually one case becomes pneumonia. The docs all mention how lucky I was that the PE didn’t kill me but I’ll tell you pneumonia is far worse for me. Waking at night gasping for air sucks.

    That’s all I have to say right now and I’m well aware I said plenty. I look forward to your support and hope I can add some value here as well.

  • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

    Hi Chris and welcome. We appreciate your candor in sharing your extensive history with our online community. Congrats on quitting smoking so quickly, too. True, as you said, the stimulus may have been the life changing event for you, but you did quit and that is behind you now.
    You’re walking and stair climbing routine is a good one. It will, no doubt, do you well. After all, it’s a type of pulmonary rehab that you’re doing on your own. I thought you might find it helpful to look over this article on pulmonary rehabilitation:
    You are not alone in feeling a sort of depression, as you termed it. In fact, others in our community have expressed similar sentiments about ‘mourning their previous life’. I thought you might find this article will provide a bit more insight into that aspect of COPD:
    Please know that you are always welcome here in our online community. We look forward to your continued participation.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)