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

Responses: 185

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Updated May 01, 2014

Never Smoked Cigarettes & Still Got COPD

I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. I'm 61 and was just told I have COPD. I'm still in shock. I'm doing everything my doctor is advising but things look pretty bad at this point. I was a very active person and love my job. Now what?
—Guest Barbara Ault

I Feel Your Pain

I have been reading about all of your experiences with COPD/emphysema for quite awhile and I cry every time I read them because I too have COPD/emphysema and when you write about your fears or how lonely and depressed you are I see myself in each and every experience. I smoked for 44 yrs. and even though the doctor said to quit smoking I didn't listen because I knew more than he did and I just knew I wouldn't end up like others I had seen with their oxygen on wheels. Well here I am on oxygen 24/7 and only get out of the house to go to the doctor. Yes I use a nebulizer and a rescue inhaler and I'm also on Prednisone. However I thank God that I'm still alive and some day soon I hope to save enough money to go see my grandchildren that live out of state. Hopefully that will be soon cuz it seems harder to breathe with each passing day. God bless each and every one of you and I will continually keep you in my prayers
—Guest Sandy

Living On the Sidelines

Having to sit and watch instead of doing, not doing anything physical with my children and grans is my worse thing. I try to keep a positive attitude, because nobody wants to be around someone depressed, but it sure gets hard at times. I really would like to see my grans grow up. I pray for the strength God gives to me each day, and the courage to live the days to come.
—Guest Diane

COPD (Come On, Prolong Life)

I have been diagnosed with COPD. No I am not a happy lil' camper. This disease is the most devastating thing I have had to face in my life. I have no future. It has been removed from me because I smoked for 45 years. I did quit smoking 2/20/04. That must have helped some! I do have good days and then I have real bad days. Then I run to the ER because I can't breathe. Most of the time I am really depressed because I just am not ready to die. I'm scared too! I ask God, why me? But then I get a reasonable answer. Because!!! To all you people out there who are going through the same disease as I am, I will continue to pray for you and to cry at the same time. This is so sad. Chin up. Enjoy every day that God gave you. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Says the Good Book. Read it often. It really helps.
—Guest bkndhrtd

Everything

I was diagnosed with COPD in 1997 after 40 years of smoking which I gave up in '1995. By 2003 I was on O2 at night and anytime I exerted myself (5 ltrs). Today it is much the same except that I use O2 24/7. Even though my lung capacity is very low (>20%) & I get breathless with anything I do except eat, talk and use the computer or keyboard, I refuse to let COPD stop me from doing the things I enjoy. I now travel with a portable concentrator, I float instead of swim, I slowly stroll instead of walk, etc. Life goes on; life is good.
—Guest Bobbi

Sometimes, You Wish You Were Dead

I have COPD [emphysema] for 10 years now and have about 8 - 9% lung capacity. I cannot expel the used gasses. My oxygen levels are ok so I don't need oxygen. I don't know if I'm lucky there or not? The down side is oxygen won't help when I am gasping. I cannot stand up without getting out of breath even sitting at the computer I get breathless. When my doctor told me 6 years ago if i didn't stop smoking [I said I know I'll die ] he said no, but there will be times when you wish you were dead -- he never said a truer word. I have two wonderful children one daughter 13 and a son 11 and I am a christian so suicide is out the question. I just wonder each day if this is my last, when I go to bed I don't know if I will see the morning. I moved out of the family home some 4 years ago as I couldn't stand to watch them cry every time the paramedics came to take me to hospital every couple of weeks. I don't want them to see me slowly die. I love them too much. It breaks my heart -- nothing seems to help.
—talkingkat

My Heart is Slowly Dying

My husband, my soul-mate is quickly losing his breath. He struggles to breathe every minute of the day. He is in hospice care but nothing is helping. My heart is slowly dying as I watch this once social, active man dying every second and minute of each day. He is only 53 and yet he knows he has done this to himself from smoking and working in fiberglass for 18 yrs. He wishes he could take it back, but there are no take backs in life. I love him the best i can. I only wish there was something to help his quality of life. He has 4 grand children he loves dearly and two sons. Our oldest granddaughter who is only 5 asks him not to die. This is so sad. Her great grandmother passed away in April of this year with lung cancer. Now she is worried about her papa. How do i ease the pain of this child my sons and myself? I can only stay positive and continue to care with great and tender love for him. But the stress is like a mountain and you never get to the top.
—Guest amanda

Still Hard to Breathe Even on Oxygen

I am on oxygen 24/7. I am 66 years old. I know my social life is over. I go to the hospital twice a week for exercise. And, even though I have a tank, I still find it hard to breath. My problem is I am a mouth breather. I try to keep my mouth close while walking. It is a hard thing to shake. I try to remember to take deep breaths through my nose and let old air out with my nose. Will I ever get better and do away with this tank and go on vacation? Live normal? That is what scares me the most.
—Guest Cookie

What if...

What if it was the middle of the night, and I had an attack and needed my emergency inhaler and realizied it was empty?
—kookykathy

Sadness, Depression & Moodiness

I don't know if my mood swings are part of having COPD or not, but the sadness and depression are directly related to the illness and the suffering of COPD. I don't want to live with this disease, but have no choice..We must go on..to a certain death of breathlessness..most people have no idea when they will die..COPD'ers know the end is near..just don't know when. Euthanasia should be legal.
—Guest Carma

COPD IS MY NEMESIS

I'M AN EX-WEIGHT LIFTER,6 FOOT TALL AND WAS 245 POUNDS, NO STEROIDS,VERY IMPRESSIVE. MADE IT TO 64 PUMPING IRON. BUT NOT ANYMORE. I'M 72 NOW. I WATCHED MY DIET AND I'M DOWN TO 170 NOW AND IT CERTAINLY MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE IN MY BREATHING. I SMOKED CIGARETTES FOR 50 YEARS AND QUIT ONLY BECAUSE I HAD TO. I STARTED CHEWING NICOTINE GUM, NOW I'M HOOKED ON THE GUM. MY BIGGEST FEAR IS THAT PEOPLE WILL NOTICE, LOOKS ARE VERY DECEIVING, I JUST HOPE I DON'T EVER HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING. I WOULD BE UP THAT FAMOUS CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE. THE THING THAT GIVES ME REAL RELIEF IS THAT I USE COMBIVENT INHALERS. THEY ARE VERY EXPENSIVE BUT THEY DO WORK VERY WELL, I CAN RELATE TO ALL OF THESE FOLKS I READ ABOUT. I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH COPD 4 YEARS AGO. I JUST ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES, AS THEY SAY, BUT I WILL NEVER GIVE UP HOPE THAT THEY WILL FIND SOME KIND OF CURE FOR COPD -- IT WOULD BE NICE.
—Guest JIM

I Have COPD Too

I have been struggling with COPD since 1999 and it sucks. The panic attacks are now more often and my ability to get around is lessening. I use supplemental O2 and find that exersising is very hard now even with the O2 - and my body hurts all the time - muscles hurt more now than ever. I sure am complaining. It is hard to talk and I run out of breath when speaking so now I am reluctant to talk or do much of anything. Now what...
—miwillow

Most Frightening Aspect of COPD

Today I am 63 & I was diagnosed with COPD 5 years ago. Prior to that I smoked for more than 35 years. The very first diagnosis in my case was bronchial asthma. For one year I was treated for asthma only but after obtaining a second opinion from doctors, I was certified as COPD. Despite being a known weight lifter in my prime days, today I am always begging for the clean gratifying breath. What frightens me most is the sudden onslaught of acute breathlessness without prior indications. Suddenly my stomach muscles tighten & I start gasping uncontrollably. At such times in my mind I keep on begging God for tortureless quiet death. This aspect has kept me confined to my home or rather bed near my nebulizer & O2 cylinder. Any exercise including Yoga & Pranayam (breathing exercise) triggers my COPD.
—Guest Anil Kulkarni

Feeling Stuck

The worst part of it for me is the loss of a social life. I was always on the go before, but now since I've been on oxygen I'm home most of the time. I live in Michigan so the winter here is the worst. I do get out more in the summer but its just a lot harder and I cant really do a lot of things that I used to love -- like camping, going to karaoke clubs, hiking in the woods etc. I try not to dwell on the bad things and be grateful for oxygen...because I'd really be in bad shape without it. It does allow me to go out when I can stand the weather. And I'm still here fighting so it ain't all bad.
—Guest Carol

The Evil COPD

I am a 57 year old male and I smoked for 35 years. I quit in April 2008. I have had COPD since 2005. It does get worse. Today I am on oxygen 24/7 and Prednisone. When I have a bad day I feel that every breath is going to be my last. I must consciously make myself calm and try to slow my breathing. I also have stage 5 kidney failure and heart disease. So I know my body is working against me and it will probably win the battle but I will continue to fight it as long as I can.
—Guest Rick

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