Mended Hearts Open Forum

Fixed my breathing problem

  • 1.  Fixed my breathing problem

    Posted 06-05-2020 13:35
    Edited by Anthony Smith 06-07-2020 01:08
    CABG x2 January 17th, this year.

    Maybe documenting this will help someone else...has anyone experienced this?

    About a month after surgery, I started having breathing problems.  I just couldn't catch my breath.  I would get winded walking from my desk to the kitchen.  Going upstairs would end with heavy breathing for 2 or 3 minutes.  The breathing felt like I was having a panic attack.  I just couldn't bring in enough air.

    This went on for about 2 1/2 months.  Multiple visits to my PCP and cardiologist -- neither had a clue.  Heart was working perfectly, lungs sounded clear.

    My breathing problem prevented me from doing the exercise I needed during my recovery.  I got very sad and discouraged.  My emotional state was very bad.

    My PCP requested a referral to a pulmonologist. This didn't happen because of the Virus.  He also prescribed me an inhaler (once a day) on the off chance that I had COPD.  I used it for 5 days with no effect, so I quit.

    Then it happened...

    I went upstairs to take a shower.  Usual routine of having to stop at the top of the steps and recover for 2 or 3 minutes.  I got naked and went into the bathroom -- still "panic breathing".  I looked in the mirror and noticed something VERY weird.

    As I gasped for breath, my stomach would expand and contract.  I immediately realized that I was breathing almost exclusively with my diaphragm.  It was an amazing moment.  I immediately tasked my brain with focusing on breathing with my chest.  Within 2 days my breathing problem completely disappeared.

    Bottom line:  I believe that my brain changed the way I was breathing because my chest hurt -- we all know how radical CABG is to the chest wall.  In a way, it was "all in my head".  Sometimes self-diagnosis and self-awareness can do amazing things.

    Anthony Smith
    Lake Elsinore CA