BY Cathy Wood Sept 29
I smoked for 40 yrs, the last 10 of those were quite heavy, up to 40 per day.
I was never told I had emphysema until I was 6 months into vaping. I had noticed over the last 10 years that coughs and colds were getting worse and staying longer. I was spending more time at the Doctors surgery and on, more medications for coughs and colds than ever before.
It was quite coincidental that the worse was to come around the time I began vaping.
Pneumonia came first, then bronchitis followed by the worst case of the flu I had ever had, so bad in fact I asked my husband on 3 separate occasions "am I going to die?".
It took me several months to even feel okay, it's now a year later now and I feel I have never completely recovered.
This year began the same viscous cycle of one virus after another, I'd had enough and took matters into my own hands and demanded further investigation, I also needed to educate myself about what emphysema does to you and how do you manage it.
I asked a few people in my vaping circles about their experience with emphysema and how they manage it. To my big surprise they knew little about the management of it, most just had a puffer and that's where it cut off. There had to be more and I continued to research and seek expert medical advice.
During another bout of a chest infection, I was able to get another set of recent X Rays taken. The new ones compared to the previous years X Rays showed no worsening of the emphysema, that was a Yahoo moment and a big thumbs up for vaping too. I booked a double appointment to see my GP and knowing that I had lots of time for questions (which I had written down) I felt quite comfortable to talk to him about all of my health concerns.
So we began a plan, get the necessary checks done and book into a lung specialist with all the results, BOOM! Things were now on the move and happening!
A lung capacity test was performed and I had my X Rays to take to the Lung Specialist.
He was a real nice man too, he studied my X Rays, looked at my lung capacity test and read my Doctors notes and asked me lots of questions.
This is what a lung specialist will cover with you:
-Investigations: the ones you have done and more if needed
-Recommendations: vaccinations, medications, oxygen if needed
HOW TO AVOID VIRUSES: Alcohol hand wipes, Mask on planes
SALT INHALATION: You can get a pocket salt inhaler very cheap
REGULAR ANTIBIOTICS: Have a supply on hand
RESPIRATORY NURSE: When needed
GO NORTH FOR WINTER: If you can
TREAT SLEEP APNOEA: If you snore
PULMONARY REHAB COURSE: Depends on severity
STOP SMOKING: Vaping was discussed and given a big thumbs up, I can still vape!
I now feel that I have more control over my emphysema and I understand it so much better.
I am now armed with 2 inhalers as they do 2 different jobs, I am on a 6 month course of antibiotics, I have a salt inhaler (the salt inhaler helps dry the excessive mucus/sputum), I have a dehumidifier, I understand why I get so tired and am educated to pace and rest as needed. I understand why some days I have a voice and some days I don't. I know why parts of my torso hurt and how to treat it. My Doctor (once reading the lung specialist report) will know how to treat me. I will also be talking to my local pharmacy and keep them informed of the medication that I will need.
The people who I have mentioned are the NETWORK of my health plan, along with family, I will survive! I am also under the wide umbrella named COPD. I have lung disease because I smoked, I gave it to myself, lung disease is not curable, but can be treated. There are different stages of lung disease, if you stop smoking now, you are less likely to get it or you can reduce the severity of it. Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you think you need more help, please talk to your GP and get the help I have talked about. All of my very best Cathy Wood. 29.09.2018