Saturday, May 17, 2014

Before the MDS ... COPD

Late in 2010 I went to the doctor for one of my routine sinus congestion, drainage yuk sicknesses. This time they did a chest x-ray that didn't look good so Dr. Headley scheduled me to have a CT scan of my upper body. The procedure was done a few days later at a rather new Baptist imaging clinic located in Madison, MS. They sent the results back to Dr. Headley who called me in for a consultation the next day after the scan. He called it COPD with acute emphysema.  I wasn't totally surprised by his diagnosis but I was relieved it wasn't Lung Cancer.
Since I was a life long smoker from one to two packs of cigarettes per day I had no one to blame but my self. However, in my later life it was proved that the evil tobacco companies played a much larger role in my and millions more people's addiction to nicotine.  So around 14 years of age when the "Marlboro Man" seemed so cool, little did I realize that the Phillips Tobacco Company was putting ingredients into its cigarettes that made the prospects of my becoming addicted far greater than was thought by most at the time. Later I dropped the heavy Marlboro Reds for the lower in tar and nicotine brand of "Marlboro Lights". Once again, their false advertising was proved when it was discovered these were just as addictive as the heavier brands. All this is to say it made quitting smoking for those of us so addicted to nicotine almost impossible.
With this diagnosis, and discovering there really is no cure for my illness, I could have proceeded in one of two directions. Being so addicted to nicotine, I could have continued on smoking and just let this overcome me.  That was the easier way because I had to do nothing but get worse and worse over time, eventually leading to terrible treatments that do nothing more than waste too much money on medical care. Additionally, my family would suffer far more than me trying to care for me.
The other, more obvious choice was to quite smoking once and for all and to try and live a healthier, tobacco free lifestyle.  Easier said than done!  If you have never been addicted to a drug or substance that controls your life I'm happy for you. But I also know that you can't get someone to give up their addiction by just telling them they ought to stop, especially if you don't really understand. It is just not that simple.
In exploring my options I was told of a new clinic that was dedicated solely to getting people to quit smoking.  It is a free clinic funded by some of the grant funds make available after some of the big tobacco companies lost their law suites. Our clinic called ACT Center for Tobacco Treatment,
Education and Research is located in the old Jackson Mall that now houses numerous medical clinics provided by the University of Mississippi Medical Center. They were a God send for me. Along with the medication they prescribed "Chantix" I was able to quit smoking in less than three months.
While I was going through their tobacco cessation program I also started regular exercising. Walking became my outlet and it grew to become one of my favorite activities. It wasn't too long after this that I started feeling and looking much better.  The hold that cigarettes had over me was broken and I was so much better off than before.