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

Responses: 185

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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.

Scared: Worst Flare Up Ever

I've just had my worst flare up ever. I never knew how serious it was. They kept telling me to stop smoking but I didn't, if I knew it could kill me I would have! It wasn't until I heard them say I need oxygen I freaked. I did not know I could die from cops. I am only 44 and have a 8 yr old daughter. I'm so scared, is there hope? How long do people live with it? I'm getting know answers from my doctor. I feel like they are saying oh well she did this to herself and are just giving me a ton of medicines with no talk of how severe it is. Please help me understand what will happen going forward!! Anyone. Thank you. And God bless everyone on here and their families!
—Guest erin

Running Low on Oxygen

I'm 46 yrs old diagnosed w COPD July 2010. My biggest fear now is when I have an appointment & my O2 tank is running low. Lately I've had to raise it from 2LPM to 3 & sometimes 4 just to catch my breath. I notice I'm ok when I'm sitting but once I have to walk my heart rate speeds up. I used to be active, always walking, cleaning my house. Now even a shower is a mission! It takes me almost 1.5 hrs to complete. It's getting so that I have to take an extra tank when I go out. I've had a few scares where I couldn't catch my breath & I thought I was going to pass out! I used to go on Facebook but now I just play games from apps. I get so depressed seeing everyone living there lives & here I sit hoping to be able to draw breath tomorrow! Can't cry cause I don't have the strength...lol. So all I can do is take my meds & hope for the best. Is there a place where we can chat with each other, share experiences? Maybe some of you need someone to talk to who knows what ur going through just like I do.
—Guest Lisa P

Scared Every Day with COPD

It has been two years since I quit smoking and I was told I have asthma and COPD. I had a severe attack two years ago and stopped breathing three times in hospital, I had basically died on the table but luckily was brought back. Spent 9 days in hospital between ICU and medicine ward. I am so scared of dying from this; I am only 36 years old and this is a terrible way to live, not knowing from one day to the next if what you are doing is going to bring another attack on.
—tammy2478

Gasping for Breath

I smoked for years. After I quit 3 years ago I found I don’t purposely cough and hack like I did when smoking. I found the thick mucus build up wasn’t being expelled because I wasn’t coughing. I have taken all kinds of meds for my asthma and COPD over the last 10 years; maybe 10 in all. I couldn’t truthfully say anything was working. About the only thing that helped was my rescue inhaler. A while back I was prescribed Singulair a small white pill taken orally. It thins the mucus and makes it a whole lot easier to cough it up when you need to. I’m down to 46% lung capacity. A month ago I was also prescribed a new once a day capsule you put in a handi inhaler and breath in, this med is called Spiriva. Wow, what a difference. I’m not gasping for air like I was and I don’t feel like I’m drowning. If I do exercise I might start breathing heavy but not as much as before and when I stop my recovery breathing is in minutes not a half hour or more. Hope this helps someone out there!
—Guest Roger

I Think We All Get Scared

Don't give up! I've had COPD for twenty years. I'm 53 and in the last stage. I get those feelings; I think we all do but we are alive for a reason. Don't give up; that's the easy way out.
—Guest tom

Scared of Elephant Sitting On My Chest

I seem to get a lot of chest tightness more so now than before. And I am in pain everyday. Had an attack yesterday which put me in a panic. It's terribly scary when you cant breath. I am 44 yrs old and was diagnosed with COPD 7 months ago. My mom and my best friends mom died of this horrible disease both in their early 60's. This scares me, but I thank God everyday that he allows me another day to see. Two weeks ago I experienced an exacerbation and was hospitalized. Now I wonder if I am possibly just getting worse.
—Guest Gabrielle

It Keeps Progressing

I am 72 years old and was told 5 years ago that I had IPF and had 2 to 3 years to live. 5 years later, I am still going but it is getting MUCH harder to function. I told the Doc that I was too ornery to take that advice without a fight. The key is to keep fighting & enjoying what life you have left without feeling sorry for yourself. I still volunteer on the National Cemetery honor guard. I know that this experience is not the same for everyone but if you just give up you are done!!!
—Guest marvin

Breathing Getting Worse

My husband's breathing is getting noticeably worse. He said it's starting to get scary. I think we're in denial because we're planning on selling our farm and buying a bigger one, raising more cattle, etc. We're excited about it, but I wonder if this is wise with his worsening illness. I think he needs something to look forward to, though; something to dream about. I'm determined to help make whatever length of life he has left the best it can be. (It helps to read others' experiences, so I don't feel so isolated. Peace and Love.)
—Guest Caretaker to Husband

Elephant On My Chest

I am 44 yrs old and found out 7 months ago that I have COPD. I have smoked for 29 yrs, and still do. Although I hate that I am making my disease worse by continuing, quitting has been the hardest thing to do. Even though I have cut way back, I know it doesn't mean that it will ease my disease. I have enormous guilt because I know I am making it worse. I pray to God that I wake up not wanting to smoke. My symptoms are pretty bad. Chest tightness, coughing, breathlessness, (even while resting) chest, neck, shoulder, back pain, and fatigue. The worst of these being chest pain...everyday! I am on a nebulizer 4x daily and Tudorza inhaler. My mom died of this horrible disease and suffered greatly ( I miss her so much) and my best friends mom died of it too. I am not sure what stage I am in, but was recently hospitalized for an exacerbation. Very scary!! Doc says I have the lungs of a 60 yr old. I don't know that I'll ever be ready to leave this earth. My husband and daughter are my world
—Guest Gabrielle

Being in the Last Stage

It's very hard for me. I'm on oxygen 24/7. I just try my best to do stuff. You have to try and keep movin' about the house but my quality of life is not a lot. I am house bound but I just try and do what I can.
—Guest Marion

Felt as if I was suffocating!

I started coughing continually in December of 2012 and just could not stop. Had gone to the doctor over and over. One morning I woke up and could not breath. I called my daughter who is a nurse and she said I needed to get the ER. I no more pulled out of my driveway and had no oxygen left in my body to breath. I was the most scared I have ever been that I was dying at that moment. I finally caught my breath and made it to the hospital. I was told I had pulse ox of 70 and was having a COPD exasperation. I had no idea I had COPD. I smoked for over 35 years and so wanted to quit for years. I was hospitalized for that incident. I quit smoking the day I went into the hospital and just celebrated my one year anniversary smoke-free. I am on two inhalers daily and carry a rescue inhaler. I have had two bad days this past year and I feel lucky that I have had only two bad days. I am 60 years old and want to live a very long life so I try my best to do everything I can right!!
—nina_02

Fear that I Might Have COPD

I had chest pain and blood in my sputum in the morning when I woke up. Went for a check up with the doctor. Had a chest x-ray he said he had noticed a problem with my right lung took sputum for AFB but awaiting the results.
—Guest marvin

COPD: A Terrifying Experience

This is a terrifying experience. When first being diagnosed, I thought,well that is what you get for smoking; but then I thought why would my government allow this?They're in everyone's business about so much,why not stop tobacco? We all know why; it just brings too much revenue in. I do believe that the companies should have to pay for everyone's treatment after they get it. They have plenty of money, and they most certainly are the cause of most of it. The asbestos makers have been held accountable,why not tobacco? When I tell anyone I have it, I feel like they think I deserve it. It's a catch 22. Between the panic attacks and breathing lock-ups, life is really difficult!
—Guest Pam123

Everyday is Scary

My granny was diagnosed with Stage 4 COPD 6 months after having a chest x-ray that came back completely normal. The disease practically appeared over night. I'm 15 and she is in hospice..about 3 months in. Every day is scary thinking about the possibility of waking up and receiving news of the worst. I've always been close to her and watching her suffer makes my heart hurt. She won't even quit smoking.. She cries everyday because she's dying but she wont even take the steps to slow down the process. My mom is a smoker too and I fear she might have the same problem with time. I'll just keep praying I suppose and he will take things into his own hands. :)
—Guest alyssa

Losing the life I never had

At 32, I know I have cut my life expectancy drastically short. I will never be able to achieve many of the dreams I once had as a result of the poor decisions of my teens and early twenties. I accept it's my own fault for the endless suffering I will endure in years to come, however it's depressing that this has happened to me so young. I will pay dearly for my sins for, unfortunately many, years to come. I often question whether the benefit of trying to fight this disease will be worth all the suffering ahead of me.
—Guest Andrew

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