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Bunny's Story

Bunny has been a long time advocate for COPD, paving the way for many to  follow. From talking in schools about smoking to traveling to Washington DC to lobby about COPD issues, she has been an active voice for us. In a note to me, she closed with a statement that best reflects her outlook: "I'll do anything I can to help the cause of people with lung disease!"

I was moving right along in life, just as I had before. Having my sickarettes next to me when I fell asleep, so they'd be there upon my awakening. I was working as a real estate rental agent in New York City. Sometimes walking up and down six flights of stairs with no problem. On the subway going to work one morning I began to see large, white spots and my ears were ringing. I felt light headed but I slowly made it to my office.

I laid down on the carpet in my boss's office, hoping it would go away. But when it didn't they drove me to the hospital. While in the ER they gave me some kind of smoking pipe to breathe through. Then when I felt better they released me. But on the way out I was told I had COPD. I said thank you and couldn't wait to get outside to have a sickarette. A few weeks later it happened again and I had the same response. I had no idea what COPD was, even though they said it meant Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. I still had no clue! What a dummy.

The third time was the charm. This time they admitted me to the hospital, where I spent 8 days on oxygen and getting breathing treatments. Of course they had to give me nicotine patches because I was panicking without a sickarette. That is when this disease was explained to me. All they had to say was "emphysema" and I knew. It took 4 months' of nicotine patches to quit smoking altogether. And a year later I was put on oxygen 24/7. I was very weak because I still couldn't breathe. I was sent to pulmonary rehab to get some of my strength back. I heard about lung volume reduction surgery and switched hospitals so I could see if I qualified for it. I am happy to say I was a good candidate.

So on March 3, 2004, I was scheduled for my LVRS. The hospital was only 20 blocks from my apartment and I had to be there at 6:30 a.m. I remember getting a gown on, getting a shot, and walking into the OR, where I sat on a table. They said they were putting a needle in my back for pain . . . and that's all I remember. I was in ICU for 6 days because I guess I didn't want to wake up. But that's fine with me because I didn't have to deal with the breathing problems after surgery. I stayed in the hospital for 10 more days. Unfortunately I happened to be one of those people whose lungs were so bad she never got off oxygen. But it sure gave me a much better quality of life.

It is now 2011 and I just passed the 7th anniversary of my surgery. I still attend pulmonary rehab twice a week on a maintenance program. And I think I'm still doing quite well because of it. I was given another chance at life and thank God all the time for still being alive and mobile. Today the smell of tobacco nauseates me. I try to show people what they're headed for when they continue to smoke. Most of the time it falls on deaf ears. But there have been times that I've gotten through, and that makes me very glad.

Bunny Music
March 22, 2011
Today I am 67 years old. Quit smoking while you're ahead.

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