On November 11th 2019 a CT scan looking for lung cancer showed I had “severe emphysema”. My lazy doctor just had his nurse call me with this great news while I was out of state visiting my 86 year old mother. I’m afraid I reacted rather badly to this news. Although I am a very fit 66 year old, I immediately imagined myself with breathing troubles and had visions of death within months. The stress of this caused me to develop severe GERD, caused severe sleep disturbances, the loss of about 8 pounds from no appetite, and debilitating depression. This all affected Mrs. Troutnut too and I’m afraid my depression and anxiety was kind of contagious. A post made here on November 23 was pretty grim as well. For a couple on months I sat around waiting to die. I reluctantly kept my January appointment with a pulmonologist for a Pulmonary Function Test. He rated my emphysema as “moderate” or Stage 2 out of 4 stages. This seemed better than the “severe” that the CT scan had showed. But It still caused a lot of bad dreams and my imagination to run wild. My Nurse practitioner was the first to reassure me. She said she has practiced 17 years and she assured me I wouldn’t be checking out anytime soon. Then I set the track record in the 6 minute walk test at the hospital by going 600 meters (about .4 miles) with no dip in my oxygen level. Then I started researching and talking with friends that have COPD at my stage and higher, and they expect long and happy lives. Then I returned to my downhill skiing and I am happy to report I can ski longer and better than I ever did when I was young. I still work out with my weight trainer twice a week and she has noticed no change in my performance. I found a great youtube elder named derek cummings that educated me a lot about copd and what to expect. What a blessing he is. He has lived happily with COPD for over thirty years now. My research now indicates than many people with COPD live happy lives for decades and die with COPD instead of from it. I want to be one of those happy people.
Yes. I smoked to long and too much and I should have quit sooner. But the great news is I did quit. And I haven’t had to have a sickarette in almost 19 years (2/28/2001). And I expect to live a long time yet. I’m not going anywhere for a long time. I sincerely apologize to my dear mother, Mrs. Troutnut, and to ALL of you for my November pity party. I still don’t like having COPD. But a lot of people have been dealt a lot worse hands than I have been dealt. I should have been overjoyed to not have lung cancer or worse. I have replaced my worry with gratitude and I am feeling SO much better. Thank you all for being on this journey with me. If you haven’t yet quit, please do so. If you have, please stay quit.
Your friend in Montana