‘I was crying because I was in so much pain. I was so scared,’ – Amanda Stelzer
Vaping addict Amanda Stelzer, was left fighting for her life with deadly lung condition after smoking entire e-liquid cartridge daily for seven years
This was the equivalent of smoking fifty cigarettes per day
Stelzer, 34, from Delaware, Ohio, suffered a severe lung condition because of her vaping
Acute respiratory distress syndrome, aka ‘Wet lung,’ occurs when fluid starts to build up in the elastic air sacs of the lungs
Patient’s lungs become so damaged they fail to provide the rest of the body with enough oxygen.
Though recovered, Stelzer now sufferers from post-traumatic stress disorder, [PTSD], due to this experience
She also incurred huge debts during the course of the illness
Amanda Stelzer, a 34-year-old cashier from Delaware, Ohio, started vaping in 2015 after seeing many of her friends doing so and thinking it would be fun. At the peak of usage she found herself going through around eight cartridges of vape fluid each week, the equivalent of 50 cigarettes a day.
Some years later the consequences meant she had to be hooked up to life support devices
In October 2019, she went to urgent care after suffering from breathing problems. Doctors could not figure out what was wrong and sent her to a local hospital. Within the next 24 hours she was on life support.
Chest scans revealed she was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome – a deadly condition that occurs when a person’s lungs become so damaged they fail to provide the rest of the body with enough oxygen seemingly reinforcing some studies which have suggested that Vape users suffer more inflammation of the lungs than people who smoke regular cigarettes.
Stelzer said: ‘I was crying because I was in so much pain. I was so scared.
‘The last thing I remember is someone handing me a form and basically saying I needed to sign this if I wanted to live – that was the consent form to be put on life support.’
She was on life support for about eight days, with doctors warning her family she may remain that way for at least three months.
Despite her severe illness, doctors could not figure out what was wrong with Stelzer. Incidentally, it was not until her mother asked a nurse if this could have anything to do with her vaping that the medical team was prompted to scan her chest.
Medical staff then confirmed that her diagnosis directly resulted from her vaping.
Discharged after two more weeks in the hospital, she still could not work, see friends and family or be around people using cigarettes and vaping for another six months while her lungs healed.
The condition, also known as wet lung, occurs when fluid starts to build up in the elastic air sacs of the lungs. Because of the fluid, air can not fill the lungs, meaning less oxygen gets distributed across the body.
As a result, the body’s organs do not get the vital oxygen they need to function, leading to organ failure or even death.
She was recommended to use nicotine lozenges as her body was still healing and suffering from nicotine withdrawal.
She suffered substantial financial losses and mental health issues after her time in the hospital.
‘I was lucky that owned my car at the time and my insurance covered my treatment, but I still got into a lot of debt,’ Stelzer said..
‘It was depressing. I was happy to be alive but I was sad that I couldn’t work and I couldn’t be around family and friends without a mask.
‘It was awkward having to disinfect everything and ask people not to vape or smoke around me anymore.
‘I even lost two friends because they refused to quit.’
Stelzer who now sufferers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to this experience, added that the current state of her health is ‘amazing’ – in the best position she has ever been – thanks to many supportive friends and family.
Ms Stelzer nearly died from her complications but eventually did recover. She is now to stay away from people who use vapes or cigarettes as even the second-hand smoke can be dangerous. She says that she now suffers from PTSD and has sworn off ever using a vape in her future.
She has vowed never to touch a vape again and hopes that her experience will be the wake-up call someone else needs.
Amanda said: ‘It seems harmless until it isn’t. You never know what can happen – I thought it was no big deal when I started.
‘It is dangerous and I don’t want someone else to go through what I went through.
‘People might not want to see it or hear it but if it helps just one person stop, I’ll be happy.’