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Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Message Board


Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Board Index


Re: COPD test?
Mar 10, 2007
I had the pulmonary function tests (where you breathe hard repeatedly into this thingamajig). The first time I did horrible with it, as I could not stop coughing to do it (this was while I was hospitalized with so-called COPD). Of course, when I got out of the hospital, and returned as an outpatient for a follow up test, I passed it ok. However, the diagnosis of COPD, as well as the "chronic recurring allergic asthmatic bronchitis" diagnosis still stood. My doctor knew, however, that I had a "calcium deposit around a heart valve". He discovered that when I was about 20 or 21 years old. Neither of us thought anything of it, even after repeated treatments with the electric pulmoaide did nothing to help ease my breathing, and me having to be on antibiotics for months on end and not getting better. This was several years ago. I now mention this to someone who thinks they have ahstma (however it's spelled) for the first time. I tell them if the breathing treatment does not help, and you find yourself sucking on that blamed thing too often, to ask your doctor if you could possibly be tested for a leaky heart valve. I realize that is NOT the solution to everyone's breathing probs..asthma is real and is debilitating. Oh yes, I was a 40 yr smoker, but have not had one single puff since Oct. 15, 2002! I'm still craving it at times, but am proud of myself for being off this long..and as high as those dang things are now, no way I'll go back on them unless I'm told I have x amount of hours to live...then may as well.

Moving right along, in 2002 I was hospitalized with what I thought would be colitis but was diverticulitis. While in there, I suffered a heart attack. Then when I was transferred to another city for heart care, they discovered my mitral valve was leaking badly, leading to the gurgling, wheezing etc. that I was always doing..and always coughing. Then finally, they decided I probably never had any of that, except an occasional bout of bronchitis...instead they "think" I was going or trying to go into congestive heart failure. (one of my best friends in high school was just like me...and she'd sit breathing thru a wet washrag to try to calm hers down...she died a few years ago...she'd had a heart attack, and had to have her valve replaced...then after a few years she died...again, I wonder about how well we can rely on so-called diagnosis? It also makes me wonder how long I have as I've now got another element added to the mix.)

Had the open heart (triple bypass and mitral valve replacement) in Oct. 2002. After that, it became difficult to take a deep breath, no matter what...unless I yawned! I figured the soreness etc. was from having had my chest cracked open and my sternum and rib cages removed and then wired back together (and did have numbness all thru the chest area for a long time after). I also had to have 4 stents put in 6 months after the open heart...and during that procedure I was bleeding internally afterwards. Caused some really freaky, bad pain for awhile until they got it stopped.

Moving right along to this year. I had asked my heart doctor if the shortness of breath was from still having blockages and she assured me no it wasn't...and ordered me to see a pulmonologist (spelling?). I saw him on Thursday. He looked at the nuclear stress test results I'd had done at that hospital (the one where I had the heart surgeries). He gave me a read out on it and it said nothing wrong with lungs, but small lung capacity, and elevated left diaphragm. He then said he seriously thinks it is paralyzed, but that I am definitely not dealing with anything really bad like cancer. In fact he seems to think my lungs are in good shape for the most part. I go I think next week for the pulmonary function tests and the blood gasses test and the sniff test..whatever that last one is. Oh, and I forgot to mention, that in Feb. of 2006 I had to have a total hysterectomy due to a "cyst" that turned out to be a benign tumor of some sort (yes, I'm a mess). After that surgery, she (the doctor) was very upset/concerned about upper bowel sounds not returning, even tho lower ones have. She admitted she had to cut into some of the nerves to remove everything from the abdomen or whatever. The shortness of breath HAS been worse since then, too.

Anyway, I've become rather chatty here, so to sum it all up, I really think 1. I was done more harm than good by being diagnosed as being asthmatic when I wasn't, 2. Done more harm than good to a certain extent, during at least ONE of my heart procedures/surgeries (I really think it's the first one, but the 2nd one could have been the culprit also). Then perhaps done even MORE harm by the obgyn who did the hysterectomy. I've a funny feeling it will turn out to be the fault of all the surgeries. Meantime, yes, I'm grateful I'm not dealing with cancer etc. However, I'm scared as to what life is going to be like with a paralyzed diaphragm. I always thought a human body contained ONE diaphragm, but he said the left diaphragm was paralyzed. Can anyone clear that part up for me? And does anyone know if this condition could possibly get worse? Is it life threatening?





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