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

Responses: 99


Updated May 01, 2014

Dying With COPD

I too have struggled for many breaths, and have been to the hospital several times, I am on 6 liters of O2 around the clock, daily steroids and inhalers. Now my heart is acting up. I am going to have a second opinion or a lung transplant.
—Guest Saf123

Lack of Breath

41 years old only just been diagnosed with COPD . Four hospital visits over last month because not able to breath . Oxygen levels good but CAN'T breathe. Never have I been so scared of lack of breath. Thought my days were numbered . Now starting breathing exercises and some very, very gentle walking . Was a heavy smoker -- stupid me I know! Any tips from anyone would be greatly appreciated my email is davedale491@gmail.com. Regards Dave
—Guest Dave dale Huddersfield UK

Not Knowing What To Do

My husband who is 45 years old was hospitalized 3 times last year with COPD. He is still smoking (32 years) I don't want him to die. He tells me don't worry he's fine. I can't stop worrying and don't know what to do.
—Guest Vicki


I am a carer for my partner with COPD severe. The worst part is his lack of food intake, he is anorexic. He gets confused, although he does not require oxygen. He is 67 and has had it for five years. I am a nervous wreck and try to carry on as best I can as I am afraid of finding him dead. How I wish he had never smoked.
—Guest Elaine Markey

Not Being Able to Breathe

I am now on oxygen 24/7. I cannot take 10 steps without the oxygen. This is the scariest part of having COPD, not being able to breath. I now have a 'min-pin' puppy who brings me my oxygen when i need it, he was very easily trained to do this. He is my lifesaver. I love you Max.

Unable to Get My Words Out

When I try to talk I loose breath and I cannot talk. Words will not come out. I slur and try to speak, and cant get the words out.
—Guest leslie kreis

Too Young

Reading these comments I can't help but see that many of you are very young. There is a genetic cause of COPD/emphysema, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and everybody with COPD should be tested, but especially those of you who are so young. Cigarette smoking is not always the cause of COPD. There is help. Don't give up. http://www.alpha-1foundation.org/. All my best to you for education and support for better breathing and empowerment for your best life possible. Jane M. Martin, BA, LRT, CRT www.breathingbetterlivingwell.com

Fear of Suffocating

The most frightening thing with COPD is how frightened we all are of asphyxiation. It is not death we fear but the pain of dying. It is of some comfort to learn that we of COPD have the same terrors.

All of It

Went in for hernia surgery this December, Anesthesiologist says the chest X-ray shows I have COPD and I must be a smoker. Now as a kid ( I am now 50) I might have burned one or two, but never was I a smoker, I had asthma. SO this is really scary to me, my girlfriend lost her husband to cancer 6 years ago and now, has me. Sad. I don't fear dying, I fear moron doctors who have waited this long to find it, and they still have not found it, just a comment. I have had a really bad year with my blood pressure so high, and meds just don't work, I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and now on a machine. Just keeps adding up. So now, I will find a new primary care doctor. Hopefully something can be done.
—Guest Rich

The Unknown

My primary Doctor neglected to inform me I had emphysema 7 years ago. I was just told a couple of months ago when another doctor sent me for a CT scan and was told I had emphysema. My pulmonologist said I had it for seven years. I had been treated for emphysema 7 years ago, and evidentally they must had diagnosed the emphysema then. I just started treatment for me disease, and just quit smoking cold turkey. I wish I knew I had emphysema back then, I never would of pick up another cigarette. Shame on me and shame on my primary doctor who should of known and failed to tell me!!!
—Guest Linny

That I Can't Stop Coughing

A few years ago I got pneumonia (I've had it twice since) and all of a sudden I started to cough and could not stop to draw in a breath. The fit was so bad that I broke a rib which was excruciating. I felt like it would never stop. I was going to cough myself to death. Now I know that is possible - I thought it was just a perception from the experience but I've had it happen again 2 times in the last 2 months without pneumonia. Sometimes I am afraid to be alone because I can feel the irritation building in my lungs over days and I'm afraid it will happen and no one will be there that can speak to the 911 people. I'm afraid of dying this way.
—Guest kokolatekita

Fear of Dying

I [fear I] am going to die gasping for air. I am 54 years old; always watched my health. When I went to work in the hospital, I became sick with COPD.
—Guest sissy lewis

The Sudden Onset

I had allergies all this year of 2010 and they dragged on through the summer. That, combined with an un-air conditioned apartment and stress from a variety of sources and suddenly I couldn't breathe. It was all I could do to call 911 and walk 20 feet to open the door for the firemen. That said, one nebulizer treatment, O2, antibiotics and I bounced back. The good news is that I now monitor myself closely, have emergency meds and won't have it sneak up on me again. I'm hoping I can help others.

What Would Happen to My Loved Ones?

I'm 18 this year, I read up on COPD in the news and net, now I'm scared that I can't live long enough. I have a great girlfriend who loves me dearly, 2 parents and a sister. The thing I'm scared of the most is that what would happen to them without me anymore?
—Guest Young man

Frequent Flare-Ups

I have lived with COPD since 1991. I finally stopped smoking 2 weeks ago. I have very bad flare ups quite often, but have managed to calm myself by placing an Ativan under my tongue and telling myself that this it will only last five to ten minutes. I look forward to when it will stop and everything will return to normal, which so far it always has. And that's it just a minor inconvenience.
—Guest JACK

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