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    Old 06-26-2003, 11:30 AM   #1
    Cathric
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    Post Breathing problems continue

    Today I see the pulmonary doc finally, for the serious breathing problems that have continued since the surgery [ACDF C5-6,6-7 5/19/03]. Every time I move I start wheezing and try to catch my breath. Even sitting still I wheeze and need to take deep breaths. I hope these issues are just temporary so my neck can heal and I can move on.

    After all my 'episodes' I'm finally feeling knocked down. I've never lost hope but admit I'm coming close. All of us know how physical issues change us. A few weeks ago I had to fill out Social Security Disability forms that required my husband to answer questions. The question was regarding how these issues had changed the person Ė he said that she HAD been vital and independentÖI know thatís an accurate statement but it really hit me.

    Time to go to doctors. Later.

    1968 Chronic pain since car accident - fractured neck and back vertebrae, broken ribs, concussion
    1968 ĎBells Palsyí - on/off for over 30 years - now considered facial nerve damage
    1976 Fibromyalgia (fibrosis then) diagnosed chronic pain
    1984 Back surgery Ė Laminectomy L4-5, 5-6
    1993 Car accident 1993 Breast Cancer
    1995 Breast Cancer again
    1995 Car accident - rear ended neck problems increased
    2000 Total Hysterectomy
    2002 Stroke due to brain lesion left temporal
    2002 Craniotomy - left temporal Cavernous Malformation
    2003 5/19/03 Emergency Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion and Plating C5-6 and C6-7
    NS said more neck surgery would be needed

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    Laminectomy, Breast Cancer, Total hysterectomy, Stroke, Brain surgery, 2003 Neck (ACDF C5-6, C6-7)

     
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    Old 06-26-2003, 03:50 PM   #2
    firefighter_101
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    Cathric,
    I'm so sorry your having such a hard time breathing. I'm having problems also but not as bad as what you are. My surgery was May 2nd. They are going to scope me next week, ( my gastro doctor ), and I hope balloon my throat to open it up.

    Please let us know what the Doctor tells you. Good luck and I'm thinking about you.

    Harvey


    ------------------
    Three Level C 4-5,5-6,6-7...Fusion, Grafts and plating.Bone Growth Stimulator worn all the time.

     
    Old 06-26-2003, 04:13 PM   #3
    Cathric
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    Just got back from the pulmonary doc. He says the breathing problem isn't from surgery swelling - thinks that either the vocal cords or the air passage are damaged. He wants me to be scoped in Out Patient surgery asap. He said that if there is 'tissue mesh' in air passage he can laser. If the vocal cords are the problem he will send me to a ENT doc to fix. He said that it's also possible that nerve damage might be the problem but won't know until I'm scoped diagnosed. I'll do what ever it takes to breath easier. He asked if I would do it tomorrow but later told me there wasn't an opening. Next week they will call and schedule.

    Harvey, thanks for responding. Are you having a 'broncecope' (spelling) or what? Did the doc say that your lungs look good? Mine are fine so the problem is before the lungs - thank god! Are you wheezey? coughing? Bronical tubes and upper lungs burning? Let me know. Take care of yourself!

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    Laminectomy, Breast Cancer, Total hysterectomy, Stroke, Brain surgery, 2003 Neck (ACDF C5-6, C6-7)

     
    Old 06-26-2003, 05:55 PM   #4
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    Hopefully they will find the cause of your breathing problem. There is nothing worse than fighting for each breath you take. I never had that problem after the surgery but I have had bronchitis and pneumonia which gives you the same problem.

    I will tell you though - after my surgery for about the first two months I did have a feeling in my throat like there was something pushing in from the back. The surgeon told me it was the muscles going back into place after the swelling went down. He said it could take some time to go back to normal. Hopefully that is your problem also.

    Good luck with your appointment next week and if it is something other than the swelling and moving back of the muscles may it be minor.

     
    Old 06-26-2003, 09:58 PM   #5
    Cathric
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    The Pulmonary doc did breathing tests that indicate some breathing obstruction since the surgery. Did anyone else have breathing tests and a bronchoscope? What did you experience?

    I keep telling myself that the problem is the one the doc can fix so this won't continue. I really am praying for the 'easy answer'.

    Any info from anyone would be helpful. Thanks.
    __________________
    Laminectomy, Breast Cancer, Total hysterectomy, Stroke, Brain surgery, 2003 Neck (ACDF C5-6, C6-7)

     
    Old 06-26-2003, 11:02 PM   #6
    firefighter_101
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    Cathric,
    I'm happy that the doctors are working to correct your problem. I had to ask my NS SEVERAL times to refer me to a throat Doctor. I've got a very good Gastro doc now.

    I have had the Barium swallow test last week. It showed nothing upstructing my airway. That's why my doc wanted to wait a week and see if the swelling would go down anymore. This friday it will mark 8 weeks post-op for me. I'm not sure how long the swelling will stay but I think 8 weeks is plenty long enough! lol

    I haven't had a breathing test at all. I'm not sure what type scope I'm having Cathric, I didn't ask. He did say that when he scopes me, if he finds an area that's not open, he can balloon the area and open it up. I do not have a problem with wheezing, coughing or lungs burning.... I just can't swallow.And for the first month, I couldn't breathe very well either.

    I hope they get you in very soon so they can help you. I know what your going through and it's sssoo stressful and tiring....using all your energy just to breathe! It's very hard to keep thinking positive but I'm like you, I know it will get better...( I just wished it would hurry! ) lol

    Please keep me posted on your progress.
    Harvey



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    Three Level C 4-5,5-6,6-7...Fusion, Grafts and plating.Bone Growth Stimulator worn all the time.

     
    Old 06-27-2003, 09:57 AM   #7
    melanie dawn
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    Hi Cathric,
    I am so sorry that your breathing problems are continuing. This must be beyond stressful for you. There is the stress of worrying and then the anxiety that accompanies breathing difficulties. Have they given you anything for anxiety? In the hospital, we often order Ativan, low dose for the patients with respiratory issues. Fighting to get your breath is physically draining and like I said causes a sense of panic.
    If you find that your anxiety level is too high, consider asking the doc for a MILD anti anxiety med.(like ativan /lorazepam) With just having surgery, and all of the stress that comes with it, and now this, you may need to have some treatment for the stress. Only because when there are multiple issues like this ongoing, the stress starts to physically and emotionally effect you and drain your energies.All of this can certainly effect your immune system. Stress is a natural thing, and we are meant to have a certain amount, the problem is when it goes on for too long, it starts to have a negative effect on our body chemistry. It even effects the abillity to rest properly and everything sort of snowballs.
    I hope you are soon feeling better, and that they get to the bottom of this quickly.Have they provided you with an inhaler ? Or such to help open up the bronchioles? Another thing is, with the summer here, the humidity can make your breathing more difficult, I hope you have air conditioning, and that you use it. Just getting some of the moisture out of the air can help with the breathing.
    Please keep in touch, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Mel

    ------------------
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity
    __________________
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

     
    Old 06-27-2003, 12:16 PM   #8
    Cathric
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    More, Harvey and Mel,

    I just got scheduled for the bronchoscope on Monday 6/30 at 7:30AM. YEAH! Iím anxious to get closer to a resolution. Thanks so much for your responses. This means so much to me Ė without your involvement I would be dealing with this solo Ė so much easier with friends! Thanks again.

    More, thanks for your info and wishing me luck. Iím so happy that the doctor was great and wants to react quickly Ė heís not like most of them Iíve had. His name is Dr. Wright Ė aptly named!

    Harvey, great you have found a good doc also. So you got past the breathing problem but are left with the swallowing issue Ė very annoying when we need to concentrate our healing on our necks only! When is your scope? Iíll let you know what happens with mine.

    Mel, thanks for the suggestion regarding the anxiety. You are certainly correct regarding the added stress. The only positive aspect is that concentrating on breathing has kept my mind off my neck pain! I always think I can handle anything but admit that this is wearing me out. Sleep has been affected by the neck pain and brace alone but I sleep with the light on because of the breathing. Iíll call my doctor today and ask for something to make this easier. I do have an inhaler but it seems to aggravate the breathing. Iíve been using a steam breather that a friend had that has really helped. Humidity is a concern Ė not in Phoenix but Iím going to be in Orlando in two weeks for my Moms birthday. Iím very concerned because Iíve always had allergies there. Once the bronchoscope is done Iím going to try some allergy meds to prep for Florida.

    Once again Ė thank you for responding! Take care of yourself.


    __________________
    Laminectomy, Breast Cancer, Total hysterectomy, Stroke, Brain surgery, 2003 Neck (ACDF C5-6, C6-7)

     
    Old 06-27-2003, 12:38 PM   #9
    melanie dawn
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    Hi Cathric,
    I am so glad that you are calling the doctor. Try for some Ativan? lorazapam. These are mild , short acting. The anxiety is partly worrying about the breathing. But when you cant get enough oxygen, and if your oxygen counts are low in the blood this causes anxiety from a chemical standpoint.
    I am so glad that you are adressing this issue. And talk to the doc. about your trip to Florida, and that you have increased allergies when you are there. That combined with the humidity can cause further resp. problems. So while you have the Doc. on the hook, please review this with him.
    Take care of yourself, I'll be thinking of you
    Mel

    ------------------
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity
    __________________
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

     
    Old 06-27-2003, 01:57 PM   #10
    Catherine with a C
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    Cathric,
    I am so sorry to hear about your continued breathing situation. I will admit to being somewhat worried for you~~~I will not suggest a slice of cheesecake though!
    You have let us know by your signature what a strong woman you are~~~~~~so, try to look at this as a little blip! You shall overcome! I do so hope that you have some help!
    Please continue to keep us updated!
    When do you head to Florida?~~~~I do so hope that this latest concern will have been alleviated by then!

    with a hug,
    Your friend to the North,
    Catherine

     
    Old 06-28-2003, 10:08 AM   #11
    Cathric
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    Mel and Catherine,

    Thanks for your responses. I can't wait for the bronchoscope on Monday. Everything is easier to handle once there is a diagnosis so steps can be taken - can't wait to resolve this.

    Mel, next week is the bronchoscope, toe surgery, neck x-ray AND seeing my primary doc for allergy meds. I plan on bringing to Orlando inhalers, steam breather and allergy meds to offset their humidity. I'm really prepping for humidity since I'm not used to it at all! Oh, I called the doc regarding Ativan - she refused! I did have a few valiums from previous surgery - took one and really slept last night! Wow, I felt much better. Thanks for your info.

    Catherine, don't worry - I'll stay away from the cheesecake! Thanks for your concern - I'm very resilient and get through everything but was down from the breathing problem. It was bad but made worse because none of the docs seemed interested. I forced action and am pleased that Monday some diagnosis will be available. In the next few weeks I plan on haveing this problem resolved as I'll be leaving for Florida 7/14. I so excited to see my big family!

    Take care.

    __________________
    Laminectomy, Breast Cancer, Total hysterectomy, Stroke, Brain surgery, 2003 Neck (ACDF C5-6, C6-7)

     
    Old 06-29-2003, 12:28 PM   #12
    PsychLea
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    Cathric,

    I have had a bronchoscopy before. They will sedate you before the procedure and then do xrays afterward and observe you for several hours afterward. Expect to run a fever for about 48 hours, due to the invasiveness of the procedure. I hope they can find out what the problem is.



    ------------------
    God bless,

    Lea

    C4-5 noncompressive disc displacement
    C5-6 compressive disc displacement
    C6-7 broad based disc protrusion encroaching on the anterioposterior aspect of the spinal canal.
    DDD
    ACDF C6-7 5/13/03 with titanium plate,4 screws, and no collar postop.
    __________________
    God bless,

    Lea

     
    Old 07-01-2003, 05:09 PM   #13
    Cathric
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    Hi all!

    Yesterday I had the bronchoscope. It wasn't bad at all, as I don't remember a thing! We came back home in the early afternoon and I got settled in the recliner. When my husband returned from work 5 hours later I hadn't moved! I even slept the entire evening -amazing for a person that rarely sleeps well.

    I didn't receive any results from the doc after the procedure, as he and my husband didn't connect. I called his office this AM and they said he had planned on calling me that afternoon. I was hoping the doc would say that he just had to remove some scar tissue or some other easy thing. Previously he said that worse case scenario would be vocal cord nerve damage that an ENT doc would be needed for. WELL.... itís nerve damage on my right vocal cord. He said that when breathing, the right side was staying closed on inhale which was greatly affecting my breathing. He said that its not paralyzed but closes when it should open. This doctor is the best I've ever had Ė spent time explaining the issue, showing concern, and saying that he would contact the ENT himself so this would move along. He was very sympathetic saying that 'you've had to work so hard to get your breath instead of concentrating on healing your neck'. WOW - a doc with feelings. I'm impressed.

    Iím telling myself that this will be resolved before the Flordia trip. I have breathing problems there when both of my vocal cords open on inhale! My hope is that I get in to see this ENT so he can provide allergy meds for Florida and resolve this problem.

    Take care everyone.
    __________________
    Laminectomy, Breast Cancer, Total hysterectomy, Stroke, Brain surgery, 2003 Neck (ACDF C5-6, C6-7)

     
    Old 07-01-2003, 06:56 PM   #14
    firefighter_101
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    Hello Cathric,

    I very happy you've found what the problem was. That's got to be a big relief. If your like me, I can deal with almost anything but I have to know what I'm facing first. I'm hoping you get an appointment with your ENT soon. You deserve your Florida vacation and hopefully nothing will postpone it.

    Harvey

     
    Old 07-01-2003, 07:28 PM   #15
    Cathric
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    Harvey,

    Thanks for your reply. Are you having your procedure tomorrow? If its like mine, enjoy the snooze!

    Yes, you are right - I feel that I can handle anything as long as it has a name and a treatment path. That's how I handled the breast cancer. In some ways it was easier than the neck issue because the path is so laid out and established for cancer. I choose to think that this is another temporary problem that will be resolved.

    Good luck with all your problems - I'll be thinking of you. Thanks.

    __________________
    Laminectomy, Breast Cancer, Total hysterectomy, Stroke, Brain surgery, 2003 Neck (ACDF C5-6, C6-7)

     
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