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bad air??..but still NED!!!


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I get so confused when I go to post a new topic, I am never quite sure what to stick it under. Test/time is good here as Mom had a test, but other things are happening too, none of which are pertaining to cancer at this moment as she is still NED!!!!! 1yr and 3 months since the end of treatment. I am a Happy Camper.

Mom had a follow-up scan, last Friday,(her previous one mentioned an area of density and to f/u) but we ended up in ER and admitted on Saturday. SOB and a new severe pain in lower back and neck. Nothing was ever found there and she actually pretty much never complained of pain once she got there. Mom tends to have MAJOR anxiety/panic attacks over just about anything these days. I would be willing to bet she made herself ill thinking about the results of the scan, and knowing she was going to have to wait like 5 days to get them. I could be wrong, but i have seen this happen to many times, she panics, sometimes over real pain and it gets to the point after a few days of this that she has chest pain, and she is in such a state of distress that her breathing gets worse and worse and she ends up in the hospital. I would say maybe 5 times we have done this. She always begins to improve and nothing is ever really found to be wrong. ALthough this time there was a touch of pneumonia or maybe infectious bronchitis that they treated with high dose anti-biotics. Which would have explained her cough for the last week. BUT I am having a new thought today....It seems they get her well at the hospital and then she gets home and never continues to imrove, always returning to the same downhill streeet. ALways the same symptoms. Could there possibly be something in her house/air/carpet anything that could cause her breathing to get so bad. Even the drs canot explain why it went from ok to horrible, no meds even prednizone help it really.

She lives in a fairly old (30 yrs probably) apartment complex. To me it has always smelled muty like inthere. Like the air was heavy or something. Yesterday Mom made a comment about how at the hospital it doesnt take her 3-4 hours to clear her head every morning. Everyday at home, she wakes up just coughin horribly,says her head is stuffed not stuffy, but in general just feels like crap for a few hours. Why doesnt tis happen at the hospital? Cuz they have clean air? With her being on o2 24/7 the concentrator is using the air in her apartment to give her the o2. I dunno i am probably just imaging this, but something tells me to pursue this, but how and where do i start?

I cleaned her house like it has never been cleaned yesterday and today before i got her home. It was just filled with dust. Somethings i washed but some went to the trash. I could not believe the dust, i mean i do dust when i clean but not like I should apparently. I am just going to have to find the time to spend more time cleaning her house and making it a fresh and free of ????? DO those air purifiers/cleaners work? I know they are expensive, but if they will give Mom better air to breath...

Thanks for listening and if anyone has any thoughts on this please please speak up.

God Bless


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Could be that when she is in the hospital

there is help right there for her,

when she is home she may worry about it,

and that could bring on a bit of anxiety.

Hope all your cleaning will help her.

Get rid of all you can without hurting

her feelings, some old things are nice

but also accumulate dust.



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Hi Kim I read your post and just have to take time to answer. I know how bad those anxiety and panic attacks can get.

First of all I will say that she probably feels more secure at the hospital because she knows that if she gets in trouble help is close at hand. What you described does sound like a panic attack.

One night Johnny and I left our home just to go buy dog food. Didn't expect to be gone more than an hour. He had been having both anxiety and panic attacks witch his doctor refused to recognize or treat. Because he had it he started to depend on the Vicodin thinking that it would help him. That night he had taken it just a half hour before we left home. Half way to the feed store he remembered that he didn't have it with him. I reminded him that he had just taken it and we wouldn't be gone long. It took only minutes for him to get very short of breath and he was almost screaming with a pain in his chest.

I took him to the emergency room but he wouldn't go in. He was claustraphobic and told me that he didn't want to be put in a small room and left alone to die. By the time we finally got him in there he was in serious danger of having a stroke. His blood pressure was 217 over 122. The nurse came with a vial of medicine(can't think of the name right now)and told him it was to help the pain. She put the needle to his port and before she even started releasing the medication he thanked her and told her it was better already!

Like your mom they could find nothing wrong with him physically. His release papers said that the pain was brought on by anxiety! After that whenever he had a bad anxiety attack he would mention the hospital and the good medicine they gave him. That made for an even worse situation.

Those attacks take a heavy toll on both the patient and the caregiver. In time they take a physical toll as well. I'm not sure what you can do to help stop them but I can suggest something that may help her breathe easier and that may reduce the attacks. Ask her doctor about trying her on Theophllyn. It is often used for chronic asthma patients and it relaxes the air ways and makes it easier to breathe. I have always suspected that had Johnny not been taken off of it his condition would never have gotten so far out of hand.

As for her apartment there are several things you can check for but if they are presant the only thing to do would be to move her. First of all the building is too new to have asbestos but often over the years the insolation deteriorates to a dust and filters through the ceiling and onto everything. There could also be some kind of mold hidden between the walls and undetected. That can often be deadly.

I believe that your mom's problem is anxiety but anxiety that is brought on by something physical. Feeling like she can not breathe. I also learned that raising the oxygen output is not always the answer. Often it can cause the blood gases to become even more unbalanced.

I learned a lot about those things and learned them the hard way. I hope that what I have said may help but if not I hope you find the answers you are looking for. Please don't let up until you figure out what is going on. The answer is there somewhere you just have to find it. Keep us informed of what you find out.


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So excited to hear about NED! What marvelous news.

My mom has panic attacks. Her first one occurred shortly after 9/11 when we were flying. I thought she was having a heart attack, and almost took her to the hospital during our layover. We made it back here, got her in, and they diagnosed the attack.

Fortunately, Mom's drs made it clear to her that these were physical responses, and that it wasn't a case where she just needed to 'calm down' to make everything all right.

Mom has her 'panic pills', and now knows it's OK to take one when she needs it. She even has used them preventatively (she gets claustrophobic, and had a hard time with the radiation on her skull with the restrictive mask over her face. The dr. said she could take a pill before her tx and it worked out just fine).

It's just good to remember that a panic attack is a physical response, and not a weakness. Hope she does better soon.

:) Kelly

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The hospital seems to be her safety zone.

See if there is any improvment in her breathing since you cleaned and dusted.

She seems to be really scared and maybe the hospital is a safe place for her because she knows that she will feel better there. Plus of course, 24 hour help available.

Is your mom on any medication that can help her with her anxiety? If not maybe you should talk to her doctor about giving her her something that could help. Does your mom have enough money that she could afford to have someone say over with her and help her, keep the apartment clean etc. These are just suggestions.

Unfortunately, I don't know the answers. Just some advice which I hope is right. But, most importantly, I just hope her breathing gets under control and she could just stay home and heal. It would be so much easier for everybody if she could stay home.

Prayers sent to your mom.

I am sorry you are going through this. Back and forth most really takes a toll on you, young lady. There has to be anxiety on you to. You must take some time no matter how little to just go somewhere by yourself and just chill out, if only for a couple of hours. It has to be so hard and so scarey for you to keep going through this. But just know that you are doing great and your compassion for your mom shows in your postings. You're a very special daughter.

Take care Kimmey, fingers crossed the dust is the answer.


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Thanks for the help everyone

First, I guess i forgot to say she has a severe case of anxiety disorder. For some reason like way more than the average person in her condition. Its bad. But she is on Xanax, she has .5mg that i give her 3 times a day. She has 1mg ones that she will take like if we are going to a dr appt. Actually we were even given a script for the 2mg xanax in case she needed them. doc even said xanax has a extended release one that last 12 hours and she might should take it and then take the other ones as needed, kinda the same concept with breakthru pain meds. She will panic about just having to leave the house. She knows how hard it is just to get dressed and getting to the car is very difficult, so if she takes the extra 1mg when she gets up she has a much easier time getting dressed,etc..I have begun to not tell her of aapointments till the day before so she wont sit home in that state of panic. But I get on to her constantly about this, she has nothing to do but sit there and think the worst about any and everything. Its like thats what she thrives on, worry. The things she worries about are sometimes just totally ridiculas. This is not the Mom I used to have. I have always had serious anxiety, well i thought I did till ive seen my Mom. I can remember her telling me "it was all in my head" or just "forget about it", "calm down" all those tihngs that one who has never experienced a true panic attack say. She has now seen for herself how REAL and scary they are, and add compromised breathing and well i just cannot imagine how scary that is. Funny though in the 18 months i have been caring for Mom, my panic attacks have disappeared.

The hospital safety issue is something else i have thought of, I guess it was the last time we were there i said something to her about it as well as again this time when we are there. It has to be reassuring to her to know that "help" is right there. I think thats a very real issue, as there are times when she is panicked and cannot get her breath that she will call me to come over and once im there and get xanax in her (another time she take an extra..when needed)sheis fine within 45 minutes or so and i can go home. One thing that was hard but gettin better was getting her to take the xanax, she didnt not want to take them as she has seen up close what xanax addiction can do to someone, but after many talks with the docs explaining the the benifit to her was far greater than the concern of her being addicted or dependant on them. So now when she calls i first ask if she has taken a xanax and get her to take one, now there have beem times where she could not even get to them to take one, just no breath to get into the other room, and the more she panicks the worse the breathing gets. Luckily it only takes me 7-10 minutes to get to her. But I also have put Xanax all thru out her house, (good thing she lives alone and has no company)next to her bedside, in her purse, in the bathroom, etc

I have mentioned once about assisted living, as I know she does not want to live with me. She said once that I will know she has given up if she has to move in with me. She used to be so very strong and independant woman, but she has long been replaced with a weak, frail, scared, agoraphobic (sp) woman.

Keeping her calm has been one of the hardest things ive dealt with and still do on a daily basis. Just the thought of me leaving town scares her to death. I have to go about 25 miles to another town this afternoon for a dance competition for my daughter, we will probably be gone 3 hours, she has been worring about that since i told her last nite. She just knows something will happen while im gone. Needless to say I dont go anywhere, or get much time alone.

OK now this is turning into a pity for Kim, and thats not where I was going. I am going to get the air purifier thing too.

Thanks agian all...oH oH..what about having her carpets steam cleaned? Do those places really get them clean?I have used my steam cleaner on her carpet and it cleans the top surface, but not down deep. And do I really need to go buy her new pillows?



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From carpets to pillows even have the matterres clean will improved the air quality. My sensitivity to dust is very high now and I get alittle nervous when I feel this dust and up goes anxity. Am not saying this will solve all your problems but I think when you mom smells the fresh air from the Oreck she will relax more. I feel so sorry for her cause you can tell she is scared of being alone, what will tomorrow bring and a hospital care gives her more comfort. Bless you for taking such good care of her and may God look over your mother.

God Bless

Don & Letty

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I ma so glad that your mom in NED!!! Hip Hip Hooray. God does answer prayers!

As for the other problems, I do know that anxiety can cause a world of problems. Ater Dennis died, I began having a lot of issues with anxiety and even panic attacks that I had never had before. Soe strange things can happen when this hits.

I do have two air purifiers in my house and they do seem to work. I used to have allergies and took heavy doses of Allegra at certain times of year. I haven't had an Allegra (or any allergy meds) since I have the purifiers in my house.

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