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Ned's Story: Quitting Smoking - Ned's story

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"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.

If you need more information, see the topics:

  • COPD.
  • Quitting Smoking.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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