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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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Real Life with COPD

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 18, 2017

Perhaps you may be like I was before I knew COPD. I thought it was for old people who used their Spiriva so they can play and run and chase the grandchildren and then when they're very old and have lived a full and active life (Thank You Advair!) they sit comfortably in a recliner and watch TV.

It didn't seem all that bad!

Now I'm a nearly 60 Year old man with a job and COPD. 

Let me share what it's like for me. 

I have been to the Doctor 10 times in the last 2 Months. I've had ear infections, asthma attacks, panic attacks, 3 chest Xrays, Prednisone 2 times (a very harsh steroid) and acute bronchitis. Oh yea - depression!

So far I've been able to go to work enough to keep my job but you can imagine my trepidation that I will not be able to maintain! 

When I was 30 I thought 60 was old. When I was 40 I thought 70 was old. Once I got to be 50 I thought 80 was old. Definitely not 60! But I am a middle aged man with very old lungs! 

I cough so hard I pull muscles in my chest. I have a constant upper respiratory congestion. I'm getting osteoporosis from all of the steroids I take. I now take antidepressants and Ativan every day. I actually take 18 meds a day every day.

Yet I am very fortunate! I still have 50% of my lung capacity and can walk, climb stairs, work full time, pick up my Penny and little Tahlia, accomplish activities of daily living. That's because I exercise, eat right, vaccinate, avoid pollution and dust, but most of all because 7 Years ago when I was diagnosed with emphysema March 14, 2010 I decided right then and there that I would Quit Smoking on March 20 - and I did! 

Smoking Cessation is the only known treatment that slows the progression of COPD.

Find out more at COPD!

If you smoke - Quit ASAP! If you Quit -protect your Quit as if your Life depends on it - because it does! I'm not talking just Quantity - I mean Quality!

This is no picnic!

[Image from Lung Disease News - Lung Disease News ]

Today is COPD Awareness Day!

Why is that important? 

Approximately 12 million adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with COPD, and 120,000 die from it each year. An additional 12 million adults in the U.S. are thought to have undiagnosed COPD. 

Think about it - clearly half of the people who right now have COPD do not know about it! That to me is shocking!

What if it were diabetes or heart disease or cancer? Would you not be appalled?

COPD is an incurable, progressive lung disease that contributes to other comorbidities such as lung cancer, osteoporosis, asthma, arthritis, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, dementia and more....

But if you are one of those people who has COPD and doesn't know it yet - time and ignorance are not on your side! Awareness is!

Once diagnosed you will find out that you do have a lot of choice about how your COPD goes. You can get medications, vaccinations, and natural treatments; you can learn hygiene, nutrition, and exercise methods that will help make your disease manageable or you can climb into your recliner until the day an ambulance picks you up and takes you to the hospital - not one, not two but several times a Year. You can play with your children and grandchildren - run, jump, skip, and have fun - or you can watch them play from a chair or a park bench with your Oxygen turned up to 5 liters.

Yes, I said children! Did you know that  in 2000, 3.9% of the U.S. population between the ages of 25–44 were living with COPD? Before I learned about COPD I thought of old people - surely not young adults! I thought of heavy smokers - but the truth is that one Sickerette can trigger COPD for life! I also thought that smoking is the cause - and generally speaking it is the most important cause but 15% of folks with COPD do not and have not smoked! Asthma, pollution, dust, poor air quality, and secondhand smoke are other significant risk factors. 

That's important to know! About 25% of people diagnosed with COPD are asthmatics who have experienced lung damage from their asthma before they got COPD.

Then there is a genetic cause for COPD. alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Only about 100,000 people in the United States have it, but it makes the lungs (and liver) incredibly sensitive to damage and can result in an under-30 diagnosis of COPD (even in otherwise healthy nonsmokers). Imagine if you are an unknowing smoker!

So today think about it. Do you have asthma and a history of smoking? Have you ever heard of or been tested for A1AT? And then I repeat, if you have smoked more than 100 Sickerettes in your lifetime please get a Spirometry Test! 

Knowledge is Power - Decision is the Ultimate Power!

If you smoke please quit! If you have Quit - protect your Quit as if your Life depends on it - because it does! Smoking Cessation is the only known treatment that will slow the progression of COPD!

World COPD Day - Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease - GOLD 

My Sincere Thank You to the Veterans among us who sacrificed and served our Country so valiantly! You truly are my heroes! I praise you even more highly for making the decision to Quit Smoking and to stand up for your Freedom from Addiction!

Sadly, in the United States, cigarette smoking is higher among people currently serving in the military than among the civilian population. Cigarette smoking is even higher among military service people who have been deployed.

According to the CDC:

  • In 2011, 24.0% of all active-duty military personnel reported currently smoking cigarettes, compared with 19.0% of civilians.
  • During 2007–2010, male veterans aged 25–64 years were more likely to be current smokers than nonveterans (29.0% versus 24.0%).

Burden of Tobacco Use in the U.S. | Data and Statistics | Campaign Resources | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC 



Although cigarette rations became illegal in the mid-70s, free cigarettes for soldiers and targeted promotions were still common as recently as the Gulf War.

It's no surprise that Veterans have more mental health issues such as PTSD and depression than the general population, given the experiences they have endured in combat. These mental health problems are linked to the high smoking rates among Veterans.

Research has been focused on Veterans with depression, but also has found that the Veterans who smoked had more severe depression than those who didn’t smoke, and they were also more likely to have PTSD. In addition, the Veterans who smoked also drank more heavily than those who don’t.

Due to the mental health issues faced by many Veterans, behavioral counseling is an especially valuable approach for Smoking Cessation for Veterans. This can not only help them quit smoking, but it can also help them acquire coping mechanisms for psychological, emotional or other issues related to PTSD and help them talk through other problems such as adjustment to civilian life upon return.


Veterans, you spent your lives protecting us, and now we need to protect and support you in your Quit Journey!

[Source: ]

"Those who switched to e-cigarette as an alternative to tobacco should be aware that it is equally harmful to their lung, a new research shows.

According to the study published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine the e-cigarette use causes a unique innate immune response in the Lung."

The ATS is the #1 authoritative no stake in the game resource for respiratory expertise!

"The study, considered to be the first to use human airway samples to explore the harmful effects of e-cigarettes found that e-cigarettes produced some of the same negative consequences as cigarettes."

“Our results suggest that e-cigarettes might be just as bad as cigarettes” says senior study author Mehmet Kesimer, associate professor of pathology at the University of North Carolina.

“Our data shows that e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung that is both similar and unique, which challenges the concept that switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative.” he has stated.

Mehmet Kesimer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and an investigator of the Cystic Fibrosis and Pulmonary Research Center. He leads Project II for the UNC Center for Tobacco Regulatory Science and Lung Health. One of Dr. Kesimer's main interests is to understand  how the mucosal barrier and its macromolecules function in airway defense in normal lungs, and how they compromise and contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic hypersecretory lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis, COPD and asthma.


This Professor is a world leader in lung health.


Nicotine FREEDOM is possible!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 20, 2017

This Blog isn't for anything I've actually documented - just an idea.

We know that body language helps us achieve our mindsets. One example is to pose as a SuperHero just before you go into an interview. We recently talked about body posture as a Step 1 in handling workplace bullies.

What would happen if you made a power gesture when you feel a crave? Make a fist and aim it into the sky! Widen your stance, hips tucked, spine stretched, chest out, shoulders back and down, smile on your face purposefully, and deep breaths! Body language resets mental thought processes. 

So if you can't get control of your thoughts, try to get ahold of your body head to foot! 

Be your own SuperHero!


You are stronger than your Addiction!


No Joke!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 19, 2017

I see so many people on here with COPD who have been told to Quit Smoking. 


It is breaking my heart that we can't seem to get through to you - smoking is not an option! If you haven't been diagnosed with COPD or with mild COPD don't for a minute think that you're safe and can keep smoking or "I'll quit in my own time!" 

The TIME is now!


Every one of us knows that it is a challenge but we also know that quitting never killed anybody and smoking definitely does! There's heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, cancer - every one of them exacerbated by smoking! All Killers!


I know I sound a bit desperate right now. That's because I have spent 6 of the last 21 days at my Doctor's office. I take some 15 meds a day (some more than once a day.) I'm struggling to work and support my Family. I got overtired going for a walk with my Granddaughter yesterday! I'm tired!


Do you think Quitting is hard? Living with Smoking related illness is much, much harder!


You have a choice - go through some discomfort from withdrawal, some big adjustments to lifestyle, some mental struggles NOW or go through all of that because you now know that you have a Smoking Related Illness.


The decision is yours! You can Quit Smoking for LIFE!

Why Bother?



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 18, 2017

As we enter different phases of our Lives our Priorities and Values change. 

Smoking no longer fits my Values in any way. Having Sickerettes is no longer a Priority. 

Here is my #1 Priority today:

Smoking fits nowhere in this Picture! As Jackie says:

Not in my hands, not on my lips, not in my mouth, not on my tongue, not in my lungs, not in my throat, not in my nose, not in my clothes. ....definitely nowhere near my Granddaughters!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 16, 2017

Yes, I've heard reprints are frowned upon but I just feel that this little piece needs to be taken out of storage, dusted off and put back on the mantel for  awhile:


To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If
you  leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever
increasing  unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires
effort. This is one of  the things that discipline - training -  is
about.         James Clavell, in  his novel "Shogun"


We often talk about Positive Mental Attitude and celebrate folks who demonstrate their positivity while some folks wonder how to get it and where it comes from, especially in their earliest days of the quit when what they feel is anxiety, exhaustion, loss, deprivation, frustration,etc. We all know those feelings. Occassionally somebody asks, "When will my feeelings change?"

Answer: 'Tuesday, the Tuesday that you DECIDE to let them change!" Our entire Society is based on the idea that Happiness is a Right (as in the Constitution) or Gift (They're So LUCKY! They're always Happy!)  The TRUTH is the Constitution calls for Responsibility - the PURSUIT of Happiness! You see, rights come with the responsibility to protect those rights not just for myself but for all my fellow citizens!

As for gifts - yes, that gift has been given from our Creator to each and every single one of us including YOU and ME! But did I open  my heart to receive that gift, or was I afraid I'd be too vulnerable? Many of us are scared of true Happiness, as ironic as that sounds. And it doesn't just come to us - it is a Discipline!

As James Clavell (a very awesome writer BTW) points out, it requires EFFORT! It requires you to put the brakes on that downward spiral of negativity where our minds often tend to go and replace it with LIFE AFFIRMING thought processes! That's where Affirmations come in! This isn't just feel good lefty hocus-pocus it is an entire Discipline that has been highly studied! It's called Neuro-Linguistics, how your brain actually changes when you put the brakes on negative thoughts and replace them with affirmations! Anybody can do this!

Have you seen poor people, sick people, people who are grieving, people who have suffered tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes or other disasters, unemployed, homeless, who are happy? I have! And we ask ourselves, "How can they be so HAPPY?!"

They're happy because they CHOSE to change their perspective and it didn't happen overnight - it happened one day at a time! DISCIPLINE!

The Good News is that YOU and I can do this too! Happiness can be learned! The Choice is OURS!


High Life!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 10, 2017

Disclosure: I do not smoke marijuana even though I live in Colorado and could smoke or buy edibles or whatever legally with no problem. But that's another story...


If you do choose to smoke marijuana you need to be aware of the danger you may be taking! "This common practice among the smokers is posing more health risks associated with the increased exposure of harmful carcinogens found in the tobacco products."

So in the interest on keeping our Community healthy - here it is:

Mixing Nicotine With Marijuana Is A Health Risk – MMJ REPORTER 

Folks, if you feel like you want marijuana in your life, please be informed!

Don't put anything in your lungs except fresh air and Doctor prescribed inhalants. "Safe forms include edibles, dabs, patches, oils, or tinctures, since they don’t require inhaling of smoke."

You only have one set of lungs and they have to last a lifetime!

Smoking related lung disease just isn't worth it!

[I would disagree with dabs since they too are inhaled. I was informed of this fact after I published.

Dabs are concentrated doses of cannabis that are made by extracting THC using a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide, resulting in sticky oils also commonly referred to as BHO. While it’s possible to extract non-psychoactive compounds like CBD, THC is what’s behind the potent effects of dabs, making them the fastest and most efficient way to get really, really high. ]


Smokers' Cough

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 5, 2017

We know about that! We hear it almost on a daily basis - at work - while shopping - maybe even at home.

But what is it, really? BRONCHITIS is usually caused by flu and goes within weeks, however if symptoms linger it could be Chronic Bronchitis - a key cause of deadly lung condition, COPD, among smokers.

It could be Chronic Bronchitis. 

If you just quit smoking you may have a cough that is caused by the lungs and bronchials cleaning out the tars that collected there over the years. That may be normal - but it may be a sign of Chronic Bronchitis. Chronic Bronchitis gives a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses to live in your upper respiratory system. Normally these germs are swept away from your lungs with hair-like cilia but smoking may have paralyzed those cilia and the germs pass right along to your lungs where you can get pneumonia, along with other respiratory infections which damage your lung tissue and cause Emphysema. 

That's what happened to me. I was diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis way back in the early 1990s. Nobody educated me about my condition, told me that it is incurable nor did they warn me to Quit Smoking! So I didn't! I took my medicine and didn't even bother my busy Physician until I got pneumonia twice in one year. That's when I quit smoking - for a Year! I thought I could cure myself of Chronic Bronchitis and go right back to my drug of choice - Nicotine! 

Along comes March 14, 2010 - Yes, it took that long! I woke up with a fever of 102! As the day progressed I learned that I had Emphysema! When you have Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema you have COPD! I quit smoking 6 days later for good!

When you quit smoking, even if you don't have a cough, but especially if you do, please quit with a Doctor's supervision. Tell them that you want a Spirometry Test to test your Lung Health! Tell them about your cough! 

Bronchitis symptoms: Cough could be lung infection that leads to COPD | Health | Life & Style | 

What is bronchitis? Symptoms of lung disease include persistent cough | Health | Life & Style | 

If you know that you have good Lung Health - Thank your lucky stars!

If you have a smokers' cough - get tested! Bug your Doctor!

If you find out you have Chronic Bronchitis and/or Emphysema come visit us at @COPD - you are not alone!

Breathe Easy! 



Thought Vomit!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 2, 2017

That's a pretty apt description of what happens to your Addicted Brain the second it gets the clue that you're deciding to Quit Smoking! Your Addicted Brain has one single goal - keep the Nicotine acomin' no matter what! You see, this Addiction convinces us that we have to have Nicotine to live - let alone happily. 

And being a part of you - your Brain knows all of the right things to say to convince you that it's right!

"You're nervous because you aren't smoking!"

"You're unhappy because you don't smoke!"

"You're mean and ugly because you decided to quit!"

"Your family hates seeing you miserable - have a cig! You'll feel better!"

"Your friends won't like you if you don't give in!"

It goes on and on! 

There is only one goal - have that next fix ASAP!

"C'mon - One won't hurt!"

"Nobody will know!"

"You have a right to smoke - darn it!"

Whatever! It's all a pack of Nico-Lies created by your own Brain because your Brain has been physically changed by Nicotine! 

But you can beat Addiction!

You can use a separate part of your Brain - the Executive Control! Yes, it was weakened by Nicotine Addiction but this part can't be hijacked - and that's your ticket out!

You make the absolute solemn decision that you will not smoke no matter what highly motivating thoughts, highly emotional feelings, what loaded facts of Life happen to you! I know that this Thought Vomit is highly compelling but you can decide to act for FREEDOM! That's Executive Control! I made a decision and I respect myself enough to honor this decision in spite of the whining, begging, pleading, convincing, arguing that your Brain decides to vomit on you!

Guess what? Just like a 2-Year-Old throwing a temper tantrum your Brain knows you! It catches on real quick that it just plain won't work! And just like a 2-Year-Old just like that it stops! Whew! 

Not that once in awhile it won't pull a fast try on you again, just to test the boundaries but when you are 100% steady in your Commitment the thought vomit stops! Your Brain is smart enough to know if that will work with you or not! Just wait till you have that first drink! Thought Vomit!

You have to become your own Parent to follow up on the 2-Year-Old metaphor! You have to lovingly set boundaries and say yeah, I know you're miserable for now but you can and will live without smoking! People do it every day! [Did you know that more people have quit smoking than are smoking - that even though only 6% of those who "try to quit" actually succeed?] Don't try to Quit - Just Do It!

The mental part of Addiction is 99% of the Quit Process! The physical part if you go Smart Turkey is over in 3 Days! 

This website is chock full of Great Advice that has led many, many people achieve what you came here to get - Smoke FREE Living!


Stop the Thought Vomit! You CAN do this!

[Every once in a blue moon my thoughts have a teeny tiny almost inaudible burb, Says "Excuse me" and gets back with the program!]

I thought I loved to smoke.

I learned to hate everything about smoking.

Now I feel absolutely nothing at all about it!

How would I feel something about a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in 7000 chemicals? It's just a thing. Nicotine is not for me but it does exist. So do Scorpions but I don't want to hug them - yet I don't hate them for being what they are!

I wouldn't be crazy about salesmen that could talk me into believing I need (can't be happy without)  scorpions, though! And I detest Big Tobacco for their lies at the expense of people's lives for the love of money!

It took Years of Recovery to come to this point. Our relationship with Nicotine, Tobacco, and Sickerettes evolves with our Qut Journey! Give it time!


What It's ALL About!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 26, 2017

I spent an absolutely perfect day with Miss Penny and Miss Tahlia! Believe it or not Tahlia is already 1 Month old! She weighs 11 lbs 5.6 oz. Now that's a Big Girl! Miss Penny is now 1 Year 9 Months and just such a Lady! I never thought anybody could possibly win my heart like Penelope but guess what - There's infinite room in my heart for both these little Angels!

The Best Feeling ever is that these little darlings will never ever smell Sickerettes on their Abuelo! Not in a Million Years! I quit smoking 7 Years ago long before my Son was married and honestly, Listen up newbies, you have to quit smoking for you! But your entire Family, even your Friends, and yes, hasta your acquaintances will benefit from your Quit!

How so? Simply because addiction blocks us from fulfilling our potential in a big way! Get all addiction behind you and I promise you that you will grow in leaps and bounds as an outstanding individual!


World Lung Day!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 25, 2017

On 25 September 2017, World Lung Day will be formally observed for the first time all over the world. To create awareness among people about the lung problem and its rapid growth, World Lung Day will be observed from this year on all over the world.

Today's topic is working together for better lung health, which stands on three pillars – education, exercise, and eradication of risk factors.

People need to be educated on the causes of lung disease. The age-old adage that sneezing and coughing spread diseases can be passed on to people. When it comes to exercise, children should be inspired to run and play in the fresh air instead of being glued to phones and computer games. The other is eradication of risk factors. For example, we can spread the idea how avoiding smoking can reduce the risk of lung complications.

21% people of the age over 40 suffer from COPD disease – one of the greatest causes of death around the world. It means that people at their productive age like 35 often get their respiratory system or particularly lungs damaged. Whatever treatment is provided at this stage, one cannot get back to his previous health. Developing complications at such a productive age impacts all aspects of his life and family. It can be prevented by avoiding smoking.

Men around the world are vulnerable to COPD in urbanities due to exposure to vehicle fumes, while women are prone to COPD in rural areas due to exposure to fuel woods and charcoal used even in enclosed spaces used for cooking, heat, and heated water.

Anti-smoking awareness should be raised. In case of Tuberculosis, we observe that it spreads greatly in over-populated areas and the places where sanitation has not been ensured.

We need clean air for healthy life. We need healthy lung. Unfortunately, lung disease constitutes one-third of all diseases. Occupational lung diseases are increasing. We are trying to create awareness among people in this regard. Substances such as asbestos, fiberglass insulation, coal dust, and silicone cause work related lung damage every day.

Our respiratory system, one of the most vital parts of our body, is open to air. You draw air in for Oxygen without even knowing what you are actually inhaling. This air contains many poisonous components like lead. All these are the result of air pollution. We smoke without knowing what we are spreading. Our children are becoming the worst victims of the air we let out in the process of smoking. 

Lung and health mostly depend on the environment. The reason behind so many children suffering from asthma is dust and smoke. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) disease is the third leading cause of death around the world. The number one cause of this disease is smoking. Almost 80% cases of the disease are caused by smoking. Rest 20% is the result of other environmental hazards. Once the pollution comes down to the minimal level, respiratory diseases will be minimum as well.

Forum for International Respiratory Society has prepared a memorandum on May 25, 2017, and all the major respiratory societies became its signatories. The focal point of this memorandum is 'United for Lung Health'. It implies that all the people from all spheres should be the beneficiaries of this initiative. Consisting of six articles in the memorandum, the main point of the article 1 is clean air and healthy lung. Another issue is ensuring smoke-free environment, for example, avoiding smoking and smoke-producing factors like burning woods. 

Article 2 focuses on recognition of challenges. Identifying preventable deaths, ensuring hospitalization, reducing physical and mental sufferings of patients and capacity building fall under the purview of this article. Cost-effective treatment is also a condition mentioned in this article. 

Article 3 mainly mentions preventable causes. HIV, the mystery yet to be solved by medical researchers, takes a toll on lungs. Pneumonia and other lung complications should be prevented in childhood. 

Article 4 dictates access to effective management. It is often observed that many people cannot get access to healthcare system due to high cost, transport problem and social stigma.

Article 5 focuses on high-quality researches. We need customized research programs to deal with lung complications in the country. 

Article 6 mainly promotes two slogans. No nation is spared from lung disease. No person, organization or country will conquer lung disease on its own. We are all connected by the air we share.

 Around 65 million people around the world are suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), of which around 3 million die every year. Ten million people get affected by Tuberculosis every year, of which around 1.5 million die every year. There are pneumonia and other lung diseases as well. Among others, those who are suffering from lung complications have air pollution to blame. 

What can I do? Live smoke free today - for yourself and those around you!

Celebrate your quit journey!

Thank your amazing lungs for the hard work they do for you every breath you take!

Promote politically for clean air and environment! Call your legislators and tell them that clean air is important to you!

Do one small thing today to make clean air free of cigarette smoke and pollutants a priority!


Please Pray!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 19, 2017

This is urgent! Please pray for the People effected by yet another earthquake in Mexico. This one was much closer to Mexico City in the State of Morelos. At least 43 people are known dead and this figure is expected to rise dramatically. Whole buildings in Mexico City have collapsed including to school buildings full of children! 

I'm terrified for my Friends and Family who live in Morelos, Estado de Mexico and Mexico City! Today is the anniversary of the devastating earthquake of 1985 that killed at least 5,000 people!