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 Very lucky - Part 2 - the rest of the story . . .
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SteveinMechanicsburg
Member

68 Posts

Posted - Jun 30 2017 :  07:40:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I have noticed (over the past two years) a trend toward lower O2 - in general. This is an indication that I will be on O2 in the next few years.

Strange that I can walk 8 miles routinely, up and down hills with no breathing difficulty. I will breathe more deeply and faster going up hills but breathing is never laborious. On the flats or down hill, I breathe barely out of my tidal range. Further, I don't feel abnormally weak or tired when I walk. I feel absolutely normal.

With medication, I don't wheeze or bronchoconstrict. I can sleep well. Haven't had a chest infection for years. I make excess mucus but I can get rid of it and it doesn't seem like much (but, what is much?)

But it is at night, when my breathing has slowed, that I will not be able to maintain a sufficient O2 level through narrowed bronchi and the small tubes leading to the alveoli. Shortly after that, I will not be able to maintain O2 levels during exertion. Again, strange to think I will be able to walk for miles with normal respiration but still have to wear O2 on my back! I also predict that the last step is needing O2 at rest. I'd give myself 5 years for this to occur.

I guess that when most people see someone with O2, they think "what a pathetic, weak, and handicapped person he must be - how awful that must be." But, I'd be able to walk farther and faster than most people my age. Probably none of that "breathing through a straw" sensation. Go figure.

I suppose I should get my international travel out of the way pretty soon. I can pack an O2 concentrator in my luggage for use at night but, if I need it for exertion or just being at altitude on the plane, that may not be worth the hassle.

Yep, most days, I'd never know I have COPD. It is absolutely in the background and readily forgotten. But as time goes by . . .

tsainta
Contributing Member

USA
1696 Posts

Posted - Jun 30 2017 :  12:33:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Right you are. My wife and I did as much international travel as we could about 10-12 years ago for the same reasons you are considering. It was one of the best decisions we have ever made. I went on nighttime oxygen after we had traveled internationally for about three years and then within three years I was on oxygen 24/7. We have some great memories we never would have had if we hadn't anticipated the future.

Tony-CA

50% of dealing with COPD is common sense.
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jmrommes
Contributing Member

1722 Posts

Posted - Jun 30 2017 :  1:07:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Steve, I won't argue that you will likely end up on O2 at night. Most of us do, and a lot of the sleeping public that doesn't have lung disease probably ought to be on some at night, simply because everyone's breathing gets shallower at night.

I would give yourself a bit more credit than you do and don't think that O2 for exercise will be coming any time soon. Maybe, and certainly keep an eye on it, but you could surprise yourself and not need it for many years. You have a really good exercise program and that will certainly help in the long run. I would venture a guess that you are a very long way from needing it at rest!

Nevertheless, I think your plan to travel now while you can is a very good one, although I do a lot of traveling using O2 and generally it works pretty well. It's a lot less cumbersome when you don't have to haul it around, though!

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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SteveinMechanicsburg
Member

68 Posts

Posted - Jun 30 2017 :  3:32:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Tsainta and you, jmrommes, for your comments.

jmrommes, I'd like to believe that you are right about O2 upon exertion and when at rest. Upon exertion, I can only hope I have, say, a decade.

As for needing O2 at rest, I admit that the idea (right now, at least) is utterly bewildering. Such a thing seems wholly implausible for a man who can walk for miles with no breathing discomfort. But I cannot say "impossible" because "COPD" is almost always accompanied by the word "progressive."

Sheesh, it's very sad to acknowledge I am approaching the O2 event horizon. But, I haven't spare brain cells so, carry on, I guess.
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SteveinMechanicsburg
Member

68 Posts

Posted - Sep 01 2017 :  11:55:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thought I'd close the loop on this: I was to learn the results of the sleep study today. Today, before my appointment, it was canceled and moved out a month and a half. I stated my disappointment and asked to know if I need O2 at night. (I figured if I was bad enough, I would have learned immediately but borderline?) I was called later and told just two things: I do not have sleep apnea. (I never thought I did.) and I do not need O2 at night. Further, if I wished to cancel the review of the study with the expert, I was allowed to and did. (I even took that option to cancel as a good sign.)

Truthfully, I had gotten fully accustomed to the idea that I would need it and using it didn't bother me much. When the time comes (and I suspect it will) I will be okay with using it.
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