What an emotional evening :-(

I posted a few days ago regarding my Mum to which many of you lovely people replied and gave me advice and reassurance.

Today my Mum had a bad day. She text asking me what I was up to, then I got a missed call from her. I like to make sure that I am totally free before I ring her so I can spend time talking to her. So with time on my hands I gave her a call. Asked her if she was ok and she said no and that she really wants to see me, this is very unlike her. She then handed the phone to my Dad who also asked for me to come over. Horrible thoughts were rushing through my mind. Before I left I rang the doctors hoping to get an emergency last minute appointment, the receptionist said no sorry even though I told her that my mum was having breathing problems and she desperately needs to see a doctor. She ended up telling me that someone would phone my Mum soon.

When I got to her she opened the door and just hugged me so tight and burst into tears. I kept asking what was wrong but she just wouldn't reply. When she finally managed to speak she just said "I can't take much more of this, it's everyday" she was talking about the breathlessness. I told her to do the controlled breathing. Shortly after a doctors technician rang (not quite the person we wanted to speak to) she was quite helpful and told us that Mum has mild COPD with a reading of 67% My Mum was never told this.

Reading others comments I assume this is relatively good? I reassured her that it was.

I stated that before she found out what was wrong her breathing wasn't half as bad and now she is breathless everyday! She agreed that a lot of it must be anxiety. She is on steroidal inhalers not sure of the name but the technician said that it is the best medication. she has also been prescribed anti depressants.

I referred back to a comment made by Peter yesterday and all he has gone through and as he stated you go through something akin to bereavement and she could totally relate to this. She said she is in shock.

Can people please tell me. Does the controlled breathing work for them? When I sat with her tonight to do it and told her to do this every time she has a breathless moment she said but what if it doesn't help or what if comes back a few minutes later? I didn't know what to say :-(

A woman who has been this strong lady who I've always depended on now depends on me. I will do whatever it takes to make sure she is as comfortable as possible in her everyday life. Has anyone tried hypnotherapy for anxiety?

Sorry for the long winded post but I'm emotionally drained and needed to off load.

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31 Replies

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  • Kim8060, tell your mum controlled breathing is the way, but also trying to stay positive, ( not always easy), but with your support it will get easier. you & your mum take care

  • Thank you. I think it is just in her nature she worries about EVERYTHING! So this is the icing on the cake and being positive is just impossible right now. I told her that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel and she just said I hope so.

  • its a very good reading for your mum,dont worry,try to calm her down, sit with her and explain,its a good reading and breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth ,slowly and easy,the inhalers with help her,have thay give her any,but the reading is very good,post what ever you want,we don't mind were hear fir you , 24/7 the forum is on and members are on line,tell your mum shes ok with that reading but I think shes in shock mostly,keep her calm,and show her this post, I will not lie to her, shes good and no fags,wishing you and her well,xxx

  • Thank you, not sure of what inhalers she is on but she does take them. We bought her the COPD DVD but she hasn't watched it yet. I keep stressing to her about the breathing, I have also told my dad to maybe do it with her so she has someone to focus on and do it with. She has never smoked and up until about 4 years ago she was the fittest lady I knew but TB took hold and things went down hill from there. Thank you for taking time to respond. X

  • I am so sorry that your mum is struggling, will she have enough breath to speak to someone at the BLF helpline tomorrow, I hope she can get an urgent appointment with her gp before the Easter weekend too. She must be reassured that her COPD is classed as mild though but anxiety and breathlessness seem to go hand in hand. I hope all goes well.

  • Thank you. Yes we managed to get an appointment for tomorrow to see the dr. I told her to write down any questions or concerns she has. Hopefully she will come out a little brighter. X

  • Hi there Kim nice to meet you.The good news is she is at the mild stage which must be of great comfort to you and will be to your mum too at some point.We are all so very different,I think its early days yet for your mum things havnt fallen into their correct places yet but they will really they will.When told the news its very scary but all she heard was copd not mild or anything else she has thought shes not long for this world and her days are numbered bless her heart,I get that when i was having a biopsy on my neck for cancer Id buried myself by the time I got to the bus stop,all was well though.Then I had a heart attack and for the next few months any pain i thought was another heart attack of course it wasnt.Our imaginations run riot with us at times,I think your mum would get alot from this forum when she is ready at the moment she is only seeing illness and picking up on that more than the good stuff that goes with our illnesses,maybe for the time being just relay the happier stories and jokes to her and let her hear the lighter side of us.You sound like a fantastic daughter to have ,be patient remind her she is only mild and has got zillions of years to go before she needs to be worrying especially with good exercise healthy eating etc.Shes scared and panic breathing you know your mum better than any of us,she needs to be able to distract herself from her concentration on breathing yes she needs to slow that breathing down try and think how she could change her thought process from omg I cant breathe to saying im good im ok dont be daft slowly slowly does it yes your getting there slowly slowly yep im good.my lungs are only mildly effected dont throw your toys out the pram yet silly Im alright slow slow and breathe.I promise you things will improve for your mum im sure you are all beside yourself with worrying over her,be understanding and patient and sometimes a little firm when needed we can get outta control when panicking it is horrid,most of us here suffer with those horrid moments from time to time I know I do.Sorry to have gone on I hope your mum comes to terms with her mild copd soon.Takecare now my thoughts are with you Kim. :) Janexx

  • Thank you Jane. I have read many of your replies to people and you are a huge reassurance. I think if she can get this breathing in hand she will be fine. It happens everyday towards late afternoon and worries my dad sick (he is 81) I told her that we can reassure her and tell her to do things but at the end of the the day the rest is up to her she has to take control. I will pass on your helpful info and kind words. Thank you again and wishing you well. Xx

  • Hi Kim 8060.Sorry to hear about your mum we all feel a bit anxious confused when we are first diagnosed and 67 PC is not to bad at all.My reading is in the low twenties and I can still get about albeit slowly and I have had copd 9 years.Tell mum a positive mindset is vital in coping with it in the early days of diagnosis and concentrate on what you can do,not what you can't .A good way to help control your breathing is to sit upright and try to relax breath in through your nose to the count of 2 then breath out through pursed lips to the count of 4.Hope this helps,best wishes.Love Bengunn.xx

  • Thank you Bengunn. She does try with the breathing bless her but gets so scared and doesn't do it properly. It's a vicious circle because then if it's not working she panics more! I'm sure in time she will get used to it. Wishing you well.x

  • Yes,some great advice there Kim,what a lovely daughter you are,but you must not burn yourself out,you have your family to care for.

    I would just add to Bengunns good advice,when she does that breathing control,to make sure she is relaxing her shoulders,as we are inclined to hunch up,when in a panic!

    I made myself sit in front of the dressing table mirror,in the bedroom.& watch myself,great lesson! I can now automatically do it,it's so important to relax those shoulders,or it makes for harder breathing.

    Do hope Mum comes to terms with things soon,it would be good if she could join in,on this site herself,I'm sure she will,when more accepting of things.

    Take care,love Wendells xxxx

  • Thank you Wendells and yes she does exactly that and hunches over. I will pass on your helpful advice and hopefully she will start to get used to the techniques. Take care.x

  • Hi Kim I started with lung problems a very long time ago. I was told Asthma this went on for many years when like your Mum I was diagnosed with COPD, I think I would have panicked if I was told straight away what it was. What I am really trying to say is time passes and we get to learn to live with it. She will learn as well she is not on her own even if she thinks she is. Just give it time and treatment tell her it does help. Rose ((((hugs)))) to your Mum

  • Thank you Rose

  • Hi Kim, what a worry you have but as Wendells says, do take care of yourself too. This could go on for a long time and your mum needs to take control. We have all been there, it's scarey.

    By golly the breathing techniques do work. There are some YouTube clips on pursed lip breathing, do have a look. 'Getting it' is life changing.

    When humans are stressed we shallow breath just using the top of lungs which of course makes everything worse, anxiety & panic take over. I absolutely cannot let this happen to me because I live alone, don't want to depend on anyone and want to live a long and healthy life, it is so very possible with mild copd. She can live a full and active life if she is willing to change a little bit and learn. Bottom line, it's up to her.

    I wish her the strength to take control and I wish you all the best in coping.

    You are fantastic to care so much, your mum is a lucky woman. :)

    Edit: scroll down to read next, there's another interesting old post from Smartt for you and mum to read. Very best wishes, P

  • Thank you Peeg. Just when you think she is ok she goes back down hill. Meds are all trial and error and in the meantime she just needs to learn how to deal with it. I told her yesterday I am not concerned about her condition but her state of mind, once this has been sorted I'm sure she could conquer the world ;-) Thank you for your post and your recommended post by Smartt. X

  • Hi.. Has your Mum got an aero chamber with her inhaler, I find this really helps to control my breathing and it makes it easier to take my inhalers..

    Make sure she takes her antidepressants they really will help while she comes to terms with her copd .. Jan xx

  • Yes she does Jan but she is getting quite bad thrush. I have told her to take the inhaler to the dr today to make sure she is using it correctly.mshe has been on the antidepressants for a week now so another week or so and she should be feeling a little brighter. Thank you. X

  • Hi Kim8060, that is very frightening for you to see your mum so scared. I'm sure she will come to terms with her illness, as we all do, given time. It will remain hard for you until she settles but I'm sure she will after a while. I am pleased for her that she has you to turn to. So many of us need the forum for information and reassurance. You are a lovely daughter and we are here to support you. Good luck. Aluson

  • Thank you Aluson, this forum is a godsend but she isn't ready to come on it yet. Hopefully you will get to hear from her soon. As soon as I left her yesterday my first thoughts were I need to get on here and post something. Such amazing people with wonderful words of advice. I am so grateful. X

  • Hi Kim8060 - How dreadful for you. It is one of the most distressing things seeing someone you love so scared. Firstly - the FEV reading is good! My husband is now at about 25%! I was just wondering if it would help her to find out more about the illness so that she could feel more in control? Firstly I would advise you ring the helpline (click on the red balloon) - they have some fantastic leaflets and will be able to advise if there is a breath easy group in the area. It may help her to see other people who have COPD and are coping. Also there is a course you may have heard of on here - PR - Pulmonary Rehabilitation which is a course of about 8 weeks of controlled supervised exercise and information. Your Mum may not be deemed "ill" enough to go on the course - but you maybe able to ask her gp for a referral based on her anxiety.

    My husband gets very anxious when he is breathless and does get panic attacks - he was referred to an anxiety nurse which again is something you could ask the gp. AND I found out through our practise nurse that we have a specialist respiratory team in our area but we needed a referral from the doctor. Again it might be worth asking.

    I would also take her to the doctor and explain exactly how anxious she is. I am sure they will be able to help or I hope they can offer you some help. The helpline maybe able to offer you some advise too. Take good care, TAD xxx

  • Hi TAD thank you for your post. I have been on the net researching and looking things up for about 3 weeks now. I have mentioned all that you have to my Mum. We have a breath easy group right near where I live and A respiratory team a couple of miles away. When I told her she just said ok but I know she isn't ready to hear all about it yet. She wants to wait to see a consultant first which is fair enough. Her doctor is well aware of her anxiety, he said that the breathlessness is 90% her and 10% her condition. She gets it the same time everyday and I think she sits there looking at the clock which obviously doesn't help, a cycle she needs to get it of.

    I will definitely get her to ring the helpline if she is no happier after seeing the dr today.

    Thank you for taking time out to post and I wish you and your husband well. X

  • Utube has lots of breathing exercises for copd. Including for when anxious. Breathing with diaphragm helps enormously ...opens up biggest part of lungs for max benefit. X

  • Thank you Julie, we have looked at one together. Once she has fought this anxiety hopefully she can learn to control it a lot better. When we found out it was mild I told her it was good news but as my dad said it doesn't help knowing that when you are fighting for breath, I said yes but at least she can bear that in mind when she is and hopefully this will calm her down a bit. X

  • Practice calm breathing when calm ...helps a lot. And note what's happening before and after ...triggers and feelings. May be as simple as expecting to be breathless on climbing stairs and pushing faster than should. Breathlessness can be got used to...so is easier to cope with. X

  • We are our own worst enemies sometimes.After being told I had pneumonia and then ct scan showing I had emphysema and the scare of not being able to breathe in my head I had about 6 months to live,this was 18 months ago.I think the panic attacks are the most difficult thing to deal with because they are so hard to control.If you can get your Mum on a pulmonary rehab class she will learn lots of coping techniques and will find it easier.The best of luck!D.

  • Thank you

  • Hi

    I have had a course of hypnosis, it was brilliant and totally changed and improved my life. A lot of my problems were in my head, because in the past something had caused a panic attack I assumed that if I did the same thing again I was going to panic again. So before I even did what ever it was I was wound right up. He dealt with all the triggers and showed me how to control sob attacks if they happened.

    Do some research, find a well recommended and qualified therapist.

    You can get disks from the internet, not quite as effective as a live meeting, but just sit and listen to them but don't take any action the first time, that way you know there is nothing harmful on them. You might think "what a load of rubbish" but follow the instructions two or three times and if like me you suddenly find it makes sense and really helps.

    Good luck, most of us on this site have really bad days, lets hope you can find some help foe her. If you need any more information just ask me

  • Thanks moneal. It was my mum that mentioned hypnotherapy so I assume it's something she may like to try. My brother and I were talking about paying for her to see a councillor but I don't think she would like or benefit from this. We would rather spend the money on something she wants to do and if there is no way of getting over her anxiety then perhaps hypnotherapy is the answer. Are there any Disks that you would recommend? Thank you for you advice.x

  • Afternoon

    I'm doing a PR course at the moment the first couple of weeks I was rubbish and got myself in a right state the two morning I had to go, so last Tuesday my husband rang and said I wouldn't be there Wednesday because I felt ill. That evening we had a long talk about it and he said if it makes you that stressed it does more harm than good so don't go but it's your choice, the next few days I found myself more relaxed because I felt back in control. I started back this Monday and today and did double the amount of exercise. Your mum feels out of control so at times feels stressed and depressed, PR will help your mum realize she can control her breathing, teach her how to exercise safely and give talks about stress, depression diet etc and how to cope with the illness but more importantly she will meet others so she knows she's not alone. She's very lucky to have a supportive family that is very important.

    Kim xxxx

  • Thank you Kim for your words of advice. I really appreciate it. I have mentioned PR to her before, hopefully when she sees the consultant he can refer her. Xx

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