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Kellie3 Blog

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kellie3

Kellie3 Archived Profile

Posted by kellie3 Jan 23, 2017

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I am a 47 year old who June 4th, 2009 was diagnosed with a lung disorder, and on the way home from the doctor threw my cigarettes away. Since then the diagnoses changed to Severe Bollous Emphysema and COPD.  I am in no way ready to give up or lay down and die.  I am however realistic.  This disease is progressive.  I did quit smoking and that will help ease the progression, but once this disease gets a hold on a body it doesn't slow down much.  My doctor tells me that eventually I will be a good candidate for Lung Volume Reduction Surgery or Transplant.  When I heard those phrases I about fainted.  It had really come to this! 

My husband of 26 years had hounded me our entire marriage to quit smoking.  As my shortness of breath and cough got worse he told me my smoking would bankrupt our family.  You see I had NO insurance.  I had been self employed for many many years and thinking I was being sly I never paid myself a salary.  I had worked my entire life but for the last 12 years never paid into social security. 
I suppose getting old and sick never occured to me.  So when I walked out of the doctors office, driving home I was dreading telling my husband what my diagnoses was.  Of course he was as scared as I was.  After my first Pulmonologist appointment I knew it would be necessary to find some kind of insurance for me.  Every insurance I looked into had clauses in them for "pre-existing conditions".  My husband was medically retired 18 years ago after he broke his neck on the Fire Department, so our income was fixed and limited.  After agonizing over our options we decided we needed to get divorced so I would qualify for SSI.  Our divoce was final the 24th of August.  I just received my insurance card last week. 

Smoking cost me dearly.  So, when people talk about returning to smoking because of stress I get pissed.  I have this white line on my left ring finger to remind me everyday how costly smoking is.  We are still together, he loves me and I know we will be together always, but I selfishly damaged my family. 

This site has been a godsend for me. There is so much concentrated information and support here. As sure as I am that I would have quit smoking, I know without this site and the people here I would have struggled much more.
If you are new, buckle down and realize this will be a chore, but a very worthwhile one. In your early days take it moment by moment until you can take it day by day. Come here often and blog and read. Information really will save your butt.  Each day that passes you take one step closer to becoming an Ex smoker. Congratulations!

If you are serious about becoming free of nicotine, I will do whatever I can to help you.

Come here often and blog, ask questions, read other peoples stories and you will see there are people that have over come huge obsticals and still remain smoke free. You can learn by their struggles and mistakes.

It won't be an easy journey but in the end it is worth every mood swing and craving.

I wish you much luck and determination~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I am leaving the above alone only to show what the results of smoking can do to someone. For me I need to start a new chapter and try and close that book up there.
Things I took for granted are now impossible, and even dangerous. Like going outside in the winter when the inversion layer is bad I can not take a breath. The ice cold heavy air is impossible to get into my lungs. I bought scarves in every color so I can cover my nose and mouth to be able to breath warmed air. It's ridiculous, but my new reality.
Yes, I still have a disease but I will not let that disease discribe my life or define me. Instead I will figure out how I will cope with the limitations and learn to deal with it. That is my new frustration.
My greatest wish for myself and all my friends this New Year is to be kind to ourselves. Understand that we are not perfect and learn to love our differences.

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A new update.  In January this year shortly after I updated the above... I was put on oxygen.  I have also started a daily blog called As I live and Breathe.  It is a blog to document a year of living with Copd and Emphysema.  I would love for you to stop by.  It is a place those also suffering can go and find out they are not alone.  It is a place those with loved ones suffering with this can go and get a taste of what that person lives with on a daily basis.

http://asiliveandbreathe-kellie.blogspot.com/

 

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Yet another update.... As of May 13th, 2010 (the day before what would have been my 27th wedding anniversary) I was told due to the lack of oxygen saturation it's needed that I use oxygen 24 hours a day now.  So like it or not I have a cannula wrapped around my face now.  I even have permanent marks on my cheeks from where the hose wraps around my face.  I am also now being checked for heart problems.  It seems that once your lungs start giving up it effects other organs.  Your heart works closely with your lungs.  It needs that oxygen the lungs distribute, without it all kinds of things start to happen.  Rapid heart beat, loss of memory, confusion, worsening eyesite, loss of hearing.  Isn't it amazing how one thing works with the other?

I reiterate................... THROW THOSE CIGARETTES AWAY!  Take a close look at a women who is not even 50 yet who cannot leave her house without planning.  I was never a vane woman, but I always took pride in my appearance.  It is painful to look at myself in the mirror and see me looking back.  I mourn my old self.  I long for those days when I could run out to jump in my car and go swimming with my granddaughter.  I miss the days when my husband and I were husband and wife.  I miss the days when we could dance, snorkle or just walk the nature trails. 

Life is short.  Grab it, cherish it, and understand how fragile it is.  It can be taken away with the strike of a match.

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August 27th, 2009

I thought I had a while before this update was added.  Today at my doctors appointment he told me my next option was Transplant.  He gave me a list of transplant hospitals, of which I chose University of Washintion Medical Center in Seattle.  He is forwarding my file there and I am expected to get a pile of forms to fill out and have an appointment scheduled to decide if it will be a double or single transplant.  First I have to go on a diet and have a BMI of 30%.  Right now I have no idea what it is, but I have a long way to go. 

Once I am accepted and added to the list I have to be within an hour of the center.  So, relocating is in our near future.  Fortunatley we both grew up in Washington so it's not a new enviroment for us.  And, as luck would have it my cousin works in the same hospital and oddly enough in the transplant unit, and would be in charge of my recovery.  Cosmic stuff!

So, this is not the way I would have written my life, this is not the story I had in mind... but this IS my new reality.  Once again I am sleepless thinking of all the possibilities.  In 3 days i will be 500 days smoke free and this is what it has come down to, 

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It doesn't take long to realize life is delicate.  There have been so many times that I just wanted to give up.  My journey has taken another turn.  I have a feeling there will be many along the way.  The transplant hospital now wants me to have a Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.  It's like having a second chance before transplant.  There are still challenges to overcome, but these are lower hurdles and I think I will be just fine.  I had a moment the other day that I wanted to throw it all in and grab a cigarette.  Of course it was fleeting, but it was real and had I not had medical goals I may have faltered.  It surprised me to be so far away from the beginning of my quit and still having those things call out to comfort me.  As always I will keep you posted on any changes.  Hold onto your quits and always remember it just takes one puff.

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2010 ended and I had high hopes for the New Year.  My doctor had been talking with a transplant hospital regarding a reduction surgery for me.  Throughout November and the beginning of December I had a battery of tests run.  I was thinking (from listening to my doctor and his staff) that I had to be patient, but that I should expect to go to Seattle around February.  Tonight I got a call from a staff member at the University of Washington telling me that my condition is not serious enough to be considered at this time.  I was nervous about the surgery anyway, so this is good news.  However, I also was hopeful that with the surgery I could get off this oxygen and have more stamina and breath to do things that now I cannot.  So, the news is recieved with mixed feelings. 

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April 9th, 2011

Another update.  I have begun to have heart issues now.  It is the normal progression of Copd/Emphysema.  When the body gets short on oxygen all other organs (espcially the heart) begin to work overtime to get oxygen to the rest of the body.  The result in my case is a rapid heart rate.  My resting pulse is now at 100+.  With exertion it can shoot to 180 and more.  I am exercising carefully, in short periods of time with lots of rest between.  I am doing my best to drop weight so my body won't have to work so hard. 

I wish every smoker could live one day of my life.  Just one is all it woud take.  Now, even those around me can tell there are changes.  My breathing is much worse, I am having memory issues, I am afraid to wander too far alone for fear I will run out of oxygen and not be able to help myself. 

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June 25, 2011

I am fighting with everything I have to stay healthy and strong.  I saw my brother a couple weeks ago and he told me he could see a difference in me.  It is taking me a little longer to do simple things.  I walk a little slower, but I walk.  We hiked to a memorial site for our mom and I hiked, it took some time, but I did it.  Not long ago I walked a 5k just to prove to myself I could.  I joined a gym and unlike everyone else I had to prove to them I could work out and not keel over.  I had to bring a doctors note in before they would let me join.  I work out on each machine with my oxygen right beside me.  For those of you who are healthy it's hard to understand what a blow this is to my ego to constantly be reminded I am different.  My granddaughter said it best.  My grandma breaths special air.  ;)

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October 6th, 2011

I was reading the above and realized how much things have changed in such a short period of time.  Around mid July I began to have chest pain and dizziness and memory issues.  I haven't been to the gym since then. I now am trying to regain strength, but I am finding my self zapped of all energy.  To do a simple project leaves me exhausted.  I am having problems remembering simple words, phrases, directions or conversations I have just had.  I forget to put on my oxygen and will get a headache and unsteadiness which reminds me to go put on my O2.  I am forgetting to take my medication.  Things I would expect of a much older person.  At times it's frightening and actually brings me to tears to not be able to remember simple things.  I am finding I require much more "looking after" now.  There are times now that I am afraid to go places alone, and certain days I don't trust myself to drive.  

I lost a friend recently who suffered from Emphysema.  She went into the hospital to get I.V. antibiotics and passed away 2 days later.  I think of her and realize that could be me.  She had less damage of this disease as I do.  It has left me realizing how precious time is, how fragile life is.  Damn Cigarettes!

 

January 2012..... Just one more update... 

I have been going to the emergency room several times.  Actually about every other month.  I can be happy doing nothing physical, taking care of myself, keeping my oxygen levels where they belong and out of no where I will get this tremendous pain in my chest.  If feels like ripping and tearing and is almost unbearable.  It does not go away.  Breathing seems to make it worse.  They tell me it is Anxiety.  This amazes me. I can not see how something mental can come out of the blue and hit me with a pain I have never experienced before.  I usually spend 5 to 7 hours in the emergency room given heavy doses of pain medication which leaves me sick to my stomach but eventually takes the pain away.  It seems like it lingers for a few days just under the surface, like one twist or bend or cough and it will come back full force.  

The last episode was the 12th.  I had such hope for the new year.  I am on an eating program that has me lighter than I have been in years.  I thought I was about ready to begin small amounts of exercise again.... but Nope!  I am still tethered to a machine or a tank... forever, everyday, everynight.  The only time I am lose from tubing wrapped around my face is in the shower and the time is close that I will need my O2 in there also.  

I am experiencing a depression that I have never felt so hollow and angry, misunderstood and hopeless.  It's all part of this hideous disease.  

This is 3 years worth of progression.  Imagine what the next 3 will bring?  I will be 50 next month.  I never expected my 50's to be spent in and out of hospitals and surgeries.

This is the direct result of smoking.  Feel like lighting one up now?

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January 26th, 2012

My "Husband" who legally we were divorced when I found out I was sick and I are now officially seperated.  I am placing no blame.  He said I have changed over the last 4 years...I am sure I have.  Try as I might I can't shake the depression and the stigma, and he wasn't helping much.  It was a mutual divide, but it hurts more than anything I have ever experienced before.  So, he will go his way and I will figure out a new path for me. 

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February 3, 2012

My disease almost took away everything that was important.  My partner (husband) and I decided we are starting over, seeking counseling and holding onto what we have.  I have felt so damaged, so used up, so unattractive that I expected everyone around me to feel that was too.  Counseling will do us good.

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May 28, 2012

I am coming up on my 3rd year anniversary of being smoke free.  :)     This will be the strangest anniversary I have ever had.  Instead of going to dinner, or having friends over.... I will be at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland being evaluated for a Lung Volume Reduction Surgery, and also because I am officially labled at risk I am being seen by a OBGYN for surgery.  

3 years to the day I quit.  If I am not a good candidate for this surgery where they will remove the upper portion of both lungs, then I will be sent to California to Stanford to be looked at for a double transplant.  

Looking at the positive... perhaps for my 4th anniversary I will be off the oxygen tubing and can walk freely and swim and do all those things that now I can't.  I have lost 64 pounds since I quit smoking.  I was kind of forced into it.  They told me my BMI had to be under 30% to be considered for either surgery.  I am well under that now and am keeping going.  

When there is another update I will be here again.  Until then use my story and think twice before picking up another cigarette.

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Well I have figured out that the medical feild moves almost as slow as the government.

After multiple trips the last 3 months to the Oregon Health Sciences University I have finished all the testing and have a date for surgery.

On August 22nd, 2012 @ 6:00 a.m. I will have a Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.  They will be removing up to 2/3's of each upper lobe.  I will stay anywhere from 6 days to 3 weeks.  It is all going to depend on my staples holding and no air leakage, and how fast I can recover and have tubes removed from my sides and chest.

It was June 4th 2009 that I was diagnosed and quit smoking.   A little over 3 years and I have declined to this point.  This will not cure me, it will only give me another 3 to 5 years before I will need a double transplant.  3 years!!

If I could have had a sneak peak into my future I can tell you I would have never smoked, or certainly quit much much earlier.  

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October 7th, 2012

Well surgery went well.  They didn't have to remove as much as they thought.  It still was not a walk in the park.  When they start cutting your lungs out, it's (for a better term) memorable.  I have done all the resting and healing they have asked me too, and now I have to teach myself how to live a healthy life.  I was so used to packing around medications and oxygen cannisters and having a tube around my face that I forgot what it was like to live a healthy life.  

Now for the first time in 3 years I can walk proud.  I have lost just over 100 pounds, I can wear necklaces and earrings again, which sounds silly and minor, but when you have a cannula around your face you can't wear most jewelry.

I still have "episodes" where my chest ceases up.  It feels like a heart attack, my chest gets tight like someone is squeezing it, I get sweaty, I feel like I can't get a breath.  I have learned that it's all up to me to stop it.  I take a pain pill, take a muscle relaxer, elevate my feet and ride it out taking slow breaths in and out.  They last about a half hour.  I hadn't had one since around May or June and then suddenly the other night right after I went to bed it hit me.  I was worried because of my surgery that I might not get this one under control..... but I did.  

I have control now.  I am a new person, whole and not damaged.  

Yes, I will always have emphysema.  And, yes most likely in 5 years or so I will need a double lung transplant because emphysema is not curable and will continue to advance.  

But, I will be healthier.  I will have lived healthy again and know what the rest of my life will be.  

I am so grateful to God, and my friends for seeing me through this.  

Bless you.

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May 26th, 2013

As I said above on August 22nd I had my Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.  I was seeing my Primary Care Doctor (who would consult with my Cardiologist and my Pulmonologist) once a month, then every 3 months.  I went to see her last week and after checking me told me that she didn't need to see me for A YEAR!  A YEAR?  How can that be??  She told me that a year ago she was ready to help me die.  That I was at the doorstep.  Now, I am healed and healthy. 

Bill again in January of this year asked me for a divorce.  This time I said O.K..  I am tired of holding together something broken.  I think being a caregiver for so long and going through all the ups and downs with me took it's toll with him.  I will always love him, I don't think a person can spend 33 years with someone and not form a forever love.  I can almost understand his need to get away. 

I am independent now.  I no longer need tended too.  I have found a little house to buy that overlooks the lake and the city.  I am off of Social Security and was offered a fulltime job which I grabbed.  Funny how things come your way and you're not even sure you want or need them, but God has put things in place to make it easy for me to start this next chapter of my life. 

I am working in a Home Depot kind of store.  I am selling flooring for a wage, plus commission, plus benefits, plus a 401k.  I mentioned to my Pastor at church that I would be interested in purchasing her car (because they had just bought a new one), and she sold it to me a week later for $1.00.  With gas so expensive I couldn't afford to fill up my Durango @ $85.00 per week.

I am blessed.  Who would have thought 9 months ago I had a surgery that removed part of my lungs and now I am working a full time job where I pick up and move around rolls of carpet that weigh a couple hundred pounds?  That I have the air and stamina to run all day from end to end of a warehouse store? 

Life is ever evolving.  They tell me my lung condition that nearly killed me is progressive.  I want to be that miracle that says maybe..... but not on this girl!  My future is bright, a little unknown, a little scary... but the possibilities are endless~! 


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Countup Clocks, Flowers Countups at WishAFriend.com

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http://asiliveandbreathe-kellie.blogspot.com/


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  A quick recap for those new who don't know me.  I came to the Ex site 4 or 5 years ago after being diagnosed with end stage Emphysema and given little time to live.  You can go to my page and read my story.  
  I can tell you life is much sweeter now smoke free and living in a healthy body that responds to me.
   
   
  Living a life guided by God's word is amazingly peaceful and worthwhile.
   
  In May of 2013 the same man of God that prayed healing over my lungs the year before, returned to our church.  He prayed over me one night and (without knowing me or my current circumstance) told me that I would find peace in my life.  That my struggles were over, and that I would meet a man of God who next year during his visit would be by my side.  :)
  I outwardly showed little excitement (actually I began to cry like a baby), but inside my heart soared.  My relationship the last 5 years had been nothing, very little love or affection... Mostly a patient/caregiver type of relationship.  And, in no way Christian!  So this promise from God gave me hope.
   
  I moved out on my own in June 2013.  I moved into a small apartment.  I had already began my job, so I spent little time at home alone.  With the hours I was working I was missing out on most Bible studies, which fed my spirit and I needed.  There were times I felt so alone.  This had been the first time I had ever lived alone.  During those times I prayed to God to bring me peace with myself.
   
  It has been nearly 6 months now and I found out I like myself.  I don't mind my own company, and God is always with me during those lonely moments.
   
  I wasn't going to mention this, but this blog has always been brutally honest... So, I am keeping with that promise.
   
  About 5 weeks ago I went on Christian Mingle.  I wasn't sure what to expect, or if it would work.  My first experience wasn't good, so I got a hold of administrators and asked to have my account closed, and my profile taken down.  They told me it would be 2 days before it would all be gone.  That 2nd day an email came through.  Someone I had sent an email to the first day, I thought he was cute and looked kind.
  We each read the email the other had sent, then that night began talking on the phone.  It's now been 5 weeks of talking several times a day, texting and video chatting.  We love each other.   He is a Christian man who is all I have been looking for.  We will meet in November and see where this takes us.  I am happy and feel loved and cared for.
  I believe that at just the right moment, when God knew I was ready,  He put Michael in my life.
   
  I won't be posting any photos of him, or even sharing much information about him, until he is comfortable with that.  All I know is he is a blessing in my life, and I am looking forward to a new and fresh start with him.
   
  As for my job...
  It is very physical.  There are times when I am trying to negotiate a 200-400 lb rolls of carpeting, pushing and pulling it through the store.  There are other times I am loading 50 or more boxes of hardwood onto pallets which easily weigh 30+ lbs, or lifting 25+ lbs of boxes of tile.  Not to mention cutting 13' rolls of Vinyl or carpet.
   
  I had a total hysterectomy and after 5 weeks retuned to work on light duty.  Not to lift anything!  Of course there were times no one was around to help, so I just did it myself.  I recovered perfectly from that... Praise God!
   
  On the 2nd of October I was walking backwards on one end of a carpet roll, another associate on the other end, when I tripped over carpet laying on the floor and came down hard flat on my upper back.  Throughout the day I began to get more sore and stiff.  I had the next two days off, so I told my manager what had happened (just in case), and left that night to go home and soak in the tub.
   
  As it had turned out I have not been back to work, and now this is a workers comp claim.
  My Pulmonologist took ex-rays and said my lungs are PERFECT!  He said I can come off of O2 all together, to just keep it around in case of emergencies!  He told me that unless I had an issue, I could see him every 6 months for a check up.  OH!!!  He also told me NOT to lose anymore weight!  How many times in most women's lives do we hear such words?  More Praise to God for his healing!
  That same day I saw my Cardiologist and he told me my heart is working perfectly normal and I no longer needed to see him.
   
   Tell me this us not Devine Healing!  No one will ever be able to tell me any different!
  They both told me that even though these organs of mine are perfect, I need to take special care of them, so they both wrote me notes to my job to halt all physical activity.
   
  My Pimary Care Doctor told me I have signs of Costrocondritus.  She sent me to an Anesthisia Dr. for nerve block shots.  Once he examined me, his diagnoses is intercostal neuralgia at T8-9.  No lifting, no physical activity, no work.
   
  So, today I have an appointment with my Primary Care Doctor.  I will ask her for a letter to give to my workers comp rep. And to my employer saying I can not work there anymore.
  I have options, I know God will watch out for me.  I will keep you updated.
  I stand on God's healing.  I will be better than fine when this is over.  He brings his children out of storms victorious.
   
  So, in the meantime, I am going to all the Bible studies and Church I can get to.  I am reading the word, and I am building a relationship with Michael.... And I am back blogging.
   
  I also get to spend precious time with my best friend, who is so important to me.  She is my voice of reason, my backbone when I need one, and that little thump on the head we all need at times.
   
  I am do glad to be back.  I hope this will show those with little hope that miracles DO happen.  My doctor told me last year she was preparing me to die, to walk me through that process.  This year she is happily watching me live life and live it better and longer than ever expected!
   
  God is so good!

I thought while I had a few minutes between loads of laundry (at 9:43 p.m.) I would catch up on my blog post.

I have been praying for God to step with me into my future and meet my needs.  God is a wonderful giving God and has first he gave me the courage to stop by Kathie's house that day about a year ago.  Bringing to women back together who are so much more than friends.  It's like I found a lost family member.  

Then she brought me to her Church and let God back into my life.  

Then God healed my lungs.  It happened too fast, and too thoroughly to be anything other than divine healing.  

Then I prayed to God for the courage to follow through with Bill's request for a divorce; which normally and in the past I would have fought to "work things out".  God gave me the self confidence to not doubt that I could make it on my own.  God knew what it would take for me to be on my own, to support myself, to find the peace that I want so badly... and he has given me all the provisions for me to have all those things.

I prayed to God that I would find a car that would take less gas than the one I had.  That it could be gotten for little down and small payments.  I was sold a wonderful (like brand new) car for $1.00.  How could that happen without God fulfilling my needs?

I prayed that I would find somewhere I could afford to move.  God provided through Kathie an adorable house with a magnificent view of the Lake and the Park for such a price I could pay off (after the sale of our house), and perhaps prior to purchase I could rent it until our house sold.  

I was living off of my Social Security which was minimal, but I knew God would provide my needs.  It may sound simple or foolish to some, but I truly believe God is walking me through this transition of mine.

One day about 2 weeks ago out of the blue Kathie called a home improvement store to thank the flooring department for a great carpeting job they had done on one of her rentals, and while talking she was asked if she knew anyone who needed a job.  :-)  She called me and told me about it and asked me to call the manager, which I did and had an interview the next day.  Me, someone who hadn't worked in 12+ years, and even then I was self employed so I had no resume.... I had very little to add to the application.  But I walked in and knew I had the job.  She told me I would be hearing from her in about a week, that they had other applicants to see.  As I left I told them ... "Thank you so much for this opportunity, you won't be sorry if you hire me".  In a GAZILLION years I never would have been so bold.  I felt like it was mine as soon as I sat down.

3 hours later Kathie and I had just pulled out of a drive through coffee place and my phone rang.  I held the phone so we both could hear.  It was the manager telling me I had the job and I needed to come back in and pick up paper work for a drug test.  I started work 2 days later and was told I would be making $10.00 plus commission on all sales, plus a 401k, plus full benefits after 90 days.  I asked if there would be raises and was told no... that this department makes very good commission and for that reason they Never pay over $10.00.  On my 2nd day of work the manager called me into his office and said they were raising my pay to $12.00 per hour because it may take a few months for me to build up a clientele.

This job was another gift from God.  It had to be.  I got a job out of the blue, not even wanting one, or realizing how much I needed it... I am 51 years old with no prior job history.  This is of God.

I love the job.  I am working 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with Mondays and Tuesdays off.  They have let me work 1:00 to 6:00 on Sundays so I can go to Church and Bible Study.  


I just thank God every day for all he has done for me.  I am tired, I haven't put in these kind of hours in YEARS!  Some nights I am sore, and some mornings are pretty hard to get up.  But I do, and I couldn't feel better about myself.  This is nearly the final step in my independence.  I have opened up my first bank account in 15 years (Bill always had the bank account and I wrote the checks he signed).  After I get my first check, after tithing... I will put 10% into a savings account for myself.  Maybe more to start with so I can save up for furniture and things for my house.


This is such a change from the me who began this blog....I was sick and dependent on Bill for almost everything, I was lugging around a oxygen tank and had a cannula around my face.  I was nearly 120 pounds heavier.  

Now I am healthy enough for a full time job that takes a healthy body to do.  I have my own car, I have my own bank account, I have my own job, and I now weigh 159 pounds.  A far cry from what I was.  I am now wearing a size 10 working on a size 8.  Life is good, and the future is promising.  

 

I hope my friends here are doing well.  You know I will always look to this site and it's members as my family, as my saviors!  

kellie3

It's been a long time

Posted by kellie3 Mar 18, 2013

Hi everyone!!  :)

Boy, I know it's been some time since I have been here.  I have been busy living life.  I can tell you a few months ago I thought that would be nearly impossible.  I am still going to the gym 3 to 4 days a week for an hour or more if I feel like I can push myself.  I have went from a size 24 (3x) to a size 10, if I am lucky a size 8.  I still haven't reached my weight goal, but I am re-thinking that.  I think with age (shhh) my body has changed and I will be happy losing fewer pounds.  My doctors are happy, and tell me I am at a healthy place now.  As long as I can keep exercising I am good.  I have taken my nicotine addiction and transferred it to a gym geek.  

Bill and I are seperating and moving on.  We need to do so much.... have a giant garage sale and rid ourselves of years of "stuff", then decide what each of us want.  We are needing to repaint the outside of the house and do some landscaping.  He needs to finish 2 rooms in the basement... And then we can put the house on the market.

 I am planning on moving out as soon as I can.  Even though it was him who told me he didn't love me anymore, the lines are beginning to be crossed, and I don't want to make our final seperation any harder on him than I think it will be.  For years (nearly 20) at least once a year he would ask me for a divorce.  I always said no, that I wasn't going ignore my vows I took.  After a few weeks HE always came around.  This time when he asked, I said O.K..  I am ready now.  

I gave him 30 years, the next 30 are for me.  He doesn't like me going to church or the new friends I have met, and some old ones I am re-acquainted with.  He is a drinker, and has a tendency to cuss quite a bit, and his mood can change on a dime.  I would rather not be around that anymore.  He doesn't like my independance.  Of course he was my care provider while i was sick, a roll I think he grew to like..... a quiet me, one who would listen and do whatever he said, I couldn't go anywhere without him (near the end) and I think he liked the idea of being in charge of me.

Once healed and healthy I no longer needed a care giver, I needed a partner who wanted to live a full life.  Anyway... this is difficult.  I still love him - I always will, but now I chose to live my life fully and righteously, on my own terms.

I am to have my 6 months check up since surgery back at Oregon Health Sciences University next month.  Which will actually make it about 7 1/2 months.  I am excited for them to see how well I am doing.  

I need to apologize for not coming here sooner and keeping in touch.  I have also kind of let my blog go for a while.  Bill is around me all the time and I would not want him to see his name mentioned in a blog.  (he doesn't use the computer so there would be no chance otherwise).  So, I am writing while he is in bed.  I think of you all.... all the time and haven't forgot my friends here.  

You all helped save my life.  Had I not quit smoking when I did, I wouldn't be here today... and that's a fact!  I owe you so much.  I hope life has been kind to you and you are all in good health.  We all have our struggles I know, just know you are all in my prayers.  I love this site, and adore all my friends I made while here.  

Hugs and much love to you all.  

Hi to all my friends, and those friends I haven't met yet,

Giulia left a message on my page asking how I was doing since surgery.  I am sorry for not keeping everyone updated.  You all have been so good to me, I hate that I haven't stayed in touch better.

Nearly 4 years ago I was told I had emphysema and was given terrible odds on living past 5 years without transplant or lung surgery.  Of course I quit smoking that day.

On August 22nd, 2012 I had Lung Volume Reduction Sugery and they removed a good portion of each upper lobe of both lungs.  This was done to free up space so that the left over lungs could expand and allow me to breath better.

Since then I have been eating well and exercising.  If anyone has ever had that kind of surgery you would understand I never want to experience that again!  I was on oxygen 24 hours a day and on a bucket full of medications.

Since surgery I am down to the bare minimum on meds and I am hoping when I see my lung doctor next month he will totally remove my oxygen from me.  Right now I use it only at night.  The last month or two I had been going to physical therapy to regain strength and begin to build up my core muscles which were lost by living a sedentary life because of my emphysema.  

Two days ago my physical therapist told me I was finished.  That I had exceeded his expectations of what progress was possible.  :)  He sent a report to my doctor whom I saw this morning and she gave me the green light to join a gym and begin to exercise on my own.  So... I left her office and joined a gym!

I am down 100+ pounds and have lost 6 pants sizes.  I am now shopping in the Jr. Dept at the clothing stores!

I am healthy.  I feel like I did when I was in my 20's.  I don't need my handicap sign anymore, I park further away and walk in the stores now!  

When I was being released from the hospital after surgery the surgeon told me I still have emphysema and it still is progressive and sooner or later I will probably need a transplant.  The best I can do is to keep my body in shape and healthy, that's how I will prolong the inevitable.  

I can't imagine coming this far and feeling this good.... just to lose it again!  I will fight myself tooth and nail to be healthy.  

Just one preaching paragraph.  If you are struggling to quit, or haven't yet... Don't be ridiculous... smoking KILLS.  There is NO cure for Copd and it is the 3rd leading cause of death... far ahead of breast cancer.  If you have had colds that seem to hang on, a cough that won't go away, get out of breath walking or climbing stairs then you might want to get checked.  Those are all symptoms of Copd.  Don't write it off like I did to "just being out of shape".  Just throw them away and don't ever pick them up again.

Finally, A Great Big Thank You to EVERYONE who has been beside me during this adventure, and for all of you whose prayers were sent and recieved gladly.  I so appreciate the kindness and support I have gotten here.  Hugs and love to all...... Kellie

kellie3

I am thriving!! :)

Posted by kellie3 Sep 24, 2012

I have recieved a couple inquireries as to how I am doing.  So I thought before I updated my page I would write a quick blog.

I had Lung Volume Reduction Surgery on the 22nd of August, today is a couple days past a month of recovering.  I find this very interesting.... The doctor told me that he removed 2 large bulli (which is like 2 large blown up balloons that were hard and non functioning) from the top of each lung.  He said the portion of the left lung he removed as it set in my chest cavity took up about 25% and the right lung about 20%.

The strangest part to me is that he said once those large balloon shaped emphysema ridden lungs were removed and deflated it equaled only 5-6%.  Isn't that amazing?!  I thought so.  The remaining portion of my lungs still have emphysema but not nearly as bad, but will keep progressing only much slower now.  

I am recovering great.  I am pushing my doctors to be able to begin exercise, but this time they are pushing back and telling me NO not for another couple weeks.  I also was scolded for not taking my pain meds like I should.  Hmph!!

I am yet to be able to wear a bra because 3 out of the 4 chest tubes were under my breasts and I am coward to even think about something pushing against the healing areas.  

While sitting, or on the computer, or driving in the car, or going out to eat I am OXYGEN FREE.  Only when I am expending energy must I use the O2.  And, eventually that will change to once I can begin to exercise and build up my core.  Oh yeah, and for some reason my stats drop really low at night, so I use it then also.

I know this is an old story so I won't go into it all.............. But,

June 4th, 2009 in the early afternoon I was diagnosed with severe emphysema.  I threw my cigs away at the doctors office and never smoked again.  While just learning of a non curable disease and quiting smoking I decided I would comfort myself with food and I did it well!  In a year and a half I put on about 40 pounds on top of an already heavy body.

Today I finally hit my 100 mark.  I have lost 100 pounds!  I still have 25 to go to be at my optimal weight range but I am in no rush.  I dropped 5 dress sizes. 

I am on the brink of a new life.  A thinner, stronger, much healthier one.  

Please throw out those cigarettes and know that for 3 years I have went through so much, stress, fear, loneliness, pain..... you name it and I didn't run back to cigarettes for comfort.  In fact I built myself a much better life.

If I can quit and go through all of the above anyone can.  Please believe those who tell you cigarettes will kill you.  Second hand smoke can permanently harm those around you.

I love this site and all it's members, thank you for all the support I have recieved, it means the world to me.

kellie3

My hospital experience

Posted by kellie3 Sep 5, 2012

The 22nd as planned I arrived at the hospital at 6:30 for my surgery at 7:00.  Brittney, Bill and Layla were there with me and my brother was on his way from his hotel to reach me before I went "under".


Honestly, I don't recall that day or the 23rd and 24th.  Most of those days are sketchy.  Bill, Britt and Greg left by Friday the 24th.  I was under the impression that Bill or Brittney would stay with me at the hospital until my release... taking turns and coming back to Klamath Falls in-between.  The nursing staff told them I needed rest and they didn't want them in my room.  I kept telling them to just leave and go home and take care of things, that I had good nurses and I would just be laying around being drugged and the hospital staff could take care of whatever I needed.


The 22nd through the 24th I was in the Trauma ICU.  I was well cared for, fed, bathed or washed off, helped to the commode, had my I.V.'s flushed every day, was given all my medications, had water or ice chips without even asking.  They were good nurses who knew what I needed before I even asked for it.


Then around the evening of the 24th they told me as soon as a bed was ready on the recovery ward I would be moved.  Friday night/Saturday morning around midnight I was transferred.  


Being on such heavy drugs I had been hallucinating the entire time and getting moved late night in the dark surely fed into my paranoia.  So began the worse experience of my life.  Each day several times Bill, Brittney, Greg and Robbin (my brothers) would call and ask how I was doing.  Even in my darkest times I always told them "fine".  I didn't want anyone to think they had to drop what the were doing and run to take care of me.  They told me later that most of the time I didn't make any sense.


I can't honestly remember much of the next 3 days so I will only comment on what I know to be fact.


In this room my door stayed shut and the lights remained off, unless a doctor came in to check my tubes or remove them and my epidural, the rest of the time I remained in the dark.  Yes, there was a T.V. but I could figure out how to change the channels.  I slept most of the time.  I was supposed to be given a shot in the stomach once a day to help keeps clots from forming, out of 3 days there.. I got only one shot.  I would call the nurse to help me to the bathroom and she would say back on the speaker that it would be a while.  So, I always got up by myself to use the bathroom.  They had one of those buckets in it to measure stuff.  The entire time there no one checked it, and I was the only one to empty it.  I never was cleaned up or washed.  I threw up one day all over my bedding and I called the nurse, she came in and removed the sheets and changed the sheets.  I asked her for new clothes and a washcloth.. She said she would be back, I got tired setting in the bathroom waiting for her to clean me up and get me dressed so I did it myself.

I would occasionally leak urine on my bed and just sit in it until I had enough stamina to get up and get new underwear and a "leak pad".


Sunday night the doctor came in and took out the last chest tube.  I began to tell him how filthy I felt and that I had asked for help but no one ever showed up.  He was the one to tell me I needed to go home.  That I was at more risk being in the hospital for germs and bacteria and pneumonia.  So, Monday morning I called Britt and told her to come and get me.  


My conclusion and advice to anyone facing a major surgery is this.......

Family is there to help you.  I should have never thought I was a burden to them, and insisted that someone stay there with me.  When you are in the hospital alone you are at the mercy of the staff.  If you have someone there on  your behalf then they can demand a bath, or less drugs, or new clothes, or just better care.  That's my surgical story.

My surgery I consider a success.  I am breathing easier, still on 2 liters of O2, but once I am cleared to excercise then I believe my need for supplemental O2 will leave.  


I am doing fine at home.  

Thank everyone for their prayers.  I needed every one of them.

kellie3

Back From Surgery

Posted by kellie3 Aug 30, 2012

 I am home, I checked myself out of OHSU the 27th. It's a long story I'll share at some point. 
 

  Surgery went well, All of the bandages are gone except one stubborn spot. My medicine is working pretty well at keeping my pain at bay.  
  
I just get so exhausted so quickly. I am still on 2 liters of O2, but my O2 saturation is holding the in high 80's to mid 90's. I am hoping over the next weeks I will get stronger on my feet and can begin some rehab walking. 
   
  I wanted to mention how nice it was to meet Owl.  She is such a sweet soul.  Also, thank you so much for all your good wishes and prayers. 
  
I'll check back on here in a few days. I can't sit here right now for very long periods. 
kellie3

I got this!!

Posted by kellie3 Jul 30, 2012

"I wanted to post this update in blog form also (it is already on my page) so those new quitters or those struggling to find a reason to hold onto their quit can read it and see what is at stake.

In about 3 weeks I will undergo a surgery that will remove up to 2/3's of each lung.  They will cut 3 holes in either side of me beginning under my arm pits, and cut one hole in my back (or front if it's more accessable).  They will go in with a camera, a cutting device that staples as it cuts away lung tissue, and the third hole on each side of me will be suction.  The hole in my back or front will be used to remove the dead and damaged tissue.

 

When I was diagnosed I was 47.  It was June 4th, 2009.... 3 years and a few months ago.  I am now 50 and facing a very serious surgery that "may" buy me another 3 to 5 years before I will be required to have a double lung transplant.  

I am ashamed that I let an addiction do this to my family.  If I don't make it (which I am very positive that I will fly through this) my family will be devistated.

For years and years I saw sick people and told myself that will NEVER happen to me.  Humph!

 

 

Well I have figured out that the medical feild moves almost as slow as the government.

After multiple trips the last 3 months to the Oregon Health Sciences University I have finished all the testing and have a date for surgery.

On August 22nd, 2012 @ 6:00 a.m. I will have a Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.  They will be removing up to 2/3's of each upper lobe.  I will stay anywhere from 6 days to 3 weeks.  It is all going to depend on my staples holding and no air leakage, and how fast I can recover and have tubes removed from my sides and chest.

It was June 4th 2009 that I was diagnosed and quit smoking.   A little over 3 years and I have declined to this point.  This will not cure me, it will only give me another 3 to 5 years before I will need a double transplant.  3 years sure goes by quickly.

If I could have had a sneak peak into my future I can tell you I would have never smoked, or certainly quit much much earlier.  

So when you are thinking about how hard you have it with withdrawls or discomfort from quitting, think of me on the 22nd and say a little prayer.  Thanks.  

I came here a few days after I quit smoking.  On June 4th, 2009 @ 3:30 in the afternoon I quit smoking cold turkey.  My daughter had used this site before and had great sucess for 6 months before she was foolish and began smoking again.  She introduced me to a few people here who had helped her, I set up my page and began to blog and make friends.  Some of those friends I will call my forever friends.  

Life sometimes can catch you off guard, and it can even be ironic.

The day I quit smoking I was at the doctor with another chest cold, get more codiene cough syurp.  This time I had a different Dr. that was standing in for my regular doc.  She ordered chest x-rays, and within 35 minutes I was alone hearing I had lung disease and I needed to see a Pulmonologist quickly.

I through the cigarettes away on my way home and never smoked again.  I was thinking this would definately help my lung disease.  Quitting smoking, right?  It should help tremendously!  Well, yes it does help with progression, but it doesn't stop it.  Lung disease (in my case) emphysema is not curable.  The doctors can give you medicine to ease the side effects, quitting smoking and exercising can slow it down... but it always is moving forward.

I went through so much over the last 3 years.  

Remember I talked about irony?  Well, I quit smoking June 4th 2009, and Monday June 4th, 2012  I will be seeing a team of doctors who will evaluate me for a Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.  If I do not qualify for this then I will be sent on to another University to be evaluated for a double lung transplant.  Can you believe it??  Three years!!  All my doctors (now there is a considerable group of them) agree that had I not quit smoking I would have been dead long ago.

I am now to the point where I could die of a common cold.  If I were to catch a virus I could not come back from it.  I need to have a surgery to remove a 4 pound fibroid tumor on my uterus... I am actually seeing an OBGYN while at this University to schedule surgery for me.  My home town hospital (or those around me) will not consider surgery on me in case my lungs were to become a problem they want an entire staff on call to work on me.  I am high risk.

If you are thinking you can beat cigarettes you are fooling yourself.  Sure, you will see an old person once in a while smoking and seemingly living a healthy life.  It's the roll of the dice.  Are you willing to bet on your life?  Not only yourself but those around you.  2nd hand smoke they are finding out is just as bad as smoking each cigarette yourself.  Copd is the 4th most leading cause of death in the U.S. this year.  Next year it is supposed to move ahead of breast and prostrate cancer to become the 3rd leading killer.  

Use this site.  Use the knowledge of the elders here.  They are not paid to be here, they do it to pay it forward and try and save lives.  I bow to them, bless their hearts for being so giving.  

I owe my life to this site and it's members... my friends.

 So, it's been a while.  I have had a few Dr.'s appointments and gotten some news.  I needed to absorb it before I began to comment on what's happening. It seems life goes along at a normal pace then for a few days it is a blur.  A blur of fear, sleeplessness, upheaval and doubt. 

I think in my last blog I mentioned that my Pulmonologist wanted me to come back in and re-do the Spirometry test they had done 9 days before.  So, last Thursday I went in and re-did their test.  Firstly I had lost 6 pounds in 9 days.  Yeah for me. 
My test results showed (confirmed) that my breathing percentage had dropped 32% in 11 months.  They seem to think that was very fast and at that pace I needed to be sent to Stanford to have them take a look at me, especially for Lung Volume Surgery. 
My Respiratory Therapist suggested I hold off on all surgeries or procedures and let Stanford deal with those.  She sent me home with the words... you WILL hear from Stanford within 2 weeks.  I even asked her if that was pushing things?  And, she said NO.  Once they receive my file they will want to see me.

In the meantime I had an appointment with my Primary Care Dr. who remember I had asked to be my go-between with all my doctors and procedures they wanted to do on me.  Well, she said that she wanted me to keep all appointments..... even with the Urologist in Medford (which I had cancelled, now tomorrow early I have to call to see if I can still keep my appointment).  She said that the Gynecologist is concerned about my lungs and surgery.  He also wants to get all the results from the Urologist so that if something can be done with my bladder and urine leakage then both things can be fixed in one surgery.  He (the Gynecologist) told her that he had been in contact with my Pulmonologist who said at this point with me he doesn't feel confident putting me under and putting a breathing tube down my throat.  That IF I were to have any surgeries here they would do a spinal and keep me awake monitoring my breathing. 
This made my Primary Care Dr. suggest that if this procedure is needed (which it is... I have a 4 lb tumor growing on my uterus), then perhaps it should also be done at Stanford. 

So.... I have all this information, but yet I know NOTHING.
I don't know when I will go down there?  I don't know how long I will need to be there?  I have not been through a Pulmonary Rehab Class... and I have been told that is a requirement prior to surgery.  If that is the case I would have to stay down there for the rehab because we do not have one within a hundred miles of me. I am not sure how long those classes are, but I think 5 days a week for at least 2 weeks. 

I don't know if my insurance will help pay for traveling expenses.  Stanford is about 7 hours away and I drive a Dodge Durango with a magnum V-8 which is great in the snow, but sucks the gas down like a little kid drinking a slurpy! 

I don't know if Bill stays there with me if they will have housing for us, and how much it will cost to stay there?  I don't know while we are gone what will happen to our dogs and house?  I don't know anything and it eats at me. 
Oh yeah... speaking of it eating at me..... my Primary Care Dr. (whom I love) says that I DO need counseling.  That the amount of stress I am under right now and not sleeping will make any surgery or procedure harder on me.  So, she is seeking a referral and will have them call me to make an appointment, and has increased my anxiety medication and the dose of what I take to sleep at night.  I am up to 9 pills in the morning, and 1 at noon and 4 at night every day... plus 2 inhalers and my O2 of course.  I spend more time filling my perscription holders than I do doing anything else.  

So... when I know anything, I will spread the word.  In the meantime hold in there with me.

image

Last week I had asked a friend of mine if I could accompany her to church?  She picked me up this morning and I enjoyed myself and left with a feeling that I would be protected.  It was the first time in about 13 years I had been to church and I actually opened myself up to the possibility of Gods love and devotion to me, and mine to him.  Before I had always attended but never felt I was worthy of a relationship with Jesus.  Today was somehow different.  I left feeling like a weight was lifted, I am not as afraid.  I will not lie and say I have no fear, because I do.  But I know God and so many others will pray for me and I can now say I believe in prayer. 

So... This is my update.  So much to take in, yet not much news.  Welcomed to my world!  lol

kellie3

Sorry if I am angry

Posted by kellie3 Feb 18, 2012

First and foremost I want to say hello and THANK YOU to all my friends here who tirelessly leave me positive messages and are always checking on me.  Please know it never goes unnoticed. I have been kind of having my own pity party lately and have been here only in the background.   

So... I won't bore you with my story again... I'll try and do a condensed version..

I smoked for 30+ years and on June 4th 2009 I was diagonsed with Severe Copd and Emphysema, I was 47 at the time.  Within a very short period of time I was put on full time oxygen. Then a year passed and my doctor told me that I would make a good candidate for transplant so after a few months the University of Washington contacted me and told me they had looked over my tests and I am too healthy for their standards.  

Most people would be happy with that.  And I was relieved... however it just meant that my symptoms by the time they would be willing to help me would have to be multiplied severely.  

Last Thursday I had an appointment with my doctor for more lung tests.  These tests are done every year.  This had only been 10 months, so I knew I must be declining.  I have felt it.  

My breathing had decreased to 32% in 10 months and will be qualified for transplant.  I still have about 20+ pounds to lose before I am within their range for acceptance.  He said I am getting worse at such a pace that by the time I am ready to be listed I will be at the 25% requirement for transplant.

He said that he would get all my tests and paperwork together and this time send them to Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, California.  He told me that they will be contacting me to come down for a consultation and a few days of testing.  I am assuming this will take some time... maybe months before I actually have an appointment with them.

He told me that without either Lung Volume Reduction surgery or Transplant I could go with any bout of pnuemonia or the flu.  That my lungs are in such a state that if I had to be placed on a respirator I most likely could not be taken off.  I had been having anxiety attacks and have been back and forth to the hospital because I have sudden pain in my chest and I feel like I can't breath.  It's because right now I am breathing with only 32% of my lung capacity.  

I am angry.  I have damaged myself because of smoking.  It can happen to anyone.  No one is above this.  You smoke, you damage your lungs.  

Copd is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States right now, 4th world wide.  That means 1 in 3 will be diagnosed.  Smoking is not a joke.  It is nothing to toy with.

I feel damaged, I am so afraid of this surgery, but without it I will have less than 5 years and those years will be spent more in the hospital than out, and on and off resperators that could  collapse a lung at any time.  

Those of you who think they can pick one up and then stop again are fooling yourselfs and playing a very dangerous game.  Don't roll the dice... just throw them away and move on with life.  

Getting through a craving is much easier than the path I am about to take.

I began a blog a few days after I was diagnosed.  It tells the tale of what life is like with emphysema.  You're welcomed to stop by and do some reading.  It is always honest, sometimes embarassing... but a true look into what this has done to me and my familly.

http://asiliveandbreathe-kellie.blogspot.com/

Frist I want to thank everyone who leaves such nice, thoughtful things on my wall.  I haven't been here very much.  I miss my friends.  

For the newbies here... I hope this will open your eyes as to what can happen to you if you continue to smoke.

(From my page)

 

About me

 ~~~~~~~

I am a 47 year old who June 4th, 2009 was diagnosed with a lung disorder, and on the way home from the doctor threw my cigarettes away. Since then the diagnoses changed to Severe Bollous Emphysema and COPD.  I am in no way ready to give up or lay down and die.  I am however realistic.  This disease is progressive.  I did quit smoking and that will help ease the progression, but once this disease gets a hold on a body it doesn't slow down much.  My doctor tells me that eventually I will be a good candidate for Lung Volume Reduction Surgery or Transplant.  When I heard those phrases I about fainted.  It had really come to this! 

My husband of 26 years had hounded me our entire marriage to quit smoking.  As my shortness of breath and cough got worse he told me my smoking would bankrupt our family.  You see I had NO insurance.  I had been self employed for many many years and thinking I was being sly I never paid myself a salary.  I had worked my entire life but for the last 12 years never paid into social security. 

I suppose getting old and sick never occured to me.  So when I walked out of the doctors office, driving home I was dreading telling my husband what my diagnoses was.  Of course he was as scared as I was.  After my first Pulmonologist appointment I knew it would be necessary to find some kind of insurance for me.  Every insurance I looked into had clauses in them for "pre-existing conditions".  My husband was medically retired 18 years ago after he broke his neck on the Fire Department, so our income was fixed and limited.  After agonizing over our options we decided we needed to get divorced so I would qualify for SSI.  Our divoce was final the 24th of August.  I just received my insurance card last week. 

Smoking cost me dearly.  So, when people talk about returning to smoking because of stress I get pissed.  I have this white line on my left ring finger to remind me everyday how costly smoking is.  We are still together, he loves me and I know we will be together always, but I selfishly damaged my family. 

This site has been a godsend for me. There is so much concentrated information and support here. As sure as I am that I would have quit smoking, I know without this site and the people here I would have struggled much more.

If you are new, buckle down and realize this will be a chore, but a very worthwhile one. In your early days take it moment by moment until you can take it day by day. Come here often and blog and read. Information really will save your butt.  Each day that passes you take one step closer to becoming an Ex smoker. Congratulations!

If you are serious about becoming free of nicotine, I will do whatever I can to help you.



Come here often and blog, ask questions, read other peoples stories and you will see there are people that have over come huge obsticals and still remain smoke free. You can learn by their struggles and mistakes.



It won't be an easy journey but in the end it is worth every mood swing and craving.



I wish you much luck and determination~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





I am leaving the above alone only to show what the results of smoking can do to someone. For me I need to start a new chapter and try and close that book up there.

Things I took for granted are now impossible, and even dangerous. Like going outside in the winter when the inversion layer is bad I can not take a breath. The ice cold heavy air is impossible to get into my lungs. I bought scarves in every color so I can cover my nose and mouth to be able to breath warmed air. It's ridiculous, but my new reality.

Yes, I still have a disease but I will not let that disease discribe my life or define me. Instead I will figure out how I will cope with the limitations and learn to deal with it. That is my new frustration.

My greatest wish for myself and all my friends this New Year is to be kind to ourselves. Understand that we are not perfect and learn to love our differences.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A new update.  In January this year shortly after I updated the above... I was put on oxygen.  I have also started a daily blog called As I live and Breathe.  It is a blog to document a year of living with Copd and Emphysema.  I would love for you to stop by.  It is a place those also suffering can go and find out they are not alone.  It is a place those with loved ones suffering with this can go and get a taste of what that person lives with on a daily basis.

http://asiliveandbreathe-kellie.blogspot.com/

 

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Yet another update.... As of May 13th, 2010 (the day before what would have been my 27th wedding anniversary) I was told due to the lack of oxygen saturation it's needed that I use oxygen 24 hours a day now.  So like it or not I have a cannula wrapped around my face now.  I even have permanent marks on my cheeks from where the hose wraps around my face.  I am also now being checked for heart problems.  It seems that once your lungs start giving up it effects other organs.  Your heart works closely with your lungs.  It needs that oxygen the lungs distribute, without it all kinds of things start to happen.  Rapid heart beat, loss of memory, confusion, worsening eyesite, loss of hearing.  Isn't it amazing how one thing works with the other?

I reiterate................... THROW THOSE CIGARETTES AWAY!  Take a close look at a women who is not even 50 yet who cannot leave her house without planning.  I was never a vane woman, but I always took pride in my appearance.  It is painful to look at myself in the mirror and see me looking back.  I mourn my old self.  I long for those days when I could run out to jump in my car and go swimming with my granddaughter.  I miss the days when my husband and I were husband and wife.  I miss the days when we could dance, snorkle or just walk the nature trails. 

Life is short.  Grab it, cherish it, and understand how fragile it is.  It can be taken away with the strike of a match.

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August 27th, 2009

I thought I had a while before this update was added.  Today at my doctors appointment he told me my next option was Transplant.  He gave me a list of transplant hospitals, of which I chose University of Washintion Medical Center in Seattle.  He is forwarding my file there and I am expected to get a pile of forms to fill out and have an appointment scheduled to decide if it will be a double or single transplant.  First I have to go on a diet and have a BMI of 30%.  Right now I have no idea what it is, but I have a long way to go. 

Once I am accepted and added to the list I have to be within an hour of the center.  So, relocating is in our near future.  Fortunatley we both grew up in Washington so it's not a new enviroment for us.  And, as luck would have it my cousin works in the same hospital and oddly enough in the transplant unit, and would be in charge of my recovery.  Cosmic stuff!

So, this is not the way I would have written my life, this is not the story I had in mind... but this IS my new reality.  Once again I am sleepless thinking of all the possibilities.  In 3 days i will be 500 days smoke free and this is what it has come down to, 

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It doesn't take long to realize life is delicate.  There have been so many times that I just wanted to give up.  My journey has taken another turn.  I have a feeling there will be many along the way.  The transplant hospital now wants me to have a Lung Volume Reduction Surgery.  It's like having a second chance before transplant.  There are still challenges to overcome, but these are lower hurdles and I think I will be just fine.  I had a moment the other day that I wanted to throw it all in and grab a cigarette.  Of course it was fleeting, but it was real and had I not had medical goals I may have faltered.  It surprised me to be so far away from the beginning of my quit and still having those things call out to comfort me.  As always I will keep you posted on any changes.  Hold onto your quits and always remember it just takes one puff.

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2010 ended and I had high hopes for the New Year.  My doctor had been talking with a transplant hospital regarding a reduction surgery for me.  Throughout November and the beginning of December I had a battery of tests run.  I was thinking (from listening to my doctor and his staff) that I had to be patient, but that I should expect to go to Seattle around February.  Tonight I got a call from a staff member at the University of Washington telling me that my condition is not serious enough to be considered at this time.  I was nervous about the surgery anyway, so this is good news.  However, I also was hopeful that with the surgery I could get off this oxygen and have more stamina and breath to do things that now I cannot.  So, the news is recieved with mixed feelings. 

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April 9th, 2011

Another update.  I have begun to have heart issues now.  It is the normal progression of Copd/Emphysema.  When the body gets short on oxygen all other organs (espcially the heart) begin to work overtime to get oxygen to the rest of the body.  The result in my case is a rapid heart rate.  My resting pulse is now at 100+.  With exertion it can shoot to 180 and more.  I am exercising carefully, in short periods of time with lots of rest between.  I am doing my best to drop weight so my body won't have to work so hard. 

I wish every smoker could live one day of my life.  Just one is all it woud take.  Now, even those around me can tell there are changes.  My breathing is much worse, I am having memory issues, I am afraid to wander too far alone for fear I will run out of oxygen and not be able to help myself. 

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June 25, 2011

I am fighting with everything I have to stay healthy and strong.  I saw my brother a couple weeks ago and he told me he could see a difference in me.  It is taking me a little longer to do simple things.  I walk a little slower, but I walk.  We hiked to a memorial site for our mom and I hiked, it took some time, but I did it.  Not long ago I walked a 5k just to prove to myself I could.  I joined a gym and unlike everyone else I had to prove to them I could work out and not keel over.  I had to bring a doctors note in before they would let me join.  I work out on each machine with my oxygen right beside me.  For those of you who are healthy it's hard to understand what a blow this is to my ego to constantly be reminded I am different.  My granddaughter said it best.  My grandma breaths special air.  ;)

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October 6th, 2011

I was reading the above and realized how much things have changed in such a short period of time.  Around mid July I began to have chest pain and dizziness and memory issues.  I haven't been to the gym since then. I now am trying to regain strength, but I am finding my self zapped of all energy.  To do a simple project leaves me exhausted.  I am having problems remembering simple words, phrases, directions or conversations I have just had.  I forget to put on my oxygen and will get a headache and unsteadiness which reminds me to go put on my O2.  I am forgetting to take my medication.  Things I would expect of a much older person.  At times it's frightening and actually brings me to tears to not be able to remember simple things.  I am finding I require much more "looking after" now.  There are times now that I am afraid to go places alone, and certain days I don't trust myself to drive.  

I lost a friend recently who suffered from Emphysema.  She went into the hospital to get I.V. antibiotics and passed away 2 days later.  I think of her and realize that could be me.  She had less damage of this disease as I do.  It has left me realizing how precious time is, how fragile life is.  Damn Cigarettes!

 

January 2012..... Just one more update... 

I have been going to the emergency room several times.  Actually about every other month.  I can be happy doing nothing physical, taking care of myself, keeping my oxygen levels where they belong and out of no where I will get this tremendous pain in my chest.  If feels like ripping and tearing and is almost unbearable.  It does not go away.  Breathing seems to make it worse.  They tell me it is Anxiety.  This amazes me. I can not see how something mental can come out of the blue and hit me with a pain I have never experienced before.  I usually spend 5 to 7 hours in the emergency room given heavy doses of pain medication which leaves me sick to my stomach but eventually takes the pain away.  It seems like it lingers for a few days just under the surface, like one twist or bend or cough and it will come back full force.  

The last episode was the 12th.  I had such hope for the new year.  I am on an eating program that has me lighter than I have been in years.  I thought I was about ready to begin small amounts of exercise again.... but Nope!  I am still tethered to a machine or a tank... forever, everyday, everynight.  The only time I am lose from tubing wrapped around my face is in the shower and the time is close that I will need my O2 in there also.  

I am experiencing a depression that I have never felt so hollow and angry, misunderstood and hopeless.  It's all part of this hideous disease.  

This is 3 years worth of progression.  Imagine what the next 3 will bring?  I will be 50 next month.  I never expected my 50's to be spent in and out of hospitals and surgeries.

This is the direct result of smoking.  Feel like lighting one up now?

I felt compelled to come here tonight and blog.  For those of you who don't know me I have 900+ days of being smoke free.  Don't congratulate me.  I quit because I was diagnosed with Severe emphysema and Copd.  I wasn't given a warning, I suddenly was told my life span was severely shortened and I would eventually need a double lung transplant to live.  I am not yet 50 years old. 

I mourn for the young and energetic me.  I mourn for the life I had.  Now I am tethered to an oxygen cannula 24 hours a day.  When I can leave my house I carry a portable tank in my purse.  I will never know life without a tube in my nose until I get bad enough that they will put me on a transplant list.

I am not blogging for pity.  I despise pity.  I am strong and I don't need someone to feel sorry for me.  I didn't come here to gain anything ..... except perhaps to stop one person from ever picking up a cigarette again. 

The last 6 or 8 months the symtoms of this disease are getting worse.  I was just given the last (new) medication available to help me, other than handfuls of pain medication to dull the ache in my chest.  I am now experiencing memory issues worse than ever, which makes writing very difficult.  I will lose a word or a train of thought and sit here minutes saying or thinking words or phrases until something comes to me.  It is from lack of oxygen to my brain.  I am losing stability.  I get dizzy easily and sometimes stager.


My chest is tight.  For those of you without this disease my best way to describe this is to compare it to diving too deep in the water and that tightness you feel in your chest before you can get to the surface and breath in that sweet deep breath.  Well.... I haven't had that breath in about a year, and then only on fortunate days.

I got a call tonight.  One of those calls that as soon as you hear the voice and the first sentence, your blood runs cold and your heart just feels heavy.
One of my best friends through Jr. High and High School's sister called to tell me her little sister had just been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.  I can't recall dates (when I hear bad news I get selective hearing) but they opened her up to do a lobectomy (which is pretty much a lung volume reduction surgery) they were going to remove one or both upper lobes, but once they opened her up they found cancer had went into her lymphatic system,  They are doing a brain scan next week to see if it has metastasized.  Her course of action now is chemo, but of course they will not know how bad or how long until all tests are done. 

I am not a very religious person... but please pray for her.  Her name is Gail and I love her, she is 49 years old.

This makes me just want to SCREAM at cigarettes.  We started smoking together, sneaking cigarettes and going "for walks" to smoke them.  We were maybe 13.  Because ..... YES, we knew they were supposed to be bad for us, but "nothing bad will ever happen to us".  
 

Please when you begin to think this couldn't happen to you... remember that Copd is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S. and 3rd world wide.  THERE IS NO CURE and very few treatment options.

There is only one way to slow down the progression and that is quitting smoking and early detection.  
 

kellie3

Your friendship is everything

Posted by kellie3 Sep 25, 2011


I guess we all handle grief in different ways. Way too many friends are passing away. I have lost 2 this week. One from Copd, the other went in her sleep, bless their souls and bless their families.


I was so taken aback this morning to hear of my friend Kathy's death.  It took my breath away and the tears would not stop rolling down my face.   I had been reading her facebook page for weeks, occasionally leaving brief messages.  She belonged to a Copd group with me.  
We all once in a while will say we don't feel well.... we have lung pain, lung infections, colds and flu. We mention being short of breath and tired all the time.  We even speak of short hospital stays because of an infection that won't go away or a heart issue that is due to Copd.  None of that is a red flag because that is what living with Copd is like.


I realized... these are things we all go through, and all feel. You just never know when it's your time.

So... (to all my friends) I want each of you to know I may not post on your wall, but I read your posts and blogs, and I care about you. You all are strength to me, your support and kindness get me through some very dark days.  

I hate this disease. I hate how it will pick and chose those to attack. 

I want you all to know you mean something to me. We have never met, but I think of many of you as my friends.  We are not mere aquaintances, you are part of my life.  As much as you are there for me, I hope I return the favor.  I love you.  <3

  
   
  
     
  
   To those of you who are still smoking... I know you hear it all the time.  It is that threat that we all ignored at one time or another... but This Could Be You.   
  
     
  
   I smoked for 30+ years.  I thought of quitting, heard my doctor tell me (blah blah blah) smoking isn't healthy for you.  I guess I was waiting for the words... you have lung disease you need to quit.  Because as soon as I heard those words I quit cold turkey. 
  
     
  
   They didn't tell me those words until I was already severe.  I am fighting everyday to do any form of exercise.  Some days I can go work out at Curves (a womans gym) with my oxygen tank right beside me, some days I can work out at home for 15 minutes to a half hour at a time.  These days I am walking our new dog every day.  I can feel my energy being taken away.  I fight for every step I take.  When I am home I struggle to do the smallest of things.  Cooking is exhausting, doing laundry is out of the question because the washer and dryer are in the basement and I can't climb stairs.   
  
     
  
   I hate cigarettes.  I despise this disease, it now scares me.  My friend who passed away this morning had lesser of this disease than I did.  2 days ago she went into the hospital for stronger antibiotics to get over an infection.  Today she is gone.   
  
     
  
   When you think smoking won't effect you, you have better odds in Vegas than to not be touched by Copd.  It is the 4trh leading cause of death in the World and the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S..   
  
     
  
   So when tempted by those things think twice.  Think about a friend catching a cold and dying 2 days later from complications of years of smoking.