Quitting smoking, a fight against COPD
Published 8 Nov 2018 • By Louise Bollecker
Living with emphysema and severe stage 4 COPD, Carenity France member ledalle managed to quit smoking 6 years ago, without relapsing, even though he had been smoking since he was 16.
He has agreed to share his journey to quit smoking, thanks to nicotine patches, mental support and a good dose of willpower!
Discover his story below!
Hello ledalle, thank you for agreeing to share your story with us on Carenity!
First of all, how did you find out you had COPD? How much did you smoke?
After repeated bouts of bronchitis, I was diagnosed with stage 2 COPD. When I started smoking I was 16 years old; when I was diagnosed I was 54 years old and I was at one pack of 20 cigarettes a day.
[Smoking is the cause of 90% of COPD cases]
Photo courtesy of ledalle
Did your doctor advise you to stop smoking when you were diagnosed? What kind of care did you receive?
A lung specialist advised me to stop and had me follow up with my GP. The decision to quit was not immediate for me, because I did'nt take it very seriously... But I was still worried by the pulmonologist's warnings. So I spoke to my doctor, who helped me to start trying to stop smoking.
How did you go about quitting smoking?
I started with nicotine patches, for a 6-month programme with follow-up and advice from my GP. At the end of my treatment with the patches, I was still smoking 4 cigarettes a day, so I went to see my pulmonologist again, all pleased with myself... Only, after the diagnosis, he told me that I should not smoke even a single cigarette ever again because my COPD was at stage 4 severe and that there was no other solution to stabilise the disease, which was now very severe.
So I opted for the e-cigarette, with zero nicotine. The advantage is that the taste isn't great so you don't become as addicted. No more ashtrays, lighters or cigarettes at home. The taste being unpleasant and having nothing else, I vaped less and less and I avoided smoking areas. I started cycling. My GP gave me some painkillers to help me and I only had the bike to let off steam in the wild.
Have your friends and family been supportive of you along your journey?
At home, no one smokes and everyone has encouraged me. It has been great to help me. I also told my work colleagues that I was quitting smoking and not to tempt me. I refused coffee breaks with smokers.
What was the hardest part of quitting smoking? Did you face any obstacles?
The hardest thing was holding out for the first 6 days, so I kept myself busy with different things. It started to get easier after 1 week of staying on my guard. After stopping the electronic cigarette, I had nothing left, and then I felt stressed. My GP helped me with some remedies to stay calm.
Have you gained weight after quitting smoking? Many patients are worried about this.
I didn't gain a kilo! I must say that I substituted my smoking with cycling.
How long has it been since you quit smoking? How do you feel physically and mentally?
It will be 6 years on 23 November since I stopped smoking. That's right, I remember the exact day I didn't pick up a cigarette! Today, I am truly living again! Even though I still have COPD (which has really improved since quitting smoking), I can smell perfumes again, I have rediscovered my taste because I no longer had a palate with tobacco, I appreciate all the good smells that I had forgotten... On the other hand, cirgarette smoke now bothers me and I can no longer stand a person who has tobacco breath!
What advice would you give other members who would like to quit smoking?
To stop smoking, you must first of all truly, deeply want to quit. Then it's important to have mental and moral support from friends and family. Above all, you have to look at the advantages and disadvantages of quitting because... there's no contest!
Many thanks to ledalle for sharing his story with us on Carenity!
Was this testimonial helpful to you? Have you tried quitting smoking yourself? What kinds of obstacles have you faced?
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