In June 2007 I had a spontaneous lung collapse in my left lung apparently caused by a rapid onset, symptomless pneumonia. Starting in November I began waking up in the morning with an ache in my lungs which made it painful to inhale or exhale that took a while to clear once I got up. Now, every morning I awake in a sweat and it hurts more and more and takes longer to "clear" during the days. It now wakes me up during the night so I can only get 3-4 hours of sleep at one time. A CT showed a nodule in my left lung which the surgeon said was probably scar tissue from the pneumonia. It also showed 3 nodules on my thyroid. FNB of each was benign. A PET scan of my chest and abdomen was clear. I have developed a deep raspiness in my voice, difficulty swallowing and tinnitus. I am so tired and frustrated because it takes so long to get an appointment to see doctors in our small town. I am a 49 year old female and was a heavy smoker from age 16 to 27. I started smoking again for about 3 years 3-6 cigarettes a day and quit that 18 months ago. In the last 18 months I have had a total hysterectomy for ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids and a FNB on my left breast due to a cyst. My left breast has had a dark discharge since September. My mother died of lung cancer at 53. Please help.
You seem to have been through a lot to say the least.
If the lung pain occurs when you wake up and there is that need to “clear” the airways – you may benefit from altering your body position during sleep. It would be ideal to change positions from time to time to aid in the drainage of fluids within the lung. There are some people who feel most comforatble when lying face down (then there are others who feel stifled and who breathe a lot less). For some people, sleeping with the head up with 2-3 pillows (some are almost in the seated position).
Another thing to consider is whether you have problems with tolerating dust and you feel short of breath. For this, you could clean up the sleeping quarters more frequently. There are also some medications to limit the reaction to dust – this would be best discussed with your doctor when you do get that appointment. Some tests for lung capacity could also be done to measure if drugs that help improve air flow (bronchodilators) are suitable for you.
Try to take enough fluids, to make the fluid in the lung less viscid and hence easier to clear up in the morning. Stay positive, it must be hell waking up to a bad morning everyday.
I do take a prescription nasal spray each day for allergies (oral allergy medications make me sleepy). Since I developed allergies about 4 years ago I have done everything the allergist recommended to alleviate the symptoms. My bedroom is dusted and vacuumed daily, I have limited the number of dust retaining items in the room - pillows, curtains, knick knacks, etc - to the bare essentials, all pillows and mattresses have allergy covers, all linens are washed once a week, I have a humidifier running all day set to the percentage recommended by the allergist, etc.
The head of the bed is already elevated 4 inches because the ENT thinks I have acid reflux. And that makes me feel like I am slipping out of bed which means I move regularly in the night because I am constantly battling to find a comfortable position, I drink between 5-6 litres of water a day.
Wow. It seems the only thing you don't have is Michael Jackson's oxygen chamber.
An evaluation by a pulmonologist would be beneficial. You could talk about the need for testing lung capacity and the need for pulmonary rehabilitation. The joke about Michael Jackson is half-meant, Im wondering also if you may need some supplemental oxygen.
Have you also considered taking the oral anti-allergy medications in the evening to help you sleep?
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