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

Responses: 99

By

Updated May 01, 2014

From the article: Living With COPD
For some, the most frightening aspect of COPD is death. But, many things along the way can be just as, or even more, troubling. Here is your chance to share, what you believe, to be the most frightening aspect of COPD. Sharing with others will help you nip that fear right in the bud where it belongs.

Not Knowing What to Expect

I have had chronic asthma for 35 years went to doctor last September she told me i have level 4 COPD. I take inhalers tablets to help. Don't know what to expect. Next she said there only is 5 levels. That's what the doc calls it -- they don't call it stages.
—Guest jane

Fear of Not Breathing

I'm 56 and have suffered for the last 10 years after being told I had emphysema. The panic would not stop when I was short of air. I went to rehab -- learned what to do in that situation -- but always in a panic state. I feared the worst and fought my way with deep sucking gulps of air and 4-5 spray's of my inhaler. A few nights ago I woke up in the early a.m with that "old familiar" feeling coming on. I went to the bathroom and here comes the onslaught..the rapid uncontrolled breathing, the fluttering in the chest, the heat, the fear...you know the drill. I started to call for my wife but didn't want to wake her. I felt the fear of the last ambulance at our home and panicked even more. I told myself I WILL try what they told me about the brain's false alarm button. It works! The panic only lasts a couple of minutes then leaves like a vapor. Next time DO IT!
—Guest Don

Being in the Final Stages

My son is in the final stages of COPD. He is 34. It's so sad the way COPD advances. His heart is failing and his veins in his arms have collapsed. Please give up cigarettes. He leaves 2 little girls. He has had COPD for 5 years.
—Guest sandra uk

FLAREUPS

WAKING FROM A DREAM OF BEING DEEP UNDERWATER, FEELING IT'S WEIGHT ON MY CHEST, NOT SWIMMING FAST ENOUGH TO SURFACE. THEN SUDDENLY SITTING STRAIGHT UP GASPING FOR AIR AND NOT GETTING ENOUGH. PANICING, WHEEZING, VIOLENTLY COUGHING FOR SEVERAL MINUTES WHILE WAITING FOR INHALER TO KICK IN, TRYING DESPERATLY TO BRING UP MUCUS DEEP INSIDE, TENDER RIBS, STOMACH, NECK, THROAT, THINKING THIS IS THE KILLING LAST ONE, UNABLE TO MOVE, SHOULD I CALL 911 OR TOUGH IT OUT, SITTING UP AS STRAIGHT AS POSSIBLE SEVERAL NIGHTS IN A ROW UNABLE TO SLEEP, DROWNING WHEN TRYING TO LAY DOWN, FEAR OF RUPTURING A LUNG OR BLOOD VESSEL WHILE COUGHING, THE SOUND OF RATTLING. A FORMER CHRISTIAN (NOW AGNOSTIC) REALIZING FINALLY THAT DURING MY LIFETIME (67) WISHING UPON A STAR IS AS EFFECTIVE AS PRAYER. DYING NOT HAVING HAD A GOOD LIFE BUT FOR A FEW YEARS. THREE OF FOUR ADULT CHILDREN HAVEN'T SPOKEN TO ME IN YEARS OR INTRODUCED MANY GRANDCHILDREN TO ME, FEELING LIFE TO BE A CRUEL JOKE, FEELING STUPID BELIEVING IN GOD.
—Guest SAM

There is hope

I am 62, single female, live alone and had COPD for 9 years. 7 yrs ago I gave up smoking so for the first two yrs I had it I still smoked. Smoking is an addiction but thank God, I managed to kick the habit. I am so much better now. Go to gym twice per week although I spend a lot of time getting my breath back between machines and it is definitely helping. I am very overweight (was 164kg now 153kg) and am feeling better thru losing the weight. Some doctors say I have emphysema -- some say it is more asthma related. I am on a BiPAP machine overnight with 2 liters of oxygen. I used to be on for 3 hours during the afternoon but do not need that now. So you see, if you can possibly give up smoking it would help you. It pains me to see two of my grandchildren smoking, but you can't put an old head on young shoulders. My granddaughter, 23 has given up currently after 3 attempts but my grandson, 19 yrs old thinks its cool and will not listen.
—Guest Lorraine

Watching My Husband Suffer

The time I watched and cared for my husband was so sad for him; the suffering, going down hill, and anger because I could still live, walk, breath and go places. It hurt him so much in a way that he suffered for that even more. Myself and Hospice was great. No one unless you have been there, knows. I've seen a lot of death in my life. This and cancer is so much alike -- a slow death and suffering.
—Guest Twonette Sugioka

The Way I Will Die

I am very disappointed in my 4 children. They have no idea how sick I am. On oxygen 24/7. They do nothing to help. I think they are in denial. Meanwhile, I am so scared. I am so afraid of the way I might die. I only hope I close my eyes and go to sleep. I think I've suffered enough already.
—Guest mary

janet

I have just been diagnosed . I am really scared as I feel like I'm being strangled. My dad died of this disease and his was caused by working in cotton mills. Mine is smoking. I want to give up but wonder if it's to late? Once you get this disease it never gets better no matter what.
—Guest janet

Knowing I Have a Death Sentence

I can relate to almost all COPD sufferers. I am 54 diagnosed 5 years ago and would seriously rather die in my sleep than feeling of drowning. Ii am so week and feel as if no one understands this is just a existence for me but i would miss my family and animals so much who would understand them like i do. I hope God releases me without the drowning just let me sleep keep my family safe and of course my pets god bless you all who are suffering. Euthanasia sounds humane and kind to me.
—Guest sheona

Panic

For me the most frightening moment is right before an attack comes on. I immediately begin to panic which, of course, makes the attack much worse. And when I begin sucking on my nebulizer and/or my rescue inhaler and nothing comes out....Oh, that is the worst! When I attended pulmonary rehab and inquired about this, the instructor suggested that I say to myself "I will get control of my breathing". So far, ha ha, this hasn't worked. I've also tried positive imagery, walking thru a meadow, walking along the beach, etc while thinking "there's plenty of air". This hasn't worked for me either but I would encourage others to try it as you may be more successful than I. So far, I haven't found a successful method but would very much like to hear what has worked for others. That panicky feeling is simply awful!
—lunablanca

Being Completely Unable to Breathe

A FEW MONTHS AGO MY OX DROPPED TO 78!I WAS READY TO DIE AS I DREAMT I DID.I HAVE COPD SINCE 8/2002 AND HAVE SMOKED FOR 51 YEARS AND STILL DO.I AM 62 YEARS OLD.NOT BEING ABLE TO BREATH IS VERY SCARY AND IT SEEMS I AM UNABLE TO JUST LET GO AND DIE.MY BODY FIGHTS TO LIVE WHILE MY MIND FIGHTS TO DIE.THIS IS THE MOST FRIGHTENING ASPECT OF COPD!YOU TAKE BREATHING FOR GRANTED UNTIL YOU ARE UNABLE TO!!GOD BLESS EVERYONE.I HAVE BEEN READY TO DIE FOR QUITE AWHILE.I HOPE IT'S SOON AS I AM DISABLED MOBILITY WISE PLUS COPD AND I'M VERY TIRED.
—Guest JOHN

Hard to Breathe

I've smoked for 25 yrs and developed my problems from that, I also find it hard to breath at times but the worst part of mine is I'm married with a step-child and can't seem to get any sympathy from anybody so all I have to say is, THANK YOU MARLBORO MAN!
—Guest Michael

Several Scary Things

Not being able to breath or not being able to stop chocking. Being around people that are wearing strong scents.
—Guest carol

When My Face and Hands Turn Blue

I GET REALLY GET SCARED WHEN MY FACE AND HANDS TURN BLUE. MY BREATHING IS GETTING WORSE AND I'M TIRED ALL THE TIME. DOES ANYBODY OUT THERE KNOW WHY THIS IS HAPPENING?
—artie47

Being Unable to Breathe

I am so frightened when I am unable to breathe. I have defecated and urinated on myself when I am unable to breathe and I fear being found dead on the floor like that by my daughter who frequently comes with my grandchildren. I want oxygen but my doctor, who has done no tests like the spirometer, has just listened to my chest with the stethoscope and has never seen me at my worst, seems not to care. I am so frightened and panicked when I have an attack. I don't want to die but if I must please let it be in my sleep and not during an attack.
—moonseeker

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