I'm terrified I have COPD

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I recently stopped smoking after a year of stopping and starting again. During this time I noticed a wheeze and the cigarettes seemed to set it off along with a cough. I went to doctors yesterday and she gave me ventolin and has booked an appointment for a spirometer test. Needless to say I've been on the Internet and frightened myself beyond belief. My daughter is 8 and I keep thinking I'm going to die before she's old enough to take care of herself. I feel guilty for smoking all these years (from 14 but stopped through 3 pregnancies and after) and selfish but all I can see is death and an oxygen tank. I don't cough all the time and cycle a 30 minute journey both ways so an hour in total twice a week and do vigorous horse riding ie trotting cantering and jumping twice a week. I've resigned myself to the fact it's COPD because I do t know what else it could be after smoking for so long. I'm so anxious I can't eat and keep crying thinking about my daughter. I'm 43. Please help. Will I die young?

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  • Posted

    Hi I an only reiterate what the others have said.  Even if you do have copd it will be only very mild.  It doesn't progess that quickly you know and you will probably die of old age before it gets too bad.  Don't panic and just get on with living your life.   Bev x

     

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  • Posted

    Hi..I've had copd/emphysema for about 12 years..Strangely, I still have it and expect to have 'til I die..which I'm not expecting imminently..I'm 65 but I instigated this disease many years ago as part of a brilliant life lived. Your youth (relatively..) and concern for your family can only be admired but mustn't be used. You have many years of, admittedly, slightly restricted life, ahead of you..Why are you fretting?? just get on with it. Take good care of yourself, eat well (peanuts, a handful a day are benefificial to lungs, dunno why..), Don't live a fearful life, it'll not extend it..Live the life you have, medicate as your Dr suggests and learn a bit about what ails you but treat the internet with a sceptical mind, folk aren't the same..having said that, knowledge is, after all, a power we can all have.
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  • Posted

    Sorry, when I said forget it I meant live your life. Do continue on the course you are on, get tested and stop smoking. Keep excercising and look after yourself.
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  • Posted

    I know how you feel I am waiting to get diagnosed with COPD. I am freaking out a little bit. I never smoked but do work in the construction field. I will let you know how my Doctor's visit goes. I really do appreciate the postive messages on this has. It has helped my a lot to understand COPD is not necessary a death sentence JCC
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  • Posted

    I just found out today that i have COPD, and have also been being treated from GERD in my esophagus, so i past frantic at this moment!! , For some reason i feel they have something to do with one another, because you can get asthma with Gerd, and i cannot afford to go to another Dr. , Im so upset and panic over all of this!! any reassurance will help! , Ive been crying for hours! 
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    • Posted

      Hi Denise you are better off putting this up as a separate post because most people won't see it tacked onto the end of this one.   x
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    • Posted

      It's understandable you're upset, but can you stop and remind yourself that GERD won't kill  you and that COPD is manageable and while it may get you in the end you have many years in which to live your life despite it.

      I definitely don't believe the two conditions are connected, but others may have information I don't:  I also have both conditions but I really don't see how they could be connected.     

      I assumed you were diagnosed via a spirometry test and if so, what's your lung percentage?   The very best thing you can do is find a pulmonary rehab group, but I'm thinking from your comment about not being able to afford to see another doctor that you're in the US and I don't think such groups are free or common there - at least that's my impression from this forum.

      If you're a smoker, the COPD will advance much faster, so you really need to stop by whatever means are necessary.

      I hope this gives you some hope:  my lung function is exactly the same now as it was when I was first diagnosed nearly 4 years ago:  I went to rehab, learned appropriate exercises, I walk every day and I have both Spiriva and Symbicort sprays which I use faithfully.  As much as possible I stay out of air borne polluion, including other people's cigarette smoke.

      I hope you've stopped crying now!   All the best

       

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    • Posted

      Good suggestion hypercat:  I didn't think of that when I replied.   She sounds very stressed and new to the site, so maybe didn't think of it
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    • Posted

      jude65855 , thank you...yes..im in the USA ...had this GERD in my esophagus for 4 years, and its been haa nightmare for me. , now the copd and yes, i used to smoke, not anymore. I have an inhaler now, and a nebulizer. Ive been on a special diet for years, and still been quite sick, so this was alot to take in today!! Thank you for your support. 

       

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    • Posted

      Do you have nexium or a similar medication (esomeprazole) for the reflux?  I had it for a while after I'd had a heart attack, waking me up during the night, and to be quite honest the chest pain is very similar, which scared me heaps until my cardiologist's tests came up OK for my heart and he tried me on one prescription, and I only very very rarely experience it now and only mildly.

      I don't know how hold you are (I'm 70 this year and in spite of years of smoking I was quite healthy at least on the surface until about 6 years ago) but I often think of the Katherine Hepburn quote:  she said that going to the doctor when you get old is a bit like taking your old car for repairs - there's a lot of headshaking and tut-tutting and then the comment "Sorry, they don't make parts for this model any more."

      I hope that cheers you up a bit ...... then there's Bette Davis, who made the famous often quoted statement that old age is no place for sissies.

      Take care of yourself!

       

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    • Posted

      Yes..im on nexium 40 mg, and Pepcid 20mg twice a day. , And for 4 years ive gone threw all this with the coughing, and my Gasto told me Esophageal Gerd causes this, plus it can cause asthma. So im just not sure what to think here, im told so many different things in the last 4 years, and now this...its a bit much to take.  I am 60 , and im feel like im 90!  Thanks Jude....guess im a sissy...sad 
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    • Posted

      Hey , don't give up so easily!   Reflux can cause coughing, because the acid irritates the throat.   I had very bad night time coughing with COPD until my gp prescribed Symbicort:  I was exhausted from broken sleep and many nights ended up sitting up in the armchair to sleep.  I thought my life would always be like this, but the Symbicort ended that.

      With COPD, it's essential you take responsibility for managing the COPD with slowing down when your breathless instead of trying to "soldier on" and that you learn the correct breathing techniques and other specific exercises.   Other people on this forum have advised the breathing exercises can be found on youtube and I strongly recommend you check that out if you can't get into a pulmonary rehab group.

      When I was first diagnosed I panicked too until my gp told me she'd recently been to the funeral of a woman in her 80's who'd had COPD for decades and died of something else anyway.   There are a lot worse things than COPD for a smoker:   lung cancer gives you notice whatsoever and is often diagnosed when it's too late:  COPD is no fun but at least we can have some control over how it progresses and it can be slowed down for decades, depending on at what stage the diagnosis was made.

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    • Posted

      Well im on a inhaler now, and breathing treatments, So im Praying this will work. I do cough during the night, and morning. I use 3 pillows to keep my head elevated. This is why im not sure i was diagnosed correctly. I feel so upset and have not stopped crying for hours, because im so confused. I thank you for your response and advise, as its helping me. 

       

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    • Posted

      I guess it could depend on what stage you're at with the COPD:  did the diagnosing doctor use any terms like early or late stage and what was your lung function percentage and oxygen saturation figures?  If you weren't given them and maybe didn't ask because of being in a state of shock, can you call the doctor and ask?   

      Please try not to cry so much: that can't be helping your breathing!   

      On thing I found helped the coughing was to suck a cough lozenge containing menthol (I use Anticol but I don't know if that's available everywhere)  and then drink some very cold water.  Another old remedy is sipping a half and half mixture of cider vinegar and honey:  I used to have that ready made up in the fridge when I was a smoker.

      If you've been using the Symbicort for a while and you're still coughing it would be good if  you could manage to see the doctor again.  All I know is that I only have night time coughing very rarely now, usually when I've been exposed to pollution, inc cigarette smoke.

       

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    • Posted

      My test she said came out "mild" , she did not give me any results... ill have to call and ask i guess. Im on Albuterol inhaler, and then i have a breathing machine i put drops into, and breathe those in. Im just learning this. Gives me a dry mouth. So yes..I have been using cherry menthol cough drops, and it helps so much Jude! , usually when i cough is in the early morning, and i do that a few times, roll over and go back to sleep, But now, i might be using my inhaler by the bedside. I guess i should be considering im lucky that this was caught early...just been so sick for 4 years with this Gerd, its a tad much.  
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    • Posted

      "Mild" is good!   The approx lung function percentage would be good to know too so that when you have another spirometry test whenever that is, you'll know if you're maintaining the level and if deteriorating, at what rate.

      Dry mouth is common with a lot of COPD medication because it dries out parts of the body other than the lungs & bronchial tubes:  Spiriva gave me a very dry mouth and cracks at the corners of my mouth for a while and then I guess my body got used to it, although I still occasionally get dryness in the corners of my mouth.

      Albuterol must be quite different to the two inhalers I have, because they're used once a day (2 puffs) for the Spiriva and twice a day (1 puff) for the Symbicort.    The latter is the one which helped amazingly with the night time coughing.

      Hang in there:  it's a steep learning curve I know!

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