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Readers Respond: What is the Most Frightening Aspect of COPD?

Responses: 99


Updated May 01, 2014

Fear of Watching My Loved One Struggle

I am caregiver for husband of 57 yrs, with advanced COPD. I fear losing him, but fear watching him struggle and suffer even more. He is on 02 24/7, Spiriva, Symbicort, lots of meds. nebulizer Albuterol. VA patient; has received good care from VA. No relatives close by and 100 miles to VA, so it's getting difficult. I think he's ready for Hospice care, as the doctors don't seem to do anything for him anymore. This is so hard to see and listen to! I sympathize with you other caregivers out there.
—Guest Doris Williams

Fear of Panic Attacks

I am very frightened, panic attacks. Just learning about my COPD. I was diagnosed in 2011. I am 68 so have had a good life. I'm taking antibiotics for one of the many chest Infections I have had. I don't sleep because I'm so frightened. Good luck to you all. Sending lots of love, God Bless. Ann.
—Guest guest Ann

The Threat of Wearing Oxygen 24/7

I have Emphysema and was first diagnosed when I had a broken back. At first I thought that it was the pain that was causing me to have shortness of breath. I went to Urgent Care for inhaler medication. I knew that I had to quit smoking after 43 years. Needless to say it was a struggle but I did quit smoking. My doctor scared me by saying that if I didn't quit now that soon I would have to wear oxygen 24/7. I don't want to have a restricted life style. I am breathing much better now and not getting so winded just walking around the house and talking to people. I am still worried about my COPD getting worse. I am so thankful that I quit in time and my quality of life was just mildly changed. Emphysema never gets better. Once you get it, you have it for life.

The Emotional Toll

I am 67. My husband is in denial and it's very painful that he doesn't understand the illness. I am scared to die of this awful illness. Unfortunately, I can't talk to him -- he thinks I should do as he says (ie; don't use my oxygen as much or as high. He is also very argumentative which leaves me breathless when I argue back. I don't want my children or grandchildren to see me die of this illness. What can I do?
—Guest ana lascala

Scared About Mother-in-Law

My mother-in-law has COPD, I moved her to an assisted living home near us after a hospital/rehab stay. We were scared after she told us she was not going to take anymore lasix; that she would die before she took anymore. Little to say she is now on Zoloft to help her cope with all this. I have been reading on the stages but I am not sure what stage she is. She is on oxygen not able to take the inhalers and has been in the hospital twice in two weeks. She has told me she is ready -- I don't know if I am. She is not just my mother-in-law, she is my friend. I pray the Lord gives me the strength to help her through this.
—Guest Rebecca

Not Getting Enough Oxygen

I too was a smoker for over 40 years, just been diagnosed with COPD, emphysema, and asthma. Had first bad asthma attack last friday. Been in hospital a week, still having trouble breathing but am better. Just worried about what this is going to do to my husband, kids, grandkids -- not ready to die. Can't imagine smothering -- very scary. Only have myself to blame, just did not think it would happen to me. Famous last words. I'm not afraid to die, I just am not ready.
—Guest Melody Harbour

My Mom Living So Far Away

My mom has COPD and lives 800 miles away, alone. She can't talk on the phone and breathe at the same time and there is nothing we can do. She won't leave her home to be with the rest of the family and we feel so helpless. So I am scared for her and now for me...I quit smoking over 20 years ago but from the reading I've done it may not matter. I may be in the same position one day.
—Guest Cindi

To Die Without My Children's Forgiveness

I have 5 children -- 2 that treat me like their mother the other 3 do not speak to me. All I want before I die is their love and forgiveness for whatever I did. I want them to know that I love them and I am proud of them I also have 10 grandchildren and have 1 great grand daughter that I am not allowed to see, and five grandchildren that I can not see. I have forgiven them and I know God loves them I pray and cry because I know I do not have much time left. I am in the 4th stage of COPD and I am not afraid to die. I know God is preparing a home for me in heaven and it is going to be awesome.
—Guest old66

That End Stage Feels Like Death Sentence

I flew to Granada from UK in October then flew to Spain and back on Saturday. I now find it too hard to breath with lots of sputum -- on every pill. It seems I just lie in bed as anything else too much. I cry and cry just reading about "the end stage." Didn't know it was a death sentence.
—Guest Livvy

Getting Middle of the Night Phone Calls

Worse of this hell is getting middle of the night phone call from my 73 yr old mother, partially crying, gasping, being scared to death she'll die. She's going to, when I'm not sure. She's in hospital now, lost ability to walk, and can barely eat, or drink fluids, due to food and fluid pushing up on her diaphragm causing more difficulty breathing. I guess the very worse part of this, for me, is the horrid guilt that comes with wishing she would just go, and not have to endure the constant fear, pain, and knowledge of her future. Worse thing I've ever seen, leaves me numb... but not numb enough. Have taken her to so many doctors, tried everything, but end result still looming over her.
—Guest Donna

Fear Itself

Accidentally looked up COPD tonight. Had been ignoring it and using my CPAP and inhalers and thinking all was more or less OK. At 53 with 25 yrs of smoking and too much weight, I am glad I found this board as a wake up call to take care of myself; thanks. I have always feared drowning as my way to die. Have lived with depression and PTSD from repeatedly being suffocated for crying as toddler. Now asthma, COPD and sleep apnea on top of the breast cancer. I had better accomplish something soon.
—Guest Susan

Wheezing and Deep Down Rattle

Diagnosed with COPD 2011. In ER same date I celebrated my 10th year smoke-free! The worst thing for me is that wheezing noise & rattle of mucous so deep down that no matter what I do or don't do, I can't get rid of it. Once I start coughing, I can't stop and can feel my airway closing -- can't sleep, can't breath. On Symbicort 2 puffs, twice a day, but got laryngitis so bad the doc put me on Spiriva - didn't work. Back to Symbicort taking 1 puff a day and that worked until the weather changed. Rescue inhalers all have Albuterol which worsens my existing panic attacks along with my vertigo and sleep apnea I've had for years. So, as you see, I was a mess before I got COPD, but have to say, nothing compares to not being able to clear your lungs and breathing! I too am alone and that really scares me. God is the only one listening at 3:30 in the morning. Determined to cope with this though somehow, some way. Lose weight, exercise, etc. Will pray for us all. God Bless You. Never give up!!!
—Guest Rennie

Fear of Progression

Though I quit smoking about 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with COPD May of 2010. It bothers me that there is really nothing to stop the progression. Presently, I have a rescue inhaler and use Spiriva. I see people in grocery stores and on public transportation, trailing oxygen tanks behind themselves. I am absolutely horrified that some day I will end up that way too, fighting for every breath.
—Guest lillymarlene

Transtracheal Oxygen

Has anyone had TTO? Are you still able to speak normally? I am 02 dep/ 24/7. 47 yrs old. My pulmonologist wants me to explore transtracheal 02. Little scared
—Guest darlene dadley


I am 75, quit smoking 51 years ago, was diagnosed with early stage COPD 3 years ago. It's getting worse every year. Using Advair, Combivent and a Philips Inhaler more and more. My wife is a heart patient and I always worry when she grabs her nitro inhaler, my first reaction please don't die on me. Now I am getting kind of jealous; dying of a heart attack is preferable over suffocating. But reading all the reactions, one is not alone. I had a good life, but feel bad for all the young people on this board. God speed to all.
—Guest Hendrik

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