TL;DR I’m convinced that I have COPD and I don’t want to keep living like this at the expense of my loved ones.
So I am absolutely convinced that I have chronic Bronchitis, even though I’m only 18. I should also mention that I am a male. Skip the next 2 paragraphs if you don’t want to know why I think think this.
My dad, a chronic smoker, died right about a month (september 2017) after I turned 16. I lived with him from 2008-to 2011. During that time, I was constantly exposed to second hand smoke. Although he wasn’t exactly the best parent, his passing still left me depressed. I started smoking marijuana in November of that year. At that point it was only every once in a while. Once every two weeks. Then at the end of January 2018, my mom wasn’t home as much so I started smoking more and using a different method. It became more like 5 days out of the week and I was using aluminum foil to function as a bowl since I didn’t have access to a pipe or any rolling papers. That lasted from until the end of June of 2018. Then I got a pipe used that exclusively until January of 2019. From then until early March, I used a distillate cartridge. In mid March I thought that I had lung cancer and quit marijuana completely. In late April, I got bronchitis. It took about a week but it went down to just the occasional cough with phlegm. However, it hasn’t gone away since.
In late May, I went to Disneyland with my friends and walked around all day with no issues whatsoever. Then in late June I walked about a mile and got this strange feeling in my chest. I could breathe, but it just felt really weird. Discomfort is the best way that I can describe it. There was also slight back pain when I breathed in deeply. After about a week that went away. Then I took a campus tour at my future university 6 days ago and I got that feeling again. I still haven’t gone back to normal. However, I’ve noticed that if I cough up the phlegm that’s lodged deep within my chest, I’ll feel better. I should note that I don’t get easily winded and I can still walk a mile without getting any more tired than I’d get before all of this suddenly started happening. Most of not all of these point to COPD or more specifically chronic Bronchitis which means that I’ll be living like this for the rest of my life and it will only get worse. Instead of just constantly coughing up phlegm and occasionally getting chest and back discomfort, I’ll eventually be reduced to a shell of a man who needs to be hooked up to an oxygen machine 24/7.
I move into my college dorm tomorrow and I’m absolutely horrified. I’m 2+ hours away from my mom and I don’t have a car and can’t drive. My doctor is also the same distance away and since my mom can’t afford to miss work and drive me to the doctor all the time, I won’t be able to get diagnosed any time soon. In the meantime, however, I will be doing 23&me using my left over FAFSA money to see if I have Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (it causes COPD at a much earlier age than normal). I can walk places but my legs get way more tired than they used to and my chest hurts sometimes.
I feel like telling my mom about it would only make things worse. I’m already seeing a doctor for another, totally unrelated issue that I go to a bunch of appointments for already and I don’t want to add on to that with this issue. On top of college, getting a diagnosis and treatment for this would absolutely destroy my mom’s bank account. I can also kiss my dreams of becoming a nurse goodbye since I’ll most likely be wheelchair bound by the time I’m out of college if I’m lucky. I honestly, truly see no point in going on for much longer. I’ve been trying to convince myself that it’s just allergies but the signs and symptoms are too obvious for me to keep ignoring. Probably due to my marijuana abuse I also have anxiety now (hypochondria, specifically). College will probably be a waste of time. All of this will have been a waste of time. Nothingness is far preferable to living like this.