British Lung Foundation
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Newbie and scared to death. PLEASE HELP

Yesterday my doctor told me I had evidence of mild COPD on my lung CT. Of course he told me it was imperative that I quit smoking immediately and I absolutely plan to ASAP........but as most of you probably know, I have always believed my cigarettes help "calm me down." Until I get some information and stop this horrible panic, I'm afraid I'm still reaching for them. I know my doctor talked to me and I THINK he said that there were things I could do stabilize the COPD.......keep it from getting worse, but the diagnosis scared me so badly, I thought I was going to faint and all I could hear was "white noise" in my head. I missed everything he said. He didn't give me any literature nor did he suggest I see a specialist, but he obviously saw how terrified I was and I now feel, (the next morning) that I left his office with a death sentence and no idea what, if anything, I can do to control this. I am so very scared and feel really alone. Even worse is how angry I am at myself for not quitting YEARS ago. Can anyone PLEASE help me? Thank you so much. Greenlydia

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Hi

Evidence of mild copd is not a definitive diagnosis. You should be asking for more test for example a Spirometer test.

Smoking cessation is your main concern, difficult when you use smoking as a calming mechanism.

Ask your GP or Pharmacy for help in stopping smoking.

If you think you will struggle, may be worth considering e-cig, with nicotine content.

COPD although scary is not a death sentence. It can be managed with the right lifestyle changes.

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I wish I could help you Greenlydia but I lit up a smoke to calm my nerves after I was given the news. I listen to hypnotic recording from u-tube especially the binural beat ones don't ask me how they work but my smoking is way down. I automatically look over and at the 1/2 way point out it goes and I found I am mostly holding it. $$$$ yes but the recordings are working and they are free. Just my experience, patch-didn't work, sprays-taste disgusting, can't chew gum. No way am I taking that pill, I know some one who took it and they turned into the most miserable nasty. Good luck, oh ya there is a quit smoking support group run by HU.

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Try to stay calm. Our lung capacity decreases slightly with age and will decrease faster if disease is present but a mild COPD would have little effect. Cigarettes are not helping at all and if COPD is present will help it to progress faster. Ask about a stop smoking course, talk to your doctor about aids and get everyone you know on board to support you. There is an excellent Quit site on here - healthunlocked.com/quitsupport that many of our members have used. As some on here say, you are much more likely to die WITH COPD than FROM it.

You will also find information here:

blf.org.uk/search/site/copd

Good luck.

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Hi, in early 2010 I was diagnosed with stage 1 mild bullous emphysema, like you I had all the same emotions, I had smoke about 10-15 fags per day for roughly 24yrs.

The opion was stop smoking or die a long misrable painfull death, so I stopped.

It's now 2018 and I feel I'm just the same, I really don't exhibit any great signs of emphysema, I exercise twice per day, deep breathing and streaching combined with weights, i eat well and have educated myself on this disease.

It's not a death sentence, for me it's a new chapter in my life where I have to embrace every opertunity to keep well.

Stopping smoking is sooooooo hard but it's a no brained, stop now and you still have time to change your life.

Die with it not of it !!!

Don't Google your ilness stay here and you will get all the help support and advice.

I'm now 49 and will be here for many years

(i hope)

Take care

david1968

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Hi nice to meet you. I was diagnosed mild 9 years ago and am still mild so please don't worry too much. Although it is a progressive disease it usually only progresses very slowly so leading a healthy lifestyle and packing in the ciggies will slow it right down.

I admit I only gave up smoking this year and I did it with the help of the Quit site on here. I know when you are anxious the first thing you reach for is the ciggies, but when you have calmed down a bit and got your head round it try the Quit site. x

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As everyone says, the most important thing is to quit the cigs. That will be the biggest single factor in arresting the progressive deterioration this disease can cause. Carry on smoking and you will regret it.

Quitting smoking CAN be easy, I know so many people who just stopped, having decided wholeheartedly to do so. No patches, no e-cigs, no "aids" which they felt just prolonged the agony. The problem mostly is that many "want" to quit but deep down they don't want to, so not only will they struggle with quitting but they also have an internal battle raging away that confuses and confounds things, makes life and kicking the weed incredibly hard.

You are lucky. As you say you've had a massive scare that's knocked you sideways. Traumatic. You can use that, fear is an incredibly powerful tool. Just recall that terrifying feeling then think of cigarettes, of smoking. Create an association between smoking cigs and your crippling fear. Then every time you think of smoking the fear will return and you may never ever smoke another cigarette again.

I smoked 40 a day for nearly 40 years. COPD was diagnosed in mid 90s and I was advised to quit but carried on, until my breathing was really affected and I kept quitting for days at a time but kept starting again. Then my mother developed dementia and smoking was my only relief. Hearing " What day is it ?" every half hour, sometimes being, to her, my father, her brother, even her mother and occasionally me is hard to live with. She went into respite care for one week in four and for that week I never touched a cigarette, never wanted one, ni cravings no problem. I switched seamlessly from being a non-smoker to smoking probably 20 a day. When my mother died there followed huge and complicated problems, financial, personal, legal - a real nightmare and the council helped by making me bankrupt for failing to pay council tax. My stress levels were through the roof, and guess what? I went back to smoking, and drinking as an escape. Eventually I got control back and tackled my smoking as I could no longer pretend my breathing was worse. Naiively I believed that if I quit - I mean WHEN I quit, my breathing would be ok again. I got it so that for several days, maybe a week, even 10 days sometimes I'd not have, or need a cigarette. Then out if the blue I'd be desperate, would kill for a smoke. So I'd visit smoker friends, cadge ciggies. 3 cigarettes gave me my fix. I smoked them there never brought them home. If necessary I'd buy a pack, would smoke my three and would give away the rest. If I took them home I'd be unable to resist but mainly I'd smoke them just to get rid of them. So then I'd leave my 17 left in pack with smoker friends, kind of bank ciggies with then. Then I'd be fine until the next time the overwhelming need next hit. That went in for some months until one evening I had been to a friend just 200 yards up the road I live on, I'd had my 3-ciggy fix and was in car to come home. My breathing was rough, and as I drove I could barely see, vision was misty and becoming tunnel-like. Stopping was not an option and I made it home safely. But it was not easy getting from car to house, I had to keep stopping to get breath back. Then when I tried to get upstairs to my first floor flat I couldn't. I was so scared, terrified, immobilised. Fear and panic, I sat on lower steps, calmed down but each time I thought of climbing stairs the crippling fear returned. I was too scared to try again. Eventually I managed it, aware that my breathing was worse than it had ever been, but if I took it slowly and didn't panic I'd be able to do it. And I did. I forgot to say I live alone.

I'm not just wittering, the point of this,as you may have guessed, is that the scare I had was so strong that I've never touched or wanted a cigarette again. The association between being so frighteningly breathless and cigarettes was so strong, so embedded that I didn't even have to think of cigarettes consciously to recall the fear, the thought of smoking just never again entered my head.

So use your fear, make it work for you. It's powerful and it's a tool, as such it has positive value as well as negative. You can harness your anger too - direct it against smoking instead of blaming yourself! Your mind is incredibly powerful, as is what you believe.

ironically, if today, 12 or 15 years on, I suffered the same degree of breathlessness that scared the **** out of me that day, I'd be singing and dancing, hardly believing how good my breathing was - and without oxygen too! All things are relative, and nothing is real, only your perception if it . Never more true than when trying to quantify what your breathing feels like.

Finally, I do firmly believe there is a lot of tosh written about quitting smoking. I do not believe that nicotine is the massive obstacle it is portrayed as - and around which there are several multi-million pound remedies offered.

Each time I quit I reckoned I'd have three days of misery, about the same as with a cold. Three days of almost unbearable cravings.Almost unbearable, but made bearable by my knowledge, my belief, that after the third day the cravings would reduce and continue to reduce - just as a stinking cold would ease off after third day. And they did. As every good torturer will tell you, uncertainty, not knowing when something will end and if it ends, will it return will always prey on the mind, will destroy resolve and determination, making the victim's mind putty. Believe in an outcome, a feasible, doable outcome, and just hold that.

You are doubly lucky. Ahead of you lies a whole new, and better life. I found, as many do, that life without cigarettes is itself a totally different life, like a massive, dominating black cloud casting negativity over every aspect of my life, had suddenly lifted. I felt free, only now aware of how restricted, imprisoned, I had been. Then there's the diet and exercise you'll be on, the other two main things to follow in order to keep COPD progression arrested.

I think that's about all. I just ought to add that the incidentals I've mentioned on what works for me may not suit everyone, but the main things, using your fear, associating it with smoking, is universally used un different forms.

I sincerely hope this helps and I wish you every succes.

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That was a great read,like a diary of stopping smoking. Absolutely take my hat off to you for quitting the ciggies and also for being brave enough to share your personal experiences.

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Hi offalot

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, a very intresting read.

Best wishes

Music

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Has it scared you enough to make you give up smoking? All will tell you on this site that’s the first thing you should do. I was diagnosed when I was 55 years old and my friend was to I gave up smoking straight away, my friend did not and died age 62 I am 78 and still only to stage2 you are stage1 if you give up smoking take as much exercise as possible and all prescribed drugs, visit this site as often as possible, you will find many tips on how to manage your condition. Remember copd is not always a death sentence many people live long and active life like myself, it’s how you manage your condition I’m still going strong and so will you, but please give up smoking

Prter

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You’re ok for the moment. Try to relax and try to stop smoking asap and get to see a specialist. If you can take someone with you to help remember. I was first diagnosed with COPD over 10 yrs ago. Exercise and medication have made me better and fitter than I was when first told abt COPD. I’m over 70 and doing ok. Providing you exercise you will feel much better and less in need of cigarettes.

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Cheer up, it always hits like a hammer-blow but honestly some of us on here have lived with it for years, many of us WERE heavy smokers! Do what I did, get yourself an e-cig and watch the improvement daily. You can't have the killer fags as well but the substitute is far more pleasant - do it now! I smoked for 60+ years BTW and stopped overnight with the help of my vape, and that was 8 years ago this month - they'll have to prise it from my cold, dead hands!!

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First of all.....count your blessings. You obviously had concerns with your breathing and chest to have gone to the docs....so now you can relax, knowing what the cause is. COPD is a harsh phrase....it strikes terror in most folk when they are diagnosed but you had the condition before it was given a label. I was diagnosed over 30 years ago, I am now 69. In those 30 years, I have carried on smoking...mainly through stress and boredom...I was a truck driver. There are quite a few adjustments you can make to your life that will make things easier for you while you get around to quitting fags. Avoid any other forms of smoke....ie BBQ and open fires, even some wood burners can affect you. If you can smell the wood burning, it's because there is smoke about. Next, the list is endless...ban all aerosols from your house and any air fresheners that puff out. Chemicals are amongst the worse irritants, next to kids...only joking. Then comes a healthy diet and as much fresh air and exercise as you can get in. Want a fag, go for a short brisk walk. Stressed, put some relaxing music with a video on your phone, buy a couple of cheap DVD's of chill out things....then try to avoid folk with the dreaded lurgy. I've avoided infections just by not using buses. The air con is a breading ground for bugs. The biggest thing is.....get on and enjoy life. Ease off on the guilt trips, the panic, that will put you in the Crem before your condition. Finally, BLF will always help you, tell you what help you can get, exercise sheets and other things. Now you've been diagnosed, you will have a check up every year to monitor you so do what you can to help yourself and start planning a long time ahead. I have a long time goal...that I will be shot in bed by a jealous husband after I gathered twins on my 99th birthday.

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Hi CornishBrian

Good to hear from you again,

did wonder where you got to

glad you still keep in touch on this site now and again

Best wishes

Music

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Nice to know I'm missed. I try to keep busy but me, my phone and the internet are not always the best of friends. I enjoy the group but have to admit that of I open up in the morning and I'm overwhelmed by what doggies have been doing or endless weather forecasts, I turn my internet off. Too often important posts get buried in trivia...bit that's just my miserable self. Keep happy and healthy.

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Greenlydia,

Hi many people on this forum have a form of COPD or worse. The cigs must go & fast they will do you no good whatsoever, scared tho' you may be. Many of us have ourselves to blame for the cigs but now you have been diagnosed give it a big kick into touch. It's tough but believe me you will get thro' it. The death sentence you speak of, there are people here that have had COPD for years, it's at times uncomfortable but you come to live with it. Try to keep or get fit, singing is apparently good for lungs, eat sensibly (see a post from yesterday with a link to 10No good things to eat & are supposed to slow the process down so please take note) slow down with chores, you have to accept you cannot do what you used to at the speed you used, it's frustrating but we've all been there.

Take heart and carry on but more slowly, you'll make it like the rest of us.

IKeith

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Evidence of Mild COPD means your lungs are slightly obstructed and have been this way for some time. Chronic does not mean "Very Bad" as many people believe. I personally have very severe COPD, continue to smoke and still manage to lead a normal- ish life doing much the same as anyone else, but maybe without being able to tolerate a lot of exertion. If you quit smoking as soon as you reasonably can, then you will most likely live as long as anyone else, and may not even notice your "illness". Certainly no need to panic, not even enough for another fag. just follow the sensible advice on this forum and find out more about COPD both on here or at a Pulmonary rehab course. I thought it was great. Hope that helps,

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Hi sorry you have mild copd I quit smoking 11weeks a goits is a very hard think to do iv had he’ll breathing issues pains in arms it’s a living hell and I have had a lung test and waiting for the results going for chest exray tommorow blood test to and the hrt is a bugger as none ofthem are nice and you need get your self and your mind in 1 place but I’m told giving in smoking is the best think I’m still on the fence about that bercause it’s so hard to do and it’s been hell for me but if you have bad lungs you owe it to yourself to make a plan and maybe try you may be stronger than you think but when you quit the only one who can really do it is you but their is quit smoking sites that can may be help you and so many great and nice people on them I wish you luck in the disision you make xx😀😁😃😄

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Well done for quitting. :)

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I have C.O.P.D. My doctor suggested e-cigs as I could not give up even with patches and gum. Doctors can’t agree on them, but you only inhale nicotine not the many chemicals in cigarettes. I get mine from N.Z they are called Kiwicig. Best of luck to you. Don’t panic.

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quit smoking now it helps if you dont it will get worse faster

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