My mother has been diagnosed with COPD. - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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My mother has been diagnosed with COPD.

Ebby1985 profile image

My mother was recently diagnosed with COPD, she has also had tuberculosis in the past, and has already had some of her right lung cut away, so her lungs are already very weak. She has smoked heavily for many years and is continuing to do so, she's had lots and lots of chest infections in the past. The question I really wanted to ask is, how long do you live with this disease? She is not stopping smoking, she has made that very clear to me, and she doesn't exercise very much either. I'm very worried about her.

27 Replies

Hi there Ebby. First things first. You can live a very long time with COPD. I was diagnosed with COPD 12 years ago at the age of 58. I'm now 70 and still going strong. Has mum tried to cut down on the cigarettes by using an electronic cigarette? A lot better for her and far cheaper. If she sees her doctor he can get her put on to something called a Pulmonary Rehabilitation course. It is gentle exercises for an hour and then they teach you different ways to breathe. It also helps to reduce the number of chest infections. It is a very good course Try to talk mum into getting hold of her problems now, she owes you that much. If you need any more help come back onto this site. Or, you can phone the British Lung Foundation nurses for advice on 03000 030 555. Good luck with mum sweetheart.

Bobby xxx

Ebby1985 profile image
Ebby1985 in reply to phillips1

Aww, wow, thank you for replying so soon.

My mother just seems to have given up, she has tried everything to stop smoking over the years, and yes she does have a electronic cigarette. She just can't give up, she's had quite a difficult life, and sits dwelling on the past a lot of the time. She was a alcoholic and nearly died when I was 4 years old, she almost drank herself to death, the doctors gave her 9 months to live, but against all the odds she pulled through, stopped drinking and she hasn't touched the drink now for 23 years, but because she can't drink she sees smoking as her release, as her way of coping with everyday stresses, and she thinks that if she stops smoking, she will have nothing to help her cope, it really upsets me and makes me very angry. It's like she's given up and doesn't want to fight anymore, which I feel is very selfish. I love her so much and I will always support her, but she does make me angry sometimes.

Eb. x

phillips1 profile image
phillips1 in reply to Ebby1985

Hi again Ebby. If you can talk mum into going on to a PR course they will help to get her off the cigarettes or at least cut down. I have been using just an electronic one for the last two years. By being fitter she will feel much better about herself and probably take more care of her well being. Don't forget to call those BLF nurses, they will advise you much better than I can. Good luck with it.

Bobby xxx

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Hi Ebby.

Can only recommend what Bobby has already said.

I gave up smoking with the help of tablets, they were really great because you could carry on smoking whilst taking them and after a few weeks you just didn't want to smoke anymore, it was so easy.

I only gave up because my daughters kept doing guilt trips on me, was not diagnosed with COPD till 8 months later.

Take care and good luck.


My mother has tried the tablets, her last relationship fell apart because of her smoking addiction, there is no chance she'll ever quit, it pains me to say it, but it's the truth, that's why I'm so worried. Since being diagnosed with this disease she's just given up trying. It doesn't help that her uncle died of COPD just 6 weeks ago, she now sees it as a death sentence, even though I've told her she can live with it for many years.

Hello Ebby

This must be so very hard for you to deal with. It must be really difficult for your Mother too but moreso for you because you cannot do anything except try to get your Mother to stop smoking.

I do hope that things get better for you.

Love and hugs



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Hallo & welcome Ebby!

Just been catching up on posts,& saw yours,poor love,what an awful burden to carry.

It must be awful for you, not being able to help your Mum stop smoking,very frustrating also!

You seem convinced,she will not stop,so don't waste energy over trying to stop her.It is her responsibility in the final say, not yours,& if her minds made up ....

If she would go to a pr course,that will help her,maybe the fact that her Uncle died,might make her reconsider things??

Maybe you can help,by seeing she has a good diet,& some extra vitamins,keep her fluids up, & last but not least,to try & keep some humor up,in her rather negative world at the moment.

Do take care of yourself to,very important!!

Good luck,let us know how you get on,we're always here to listen!


Love Wendells xxx

Hi, I am sorry you are so worried about your there any way that she would access this site herself and express her feelings here and read other people's posts.

Sometimes it is easier to tell "virtual people" how you feel...there is plenty of support here

Could you speak to her gp to see if there is any help she could get for her emotional problems as well as the physical

Take care from J

Ebby1985 profile image
Ebby1985 in reply to knitter

Hello Knitter.

My mother has never touched a computer in her life, she doesn't want to either, she has 0 interest in technology, she's only just learned how to text on her mobile telephone, she's stuck in time. She goes to the doctors all the time, sometimes as much as twice a week, her doctor knows the full extent of her emotional and physical health, he does try his best to help her, but she doesn't listen to him, she listens to no-one.

Hi there, a very good idea from Knitter about getting her onto BLF. She will find a lot of support.

Many of us here have children and worry about them worrying or being upset for us!

If you were born in 1985 you're 2 years younger than my youngest. I worry about her & her sisters & brother.

I'm so sorry you're having this worry about your mother when it's supposed to be the other way round.

You must have had a very difficult childhood so well done you for surviving it.

At the end of the day we can only do our best, supporting & showing escape routes but all adults have choices. Sometimes people feel safer in their own misery and negativity (sorry to be blunt) because to move into another, different way of being or living is just too frightening.

She sounds very depressed, it sounds as though she cannot see how lucky she is to have a beautiful, caring daughter like you. Time for you and your life now?

You could ring the BLF helpline, they have counsellors who would help you. They will always call you back if they cannot speak straight away. 03000 030 555

All the best to you, you can always come here and tell us how you're doing xxxx peeg

Ebby1985 profile image
Ebby1985 in reply to peege

Hello Peeg,

What a lovely message, thank you.

I've always worried about my mother, it's always been like that though, I have always been the one holding her head above the water, I guess I've always felt like her mother if that makes sense. I did have a very difficult childhood, my sister was on drugs, (we have different father's) my mother was an alcoholic and my parents were separated, though my mother and father were and still are best friends. My father is very grounded, he is a very strong, calm, beautiful man, he has and always will be my rock, and will always be my best friend. If it wasn't for my father I'm very sure I would be dead now, he gives me air when I feel like I'm drowning. So I appreciate I have him in my life, not just him, I appreciate my mother just as much, I've just always had more support and love from my father, but that doesn't mean I don't love my mother just as much.

I'm sorry you're worried about your children, but if you're staying positive, doing everything you can to help yourself, then you're doing everything right, and at least they know that you're not giving up, and you're fighting, that's all I want from my mother, I want her to fight for her life, I want her to be passionate about her life, I want her to know how much it will break me if and when she dies.

peege profile image
peege in reply to Ebby1985

I sent you a private message xx

Ebby1985 profile image
Ebby1985 in reply to peege

There is nothing in my inbox so far.

My mother suffers terribly with depression, she has been on anti-depressants for as long as I can remember, she sometimes forgets that what she's been through, I've been right by her side going though it all myself, I also suffer terribly with depression and I'm on medication myself. You would think that her uncle dying would have given her strength to fight, he suffered terribly and she watched him die, her mother also died of lung cancer just 2 years ago, what does it take for her to consider stopping smoking?

She occasionally takes vitamins, she's very slim, has a varied diet and has about 12 cups of tea a day, she's addicted to tea I guess it's not a bad thing, she's keeping her fluids up that way, though she has 2 spoons of sugar in each cup, I've told her to cut down on processed sugar but she listens to nothing I say, I just feel like I'm talking to a brick wall, I feel hopeless. I've worked for Holland and Barrett in the past, so I'm very knowledgeable on nutrition, I know what I'm talking about I just wish she'd listen. I guess it's easy for me to ask her to stop smoking, I myself am a non-smoker, I don't drink much and I have never taken drugs, I'm a vegan and I'm a very healthy person. I guess it's easier for me to get angry with her, because I don't really know what it's like to have an addiction to nicotine.

I have always tried my best to be there for my mother and I will be until the very end, she's a lost soul, I just wish there was something more I could do. I will see about her going on some of those breathing courses, there's not much point though if she's not going to stop her smoking, but I'll look into it anyway. Thank you all for your support.


Hi its me again, would it be an idea for you to speak to someone from the NHS stop smoking campaign ...there is a phone no. on the see if they could help you with your mum.

Thinking of you both.J.

Ebby1985 profile image
Ebby1985 in reply to knitter

Honestly Knitter, she will never stop smoking, she has sat down with me and my sister just to specifically ask us not to bother her about her smoking, she said that she has fought enough in the past when she stopped drinking, and that she wants to be left alone to 'enjoy' her cigarettes, (how you can enjoy giving yourself cancer is beyond me.) there is nothing more we can do. It just seems that she's given up on life.

Hello Ebby do try and get your mum on a p.r. course she will meet others who have or have had addictions I managed to stop smoking with help from nicotine patches.

Hi Ebby

Sorry to hear of your Mum's diagnosis. I know you will be feeling scared and upset with her refusal to stop smoking. My brother has been getting really angry with me for not stopping smoking and it makes me feel so bad and selfish.

I think I know exactly what your Mam is going through as I am still struggling myself with being diagnosed just 3 weeks after losing my partner.

She will scared and will be getting worked up about the future which will be making her smoke more through the stress.

I smoke to deal with life's problems too and after getting my diagnosis I started having terrifying panic attacks that lasted until late afternoon. I was trying desperately to give up smoking but I couldn't and was getting more and more worked up with myself about it. I was also trying to hide the anxiety attacks from my sons.

I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep and was spiralling into the deepest depression I've ever had despite suffering it for 30 years. I felt I had nowhere to turn. I couldn't bring myself to talk to my son's about my fear of the future and particularily, the fear of becoming a burden to them.

I feel your Mam is probably going through the same.

I finally hit rock bottom about 4 months ago and was so weak from not eating, I couldn't get out of bed for 2 days. I felt I might as well give up because I have other chronic health problems too.

I knew I had to do something, so I phoned the BLF helpline and spoke to a lovely woman called Helen.We had a good long talk and I actually found myself laughing with her.

I next went and told my Docter how desperately low I was feeling and he has been so helpful. I have been trying different anti anxiety/anti depressants and although I am still having anxiety attacks every morning, I'm a hell of a lot better than I was.

He also sent me for counselling, which helped enormously and I attended a 6 week mindfulness group followed by a wellness group for 12 weeks which I really enjoyed. Could you go with her to the Dr's to ask for counselling for her ?

My female cousin, has been my rock too by listening to, and helping me deal with my fears and making me try to be more positive about things. She has a shop and knows several people with this disease that have had it for years and cope quite well. She drags me into town to stop me moping and although I have felt like telling her to get lost sometimes, lol, I am so grateful to her. Does your Mam have someone she trusts she can talk to?

I've also recently started taking a good multimineral tablet, a multivitin and CoQ10 daily and my appetite and strength has improved.

I try to walk more and I have now bought an ecig for my umpteenth attempt at stopping smoking for good.

It has been a long, slow road to mental recovery,It's like i'm in mournig for myself as well as for my partner, but I feel I'm finally getting somewhere. When you lose hope, it's

very hard to find it again but I almost always find it again on here. Some of these wonderful people seem to have enough for us all to share.

All I can say is, Ebby, even though it's because you love her, try not to be too hard on her. Get her well mentally first.

I know we should just stop smoking immediately, It's common sense, but were all different and the suggestions made by others on here may be a bit more do-able for now. Ecig, cutting down ect... It might ease her anxiety.

This site has been a godsend, everyone is so helpful and supportive and it has helped a lot to find out it is a very serious disease, but it is not the instant death sentence I always thought it was. We just have to adjust.

Sorry for the long post.

Take care

Angie. xx

peege profile image
peege in reply to casper99

That's a lovely reply Angie.

Bravo for being honest, I dont think I would have had that courage.

Just goes to show how diverse we all are here and we have amazing strengths to overcome what life has in store for us.

You take care too, good luck with becoming a non-smoker :Dxxxxx

casper99 profile image
casper99 in reply to peege

Thanks Peeg.

Ebby1985 profile image
Ebby1985 in reply to casper99

Hello Angie,

Such a heartbreaking message, I'm very sorry to hear about your partner, it must be SO hard for you right now, I'm also very sorry to hear about your panic attacks, I used to suffer terribly with them, I understand how horrible and life altering they can be. My mother has been suffering with panic attacks also, though my mother hides nothing from me, I am the only person she talks too, the only person she can trust. I don't get angry or upset with her when I'm talking to her, I don't let her know that I'm angry or upset, I hide all those feelings away from her, I wouldn't want her to start worrying about me, worrying about her. It is SO nice that you have your cousin to talk too, it seems she is helping you cope, getting you out, supporting and loving you, I hope that my mother feels the same way about me, my mother does talk to her doctor a lot too.

My mother has sat down with me and told me that she has the money saved for her funeral, she seems very calm talking about it, which breaks my heart into a million pieces. She doesn't seem very concerned about her future at all, as far as she's concerned she's already dead, as horrible as that sounds.

You must eat, plenty of vegetables, salads, and fruit, you will feel terribly weak if you stop eating, especially if you've got breathing difficulty. CoQ10 is a brilliant supplement, I take it myself sometimes if I'm feeling lethargic, CoQ10 functions in every cell of the body to synthesize energy, so you will feel many benefits from taking this. Taking CoQ10 and eating a healthy varied diet you make you feel a million times better, and the good food will help you with the depression, especially if you enjoy eating blueberries and Brazil nuts. My mother will never get well mentally, she has lost to much in her life, and sits and dwells in the past far more than she should do, yes she's had a shitty life, so has a lot of other people I know. She has an electronic cigarette, that she swears has given her COPD, I've told her that's very silly, just an excuse not to have it anymore, it's excuses after excuses.

I send you all the strength I have left in my heart, I hope that you're able to move forward, get over the depression/panic attacks, I hope that your health improves and you find happiness again.


casper99 profile image
casper99 in reply to Ebby1985

Thank you Ebby, I've just recommended the coq10 to a male neighbour, he has a lot of health problems too. it has given me much more energy. x

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My dad died of COPD when I was 24 years old, I'm now 61 years old and only gave up smoking 5 years ago, how stupid am I knowing what I did all those years ago. No one could get me to give up smoking, it had to be that wanted to do it, I knew the risks and ignored them. My sister was an alcoholic and died aged 50 years old, again no one could get her to give up drinking, believe me all the family including her son tried, people have to want to do it I'm afraid. I know its hard for people watching, but I always felt the more people told me it was bad for me the more I wanted to smoke..............................

Sorry I can't be of more help

Take care



Try cayenne chillie pepper it clears the lungs of mucas its on utube and its fantastic apart from the tast it really works

also for people who struggle to breath the is n-acetyl cystein

Even though I was able to walk, what my husband did was a great help to me to start just talking about everything. He brought me and my cigarettes out for a half hour walk that often turned into an hour walk because I began to enjoy it. I now go to the hospital to visit him (unrelated health issues) and to help him, he brings me for a walk in the wheelchair just like we used to. I make it to the hospital on my own and do walk now with a walker and oxygen tank. We are dealing with things as they are and we somehow feel empowered by just walking and the other more introspective places that it takes us. The big thing is that we both enjoy it and nobody is trying to take over anyone elses life, we just help each other. It worked for us.

hi ! i know its been 6 yrs since you posted but i was wondering what happened , im going through the same thing only mum dosent smoke anymore . sorry if this is inappropiate thanks kelly

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