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Surgery paralyzed my diaphragm on the left side

I have COPD. Yes, I used to smoke over my entire adulthood. Some periods in my life were worse than others and I smoked through the rough times. Most times smoking was a relaxant in the afternoon with tea or coffee and taking in the outdoors through the seasons.

I have taken inhaled meds for my condition for nearly 9 years and it has hardly made a difference and I have continued to worsen in other ways as well. Recently, I changed doctors and asked him to take me off all my inhalers for one that is non-steroidal and has an asthma med in it as well. Taken once a day, it relieves all symptoms for 24 hours. I feel so much better!

As for my eyes, they got really bad very quickly which caused me to have cataract surgery last year in both eyes.

I have come to the conclusion that pulmonary treatment techniques are medieval. For instance, how are people supposed to sleep with a mask, noise and giant tubes in the way? What is with the sleep study and all the probes in one’s hair and on their body? Dosing inhalers and leaving patients on them for years? I have gained a huge amount of weight in the ensuing years. And, yes, I do think if you inhale something, it gets into your entire system. I just has to. It is how things work. I think steroids get embedded in tissue and stay there. So, my medical MO is that I am a former smoker who is obese!

Oxygen? I bought a portable concentrator that has silicone tubing and pulse air for when I exercise. It is easy to manage, handy to have around. I have noticed that combined with my breathing exercises and new medication I can sit for thirty minutes with this type of machine and get a lot accomplished afterward around the house including using the stairs or, going to the store for groceries for at least 4 straight hours of feeling my old self. I can take a shower without feeling faint,too!

Admittedly, this, too, may be obsolete in the future and may no longer be the method of choice for me. Right now, though, I am back!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Patricialee,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Although the details change with each story, there are many commonalities between those that suffer from COPD, such as you’ve described.

    Your experience with inhalers is not uncommon. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of communication between the patient and the healthcare team and other times it’s hard to distinguish the reason. Nine years is a long time to be on a medication that isn’t doing its job. There are so many new medications on the market for COPD patients that have had fabulous outcomes. I hope if what you’re currently doing doesn’t have lasting results, you find satisfaction with one of these new treatments. But, it sounds like you get relief for an extended period of time, which is fabulous.

    I know that modern medicine can sometimes seem archaic, particularly when we’re on the receiving end. Obviously your experience with a sleep study and then the resulting CPAP equipment seemed that way to you. Again, while some of it is uncomfortable and in some cases seems outdated, there are some very modern and innovative treatments out there that don’t seem medieval. (And actually work very well!) For instance, instead of those masks that you’re describing, there are now some very nice masks that a person barely knows they’re wearing (and doesn’t cover their whole face) and are completely silent. I can attest to this myself, as I’ve had the opportunity to try them.

    It can be frustrating as you’re going through the testing and treatments to get to the just the right one, but when you do and you get relief, as many have, it’s all worth it.

    I’m so happy to hear that your pulse-dose concentrator is working for you. That’s a life-saver – literally, for some people. As you’ve discovered, it can give you your quality of life back and enable you to do things you hadn’t been able to accomplish.

    I wish you the very best!

    Lyn (site moderator)

  • patricialee author
    3 years ago

    Thank you, Lyn. I have recently been recommended to a rehab center for pulmonary patients. I am really looking forward to this and getting some stamina back! Yes, I think crankiness goes along with this disease. I have asked for different medicines in the past and, well, crickets. I finally got the courage to try other doctors till I found one that heard me. So, I am happy. I am currently on Stiolto which has several advantages least of which is that it is not a steroid in any form. Also, it replaces two previous meds, Spiriva and Symbicort and it lasts for 24 hours! I still have challenges on some days but this is encouraging all taken together.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Patricialee – I’m sorry you have had such a challenging time coping with COPD and the diagnoses and treatment options prescribed for you for so many years. It can certainly be difficult when nothing appears to help, despite seeing different physicians. The comments made by Lynn are on target and specific for your circumstances. We hope they were of help to you moving forward.

    After all you’ve been through, it is encouraging to hear that, at the present time, you are doing so well on your present treatment regimen (supplemental oxygen with a concentrator, breathing exercises, and a new medication). It would seem that at least one of your doctors has found a way to provide you with some genuine relief that allows you to be more productive. You must be very encouraged by this new found management plan.

    We appreciate you sharing your story and wish you luck. . If you haven’t as yet, you may want to check out our Facebook page: There you will find other community members who discuss and exchange ideas about all things COPD. Remember, you are always welcome here in our online community.
    Warm regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

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