I am 50 yrs old and just had lung surgery

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My left lung collapsed and i had surgery to get the hole stapled shut so that my lung would stay inflated. Yes, test of stuff taken out of my lung confirms emphazima. Doc says right lung is worse than the left and odds are it could do the same at anytime. I am on sick leave from work and plan on returning Dec 4th 2017. I am doing really well recovering from surgery, but I am just petrified of what my future holds. I had smoked since I was 13 yrs old and had my last smoke day before I went to ER . That was Oct 7 2017. I am down to being on oxygen only at night and I am working with a lung doc trying different once a day inhalers to see which is best. But I am so scared of what I should expect for my future! Can I live with this? A regular life? Is it possible????

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  • Posted

    Oh dear having a hole in your lung sounds awful and I hope you feel a lot better soon.  As to your prognosis much depends on what level the emphysema is at ie what your lung function is (FEV1).  If you are diagnosed in the early stages there is much you can do to help prevent further damage to your lungs such as stopping smoking (the most important one),  eating healthily and exercising regularly.  Medication also helps. 

    If in the later stages all the above will still help but your life will be affected more.  Emphysema and copd is a progressive illness but it is by no means a death sentence.  Even sufferers at the later stages can still have a reasonable quality of life and live for many years so don't despair. 

    I was diagnosed mild 9 years ago and am still mild!  Most people die with copd/emphysema rather than from it these days.  x

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. I do know that my emphysema is significant/severe from my stay in the hospital. However i am not sure of my exact numbers from the spirometry I have already scheduled for Jan 31 2018, as my lung needs to be fully recovered for true results. I will find out those results late Feb when I see my lung doctor (geez, seems pretty weird to know I HAVE a lung doctor haha). But thanks for your support!
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  • Posted

    HI Jeannie

    So sorry for your situation.  It won't be possible to live a regular life if you mean as you were before the lung issue,  but you will be able to live a reasonable life if you look after yourself.  Ask your doc for referral to Pulmonary Rehabilitation for education on how to manage the symptoms and find out what helps and what hinders.  Basically a good diet, stay away from any smokey environment, exercise regularly whatever you can manage.  The working environment could be dodgy and usually damaged lungs are more susceptible to infection that means you should try and avoid anyone who may be infected with a cold or the flu virus, just as best we can, its not always achievable, but we can try.

    Avoiding further lung infection is very important and learning to recognised when you have one (something you learn at PR) and to act quickly on treating it.  

    Have annual flu shots and a pneumonia vaccine, again speak with your doc (it will be covered on a PR course.

    Wishing you a good recovery.

    For those with very mild COPD or lung damage it is possible to achieve much more and continue working, its only when lung damage is moderate or severe things become more difficult.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying. I see my surgeon end of this month for hopes of my release paper for work. I will definitely ask about pr information!
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  • Posted

    All of the advise here is excellent and valued/true!, however at your age I would ask they test you for alpha one antitrypsin deficency, If you live in USA this is easy contact the Alpha One Foundation, if not let me know I can advise you...its a genetic disease and it causes people to have chronic emphysema usually in the fourth decade of life, sometimes it presents younger, but your in the bracket to be ruled out on this..its a serious disease but it has to be ruled out so your able to get the help you need and advise ...I was diagnosed aged 46. I had severe emphysema out of nowhere and a lifetime of good health, it was a big shock but its managable like everyone here is saying, so please ask on this and for the test. Update us ..  
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    • Posted

      I will. Thank you. However, since I started smoking at age 13, lung disease doesn't seem too far a stretch. Although I am paralysed with fear at how bad it is at my age. I have not had a cigarette since Oct 6th, the day before I went to ER, at least that may slow this stuff down, maybe. But I will ask about Alpa One.

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  • Posted

    The best very best thing anyone can do is stop smoking, so good for you! keep us updated and yes do check on the test ..
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  • Posted

    Hi Jennie,Poor you.Are you from UK? I am worried for my Disabled Husband who is 70 soon.He had to give up smoking 4 months ago,& the Gp thinks he's got COPD or Asthma or Lung cancer. This Thursday 16th we will have the results. He's not able to cough,& he's got no mucus on his lungs,as we have had a regular physiotherapist check him.Hes on 3 inhalers per day. Also his right ankle is swollen.Anyway he's also got chronic on going Osteoarthritis of hips knees and spine and deaf & severely sighted in both eyes. And now with this it's a hugebody blow.I am making him excerise on his Zimmer frame as much as possible. I am his carer. But have the social services coming into sort things out as I need to step his care up.What do you do for work? Anyway,Hope your on the mend.Have you given up smoking? Regards Amanda

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    • Posted

      Hi Amanda I live in the USA. I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I work for my local county in a clerk's office. 14 yrs now and thank God for that, as I have health insurance plus many and plenty of sick days to carry through this! So many are not so lucky. Yes, I have given up smoking....42 days today. I am using the nicotine patches. Doc suggested I stay on step 1 for 6 weeks then two weeks for each step 2 and 3. So far so good, however it is really hard!!

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear you have emphysema, i was told last year that i have emphysema also after a routine ct scan, and i also started smoking at 12 / 13 and now 56 but stopped 11 months ago. I think you can live a good life from what advice i have had but just need to look after your self like some of the other said on here.
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    • Posted

      Thanks John. I have been doing a lot of research on my time off work for recovery, plus listening to great advice. I have high hopes!
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