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Meet Geri

Geri, age 58, started smoking around the age of 20. Most everyone she knew smoked, so she didn’t think it was a big deal. She smoked about a pack of menthol cigarettes a day for 35 years.

When Geri started having trouble catching her breath, she went to her doctor for a check-up. She was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) at age 44.

Geri worked as a mail carrier in Michigan – a fast-paced and physically demanding job. As her COPD got worse, Geri would get winded after walking just a few steps. At age 54, Geri had to quit the job she loved in order to take care of her health. She successfully quit smoking soon after in 2015.

Living with COPD left Geri with less and less energy for the activities she loved, like cooking holiday meals for her family or running after her grandchildren at the park. Through supplemental oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation, Geri regained some of her strength. She hopes that one day she’ll be accepted for a lung transplant.

Geri hopes her experience can be a lesson for others who smoke or are struggling to quit. “If I can help even one person to quit, then I’ve turned my curse into a blessing,” Geri said.

Source: CDC.GOV

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