I'll try to keep this as succinct as possible because its a lengthy story.
Used to be a heavy heavy pot smoker & nicotine / thc vape smoker (not necessarily bought legally, either) from 16 - 22 y/o, 7/7 days/week. Have essentially stopped everything since February, with occasional periods of smoking joints a few months back.
I've had bronchitis multiple times in the past year (confirmed with x-rays), as well as a nodule on my lung (confirmed with CT scan after an appendectomy - went away after ~3 months, but worried ab COPD potentially causing appendicitis through inflammation).
I currently have / have had for the past YEAR (when not 'sick'): constant urge to clear throat (finishing round of meds for GERD - didn't help), constant mucus production (yellow in morning, clear throughout day - although very occasional has been brown), a wheezing sound when blowing out somewhat forcefully (not on normal shallow / medium breaths), and a feeling of 'fullness' in my neck/throat area, especially when looking down. I also was getting sick very very often in college.
And some things I have noticed recently (past 2 months) are: a chest 'popping' when I stretch my arms backwards (could be due to inflammation?), blood that I spit out (not cough) that seems to be coming from the side of my tongue (have seen people on here describe the same thing I'm experiencing), and once or twice have seen a small amount of red in stool (sorry for this detail - gross).
Writing this all out now, I don't know how / why I have not been diagnosed yet, given all these symptoms. My last pulmonologist visit said my vitals and spirometry were normal, but I have read that spirometry can be normal at the early stages of copd.
I have not been tested for Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, but will do so next pulmonologist appointment. I am just incredibly scared to get an official diagnosis.
Not exactly sure what my intentions were here, would just love some feedback on if these are all symptoms you guys/girls have experienced, how to best handle them, and what to do next. I am just very scared of being diagnosed at such a young age - I get that the general consensus here is that if you follow a healthy diet, exercise, and stop smoking you can live a long and healthy life, but it really just doesn't seem possible when you have the disease at 22 years old.
PS: I will feel like crap if I wind up not having the disease after complaining here to you all, but I really don't see a world in which I do not get a diagnosis in the next few years given my symptoms and how persistent they have been.