Just as the title says. For over a year, I have been struggling every day. Let me start off by saying that Im a 22 year old male.
About a year ago, I contracted pneumonia. It started out as a cough, and just generally not feeling well. I went to the hospital, they did some x-rays, and at first they said my lungs were fine. But then the next day I got a phone call from the radiologist saying that he had looked at them, and it appeared that I was just starting to get the early stages of a pneumonia infection. He promptly prescribed me antibiotics, after a week or so, I seemed fine. They also gave me some ventolin (a bronchodialator) because I complained of wheezing, which had shown up.
After about a month, I noticed that I was having a bit more trouble breathing. I continued to take the prescribed inhalers. I wasnt feeling sick anymore though. I should also mention that growing up, I had pretty bad asthma. But into my teenage years, it kind of just, went away. My parents stopped giving me inhalers, etc. Of course, if I ever pushed myself just a bit too hard, I'd start wheezing and have a bit of trouble, but never anything serious, my breathing would go back to normal once I took a break. And I hadnt used an inhaler. (I now realize that was probably not a good thing to do, Ive read that the absence of asthma symptoms doesnt mean you should stop taking your inhalers, but all throughout my teenage years, I was just fine). Also, I should probably mention that I started smoking at age 18. And I continued to smoke all the way up until I got pnuemonia last year. Ive been cigarette free ever since.
Anyway, back to the issue. So after a couple months, I really noticed that I was having a hard time breathing. I felt like I wasnt getting as much air as I used to. It also felt like I couldnt take a full deep breathe. And I noticed I had a lot more gunk in my throat, like a sticky white mucus. And eventually I even started to see blood in the mucus. One night, I was having so much trouble, I had a panic attack. I didnt know what to do, so I called 911. The doctors saw me, listened to my chest, said it sounded fine. They did x-rays, again, they said it came up fine. They even followed up and did a CT Scan, and the report basically said I was fine (Although they did note that I had a few "nodules", but they werent too concerned about them). Still, they referred me to a respirologist (Pulmonologist).
The respirologist gave me a test, where I had to inhale this liquid, that was supposed to induce an asthma attack I believe. It was a year ago, so I dont really remember it well. I was supposed to inhale this stuff, do some breathing exercises into a tube, and repeat, until I could barely breathe anymore. And then they give you an inhaler to calm your symptoms. That whole experience sucked, but basically it was pretty apparent right off the bat that I had a very strong reaction to this stuff, and my breathing immediately started to decline.
So I was diagnosed with asthma and prescribed steroid corticosteroid inhalers, inhaled twice a day. And I thought to myself "Finally, Im going to get better".
But I havent. Its been a year, and I actually think my symptoms my have slowly become worse. Ive been taking my inhaler religiously, rarely ever missing a dose. And the strange thing is, I had to go back to do a PFT about 5 months ago, and my results came up that my breathing capacity was just a bit below average, but still pretty good.
Yet, I feel the same symptoms that started a year ago. Im constantly struggling to catch my breath. If I talk for too long, I start having to take pauses in between words just to catch it. I cant do any sort of exercise or physical activity, because within minutes I cant breathe. Im always coughing up gunk. Always having to clear my throat, which ******* ***** because its such a rude thing to do, but I just cant help it. Im unemployed, I would work at a grocery store lifting ******* boxes if I had to, but I wouldnt even be able to do that. Its really depressing because Ive put on weight, and I try to exercise to get it off, but I just cant stay at it for more than 5 minutes. Sometimes I'll find myself wheezing during the day. My doctor has even reduced my dose of inhaled steroid down to once a day.
I try and tell my doctors (family and asthma doctor) about these issues. When I tell my family doctor, all he does is put a stethoscope to my chest, tell me to breathe, and then he just says "Your lungs sound fine". And the asthma doctor, well he just says "Your lung pathways are hypersensitive." So I sit there thinking Im just doomed for the rest of my life. Ive even looked up my symptoms and come across COPD, and brought this to my doctors attention, but he maintains that I dont have COPD, I just have very sensitive lungs. I should also mention that my half sister has Cystic Fibrosis. Ive tried researching if Cystic Fibrosis can manifest itself later in life in different ways, but I havent really found much.
On top of these problems, I get horrible headaches now, I get dizzy spells, when I wake up in the mornings I always feel dizzy and disoriented. I dont know if its related but I tell my family doctor and he seems to think its just anxiety.
I cant enjoy life anymore. Its just, depressing. No one seems to understand what Im going through, my family thinks Im lazy, and my doctors dont seem to know whats wrong. I just dont know what to do anymore. Every day is a stuggle and I truly feel like Im dying.
Please, if someone has professional experience, please help me out.
The first thing I thought was perhaps the pneumonia collaposed one of the lobes of your lungs, for example the right middle lobe. But your CT scan didn't show that.
I just looked on the web about lung nodules. Since your doctor does not seem to be concerned about them they must be thought of as benign. Note the symptoms you can have with lung nodules.
What Are the Symptoms of Benign Lung Nodules and Tumors?
Benign lung nodules and tumors usually cause no symptoms. This is why they are almost always found accidentally on a chest X-ray or CT scan. However, they may lead to symptoms like these:
Coughing that lasts or coughing up blood
Shortness of breath
Fever, especially if pneumonia is present
What Are the Causes of Benign Lung Nodules and Tumors?
The causes of benign lung tumors and nodules are poorly understood. But in general, they often result from problems like these:
Inflammation from infections such as:
An infectious fungus (histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis, or aspergillosis, for example)
A lung abscess
Inflammation from noninfectious causes such as:
Birth defects such as a lung cyst or other lung malformation.
These are some of the more common types of benign lung tumors:
Hamartomas are the most common type of benign lung tumor and the third most common cause of solitary pulmonary nodules. These firm marble-like tumors are made up of tissue from the lung's lining as well as tissue such as fat and cartilage. They are usually located in the periphery of the lung.
Bronchial adenomas make up about half of all benign lung tumors. They are a diverse group of tumors that arise from mucous glands and ducts of the windpipe or large airways of the lung. A mucous gland adenoma is an example of a true benign bronchial adenoma.
Rare neoplasms may include chondromas, fibromas, or lipomas -- benign tumors made up of connective tissue or fatty tissue.
So in short, maybe picking up your report and your actual CT scan and going to a different specialist may be the thing to do. Anxiety doesn't make a person cough up "gunk." It can lead you to believe that you cannot breathe though so perhaps since they hear nothing in your lungs that is why they are chalking it up to anxiety. In any case, getting a second opinion could not hurt at this point. Sometimes you need another pair of eyes to look at something and to evaluate you. You know yourself better than anybody and you are your own best advocate.
With pranayam - breathing techniques - extra oxygen will go into your lungs and heart and the blood. Practise kapalbhati ,anulom vilom and bhramri pranayam regularly and you will start to feel the difference over the time.
As you are week, start with one minute and gradually increase your timing for pranayam. When you can do more than 5 minutes, you will start to notice the difference. Do pranayam with your eyes closed, and you will feel relaxed. Something to help your body get better.
It may be that the steroid inhalers are inadequate to control your symptoms. But this is reflected in the spirometry test and the dosage is adjusted accordingly. There is an entity called exercise induced Asthma, here as the person starts exercise, the changes in the environmental air breathed in trigger an attack of asthma, causing cough and breathlessness. Have yourself evaluated for the same. This can be detected by a spirometry test.
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