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Trouble with breathing

Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2010

I just wanted some suggestions, my grandmother was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in April 2004. She was 68. The doctor said it was too close to her heart to operate, said she may not come out of the surgery alive. So they opted for Chemo/Radiation....after treatment she was seen regularly to check her lungs and at the 5 year mark they stopped her Oncologist visits. She is seen regulary for other things and has a physical due next month.

My concern is her breathing, when she gets up for any amount of time even just to the kitchen and back (which isnt more than a few feet) she is winded, breathing labored, picture breathing during labor the breaths through the lips without the great exageration. She says it is asthma and uses an inhaler, but I am just not so sure.

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007


I would call the doctor and ask him to schedule an x-ray - any sudden changes in breathing are cause for alarm. It could be asthma, or COPD, or bronchitis/pneumonia; not necessarily a return of cancer, but you need to be sure so she can be treated properly. If it is asthma, she maybe needs a change in medication, or added medicines, like Advair or Spiriva (I have emphysema, and use both of those plus my inhaler, PLUS I have a nebulizer if I need it)

Best wishes,

PBJ Austin
Posts: 347
Joined: Mar 2009

Breathing problems are nothing to dismiss, especially at her age and with her health history. Please urge her to see a doctor ASAP.

Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2010

I am just confused at the fact that this has been going on for a while....she has been to multiple doctors for other issues, they have to see how she is breathing, why havent they urged her to get checked out further. My problem is that I tell her a few times a month to get checked out for the breathing and she dismisses me and unfortunately I work full time as and it is hard for me to get time off to go with her to her appointment, if she would even let me. I just dont know what to do....

mamacita5's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2010

Tell her of your concerns and that you cannot rest until she is tested by her doctor to see what is causing her shortness of breath. Perhaps she will let you go with her to alleviate your worries. But... she may be ignoring her doctors advice to get it checked out, because SHE is worried. Just say, "Grandma, let's take care of this together".

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Lots of things can cause a person to be winded (heart, lung, allergies, disease...). She needs to have a complete physical by a doctor that is looking for the cause. Over the years I've found it best to tell the doctor all the symptoms and then let the doctor tell me the diagnosis. Sometimes they need further tests to confirm their initial suspicions or to rule out possible problems. My doctors tell me that I will stop seeing the oncologist soon, but a yearly xray will be a part of my long term care once I make the 5 year mark. I also see a pulmonolist for breathing problems that turned out to be asthma on top of the lung cancer. I wouldn't put up with getting winded walking across the room. I hope the problem can be diagnosed and corrected, but if not, she needs oxygen support. It is very difficult on the heart and everything else to be constantly out of breath.

C. Abbott

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