Bill Sheppard
This Is My Story

My name is Bill Sheppard I try to help people to quit smoking by sending them information on how smoking causes lung disease, and what that disease does to your quality of life. This is my new goal in life, to help people quit smoking and also to prevent them from ever starting in the first place.

I smoked for 30 years about two packs a day on the average. Then one evening back in 1990, I was having trouble breathing. I went to bed and it just got worse, I couldn't sleep most of the night I was gasping for breath. The next day I went to my Doctor, and he put me into the hospital in the intensive care unit. My Doctor thought that I had a heart attack so they preformed many tests on me.

The tests showed that my heart was fine, no heart attack. Then they did a pulmonary function test and found out that my lungs were causing my shortness of breath, not my heart. They put me on Oxygen and kept me in the hospital for two days. When I was released from the hospital I really felt pretty good.

I saw my Doctor again that week and he told me the results of the test. He said that my lung function and my lung volume were at 68% of what it should be, and that I had possible COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). He told me to quit smoking immediately, which I did not do. I really felt good so I thought that his diagnosis must be wrong, so I continued smoking like a fool.

Then as I was going along at work one day , I started having trouble breathing again, this was five years later in 1995.I went back to my
Doctor and he referred me to a Pulmonologist for a pulmonary function test. My lung function went down to 38% that means that I lost 30
percent of my lung function in just 5 years. Needless to say, I was devastated by the results of this test. That meant that I lost 6% of my
lung function each year. My Doctor told me I had Moderate COPD-Emphysema and if I continued to smoke I would be dead in less than a year.

That finally did it for me, I quit smoking immediately, I wanted to live to see my grand kids grow up. I was put on 4 different types of inhalers and 3 types of pills, just to enable me to breathe better. I did fine up until December of 2000 when I was rushed to the hospital for not being able to breath, I had lower lobe pneumonia. I found out that having COPD weakens your immune system and the condition of your lungs. This enables even the slightest cold to turn into pneumonia. I stayed in the hospital 4 days and was released.

In the following February of 2001 I was taken to the hospital by ambulance, I had double pneumonia this time. Only 2 months before, I was here for pneumonia. This was very hard for me to recover from; I stayed in the hospital for 8 days and was sent home on Oxygen. I had to be hooked up to the Oxygen 24 hours a day for over 2 months. I finally recovered enough so that now I only need the Oxygen while sleeping and when walking around a lot, if I'm just sitting around I don't need it.

My lung function now is 28% that means in 10 years I have lost only 10% of my lung volume, that's only about 1% per year compared to 6 percent per year if I was still smoking. I feel pretty good considering what I have wrong with me. My Doctor wants me to go to New York City to have a lung transplant; I told him that I wasn't ready for that yet. I forgot to tell you that there is no cure for COPD or Emphysema, but I think you already know that.

I hope that reading my story helps you to decide to quit smoking now, don't wait like I did. The next time you see your doctor ask him to send you for a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT), this will tell you if there is any damage to your lungs from smoking. Please quit smoking, it's no fun at all living with Emphysema.


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