been smoking ever since I was a teenager. That’s 40-something years ago. I
never really thought about what could happen to this old body if I kept
lighting up. I just knew that I loved to smoke.
"Then I started to
notice that it was getting harder and harder to do simple things like walk to
my mailbox. One time my chest was so heavy that I lay down on the sidewalk
until I could catch my breath. The neighbors must have thought I'd been run
over. I kind of felt like I had been. I don't ever want to feel like that
again. Then there was the coughing. I could barely get through a conversation
"Finally I went to the doctor, and he told me
that I had COPD. He said I really had to quit smoking.
sure I could. To be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to, and that's what I told
him. He said my breathing would get a whole lot harder if I didn't quit, and
that one day, I might have to be on oxygen and be laid up in bed. That scared
me enough that I decided to give quitting a try.
"I tried to quit
cold turkey, but after just a few days I could tell that it wasn't going to
work. I knew it would be hard, because my best friend smokes, and we spend a
lot of time together. He wasn't ready to quit, so seeing him light up made it
really hard for me to say 'no.'
"I realized that I needed to try
something else. So I tried the patch, and that made a big difference. It took
almost 5 months, but I was finally able to quit, and I felt like it was for
good. I can feel a difference in my breathing. And I feel hopeful that quitting
will give me a few more years on my feet.
"My son has also been a
huge help. He quit smoking almost 10 years ago. When I want a cigarette, I will
sometimes give him a call. He helps me remember why I quit in the first place.
He reminds me that I never want to feel 'run over' again. This time I plan to
stay on my feet."
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with this condition.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.