"I've been smoking ever since I was a teenager. That's 40-something years ago. I never really thought about what could happen to this old body if I kept lighting up. I just knew that I loved to smoke.
"Then I started to notice that it was getting harder and harder to do simple things like walk to my mailbox. One time my chest was so heavy that I lay down on the sidewalk until I could catch my breath. The neighbors must have thought I'd been run over. I kind of felt like I had been. I don't ever want to feel like that again. Then there was the coughing. I could barely get through a conversation without coughing.
"Finally I went to the doctor, and he told me that I had COPD. He said I really had to quit smoking.
"I wasn't sure I could. To be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to, and that's what I told him. He said my breathing would get a whole lot harder if I didn't quit, and that one day, I might have to be on oxygen and be laid up in bed. That scared me enough that I decided to give quitting a try.
"I tried to quit cold turkey, but after just a few days I could tell that it wasn't going to work. I knew it would be hard, because my best friend smokes, and we spend a lot of time together. He wasn't ready to quit, so seeing him light up made it really hard for me to say 'no.'
"I realized that I needed to try something else. So I tried the patch, and that made a big difference. It took almost 5 months, but I was finally able to quit, and I felt like it was for good. I can feel a difference in my breathing. And I feel hopeful that quitting will give me a few more years on my feet.
"My son has also been a huge help. He quit smoking almost 10 years ago. When I want a cigarette, I will sometimes give him a call. He helps me remember why I quit in the first place. He reminds me that I never want to feel 'run over' again. This time I plan to stay on my feet."
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with this condition.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKen Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine
Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Group Universal Life (GUL) insurance plans are insured by CGLIC. Life (other than GUL), accident, critical illness, hospital indemnity, and disability plans are insured or administered by Life Insurance Company of North America, except in NY, where insured plans are offered by Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York (New York, NY). All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.
Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details