"When I was a teenager, smoking was glamorous. People would tell you it was bad for you, but never why it was bad. Even so, we smoked.

"Now, I know why smoking is bad and wish I had never smoked. Maybe I wouldn't have Emphysema.

"My father smoked right up to the day he died from Emphysema at age 58, some 41 years ago. I was a fool to continue smoking after that, but I did.

"I'm 79 and quit smoking a pack a day 15-16 years ago. I tried to stop several times, using the patch or going cold turkey. Then, one winter we had a bad snowstorm and lost electricity, it was a really bad time. For some reason, I never bought another cigarette."

My diagnosis

"I couldn't catch my breath."

One day, I was on my way to see Dr. Russell Campbell at Riverside Peninsula Vascular Surgery for a check on my carotid arteries. Instead, my husband Belton took me to the Riverside ER because I was feeling so badly and couldn't breathe right.

They quickly got me a room and kept me for eight days at Riverside hospital. I was on oxygen and a lot of medication. 

My experience with Riverside

"Always good to me."

I've had Emphysema for several years, and have been in the hospital with it before.  Riverside always gets me feeling better. Everyone there takes good care of me.

I like Dr. Todd Duggan, my Riverside pulmonologist, he's done everything he knows to help me.

Living with chronic pulmonary disease

"I keep trying to put one foot in front of the other."

My husband quit smoking 45 years ago, and he's been on my back all the time. I should have listened to him, but I didn't.

I need oxygen at night when I sleep, but not too often during the day. I have a small portable tank I take with me when we go out to eat or shopping at the mall. At the mall, I have to sit down often, because I get winded walking.

I have one daughter, 58, who has never smoked, and a daughter, 50, who still smokes. My son, 56, quit 25 years ago, when his first child was born – he didn't want to smoke around the baby.

If you smoke, stop it. If you don't smoke, don't ever start. It's no fun living with chronic pulmonary disease.