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Friday, March 7, 2014
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
I have end stage - emphysema what do I do?
Hi, I`m 38 years old with 5 very young children and and ill husband. when my 5th child with 6m old I was diagnosed with "end stage emphysema". Up until then my doctor had been treating me for severe asthma. I was advised by a specialist that I would not live 4 years. I am much tougher than he gave me credit for, and have no intention of going anywhere. However, I have become so weak, I can only take a few steps without becoming extremely breathless. I can no longer bathe myself or even plait my children`s hair. I am on 2 litre oxygen therapy as I am a carbon dioxide retainer and my last Lung function 2 years ago was 12%. I am on a transplant list and am now receiving Intragam infusions. When I become severely breathless I loose control of my bowel and bladder. The hospital will not admit me, because they feel there is too much risk of infection, probably true, and I don`t want to distress my family. I know that I am very ill, is there anything I can do to improve my activity level. I had a chest x-ray last week and my lungs are litterally from my collarbone almost to my pelvis. I am constantly coughing phlegm which severely debiltates my breathing. Can you help me?
You could look into pulmonary rehabilitation to improve your functional capacity and become stronger. Lung volume reduction surgery is also a procedure for certain patients with emphysema. You could speak to your pulmonary specialist do see if he thinks you may be a candidate. He could then make the referral to a facility that performs the surgery.
Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University