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FINALLY got a new Dr. that asked if the Respiratory Specialist could take over my appointment! YAY! Susan Collazzo talked to me about everything, ran some tests and told me I may have asthma, but I have a bigger problem. COPD, my lungs were very ill and I needed a different medication. My lung function at that time was charted at 40%. She talked to me about the disease, and asked me many questions about my habits... Where did I work in the past, what environmental exposures could have caused such damage to my lungs? 

Sure, I smoked. I smoked for many years, about a half a pack a day. Occasionally, I smoke a little more than that, and never smoked anything weird. Honestly, I smoked marijuana very rarely... Maybe one hit every year or two? Seriously, not my thing. And, I never smoked anything else. No, I am not saying that smoking did not contribute to my illness... But, it is not the major cause. It is an aggravator. And, has caused less damage than me being sick with pneumonia for nearly a year without medical intervention caused.

I have worked in a few places that I would consider "dirty". One was a packaging plant and the air was THICK with oil. They called it tarp(?), and it was "boiled" in big vats in the back room. There was zero air purification, no air conditioning, and only a few windows opened. I remember coming home from work and taking a shower right away because I felt so gross. The water would run off of me so dark, and I had to shampoo twice to get all the gunk out. My ears and nose needed cleaned out too. The black gunk on the Q-tips, disgusting. But, I had to work. This was only a temp job. I worked there for 2 months. 

In recent years, my allergies have gone through the roof. Everything was more severe than in previous years. I was working in a pet store in 2008 and was really sick all that year. It always started with a cough, then phlegm, then full blown pneumonia. Every 2 months, and it would take 2 months to recover, just to get it again. This went on for a YEAR before I went to the Dr. or an ER. I left one night, a little early and went to the ER. I was admitted and stayed for 4 days. It has become a yearly occurrence. My ignorance for putting my job before my health. And, that is most likely why my lungs have so much damage to them.   

She told me I had the lungs of an 80 year old coal miner, and that getting sick with a respiratory infection just one time could be the last time. She told me I should go to pulmonary rehab, quit smoking and lose weight. So, I struggled with quitting for a long time. I thought medication would help, so I tried Chantix... 


(There are receptors for nicotine in your brain. When you smoke, the nicotine you inhale attaches to these receptors. This sends a message to a different part of your brain to release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine gives you a feeling of pleasure. But it does not last long. That's why your body craves more nicotine. This can become a vicious cycle.

CHANTIX is different from most other quit-smoking products. It targets nicotine receptors in the brain, attaches to them, and blocks nicotine from reaching them. By activating these nicotine receptors, it is also believed that CHANTIX causes less dopamine – compared to nicotine – to be released.)
It did not work for me. All it did do for me was make my McDonalds Sweet Tea taste really gross. So, I asked for the nicotine patches. Denied! Over and over, denied. What am I going to do? The cigarettes are stronger than they were years ago when I quit! Now, the addiction to cigarettes is being compared to a heroin addiction. So at this point I am really upset and worried about my being able to quit. Because I am HOOKED.
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