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Unable to get air

beat it

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My MIL had an experience for the first time last night while sleeping. Apparently she woke up and was unable to catch her breath??? Could this be a panic attack? Shes never had any attacks before. Fluid in the pluera? She has stage 4 NSCLC. She was fine through out the day today.

One Onc told us the cancer had spread to the pluera (which we knew) and he felt the it was invading the diaphragm too.

Given this thought process and her experience does anyone want to comment on just their thoughts? She is due to start chemo next week and I will be certain the Onc is told about this.

But of course I come to all of you for your thoughts as every theroy here is worthy of consideration. And well honestly it helps me to talk to you all, very comforting, regardless of the honstey in our postings.


Beat it!!

Many Thank you's,

Beat it!!

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Well, beat it, I'm not an expert on this - waking in the night very sob - but I did have that experience a couple times and it's terrifying. To me it happened very shortly after coming home from the hospital following lung surgery. I also had dreams that I was running up hill and falling down on the ground to get more air. Scary dream, but sorta funny. Those things have stopped now. As for your MIL, to be on the safe side, it this happens again go to the ER. Good luck.


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I can't really speak to sudden middle-of-the-night sob episodes in general like your MIL is experiencing, but sob can be due to anemia -- just not enough red blood cells around to carry enough oxygen where it's needed (even with supplemental O2 going). We didn't see anemia show up until chemo started (pretty quick with it at that), but I would suppose people can be anemic on their own anyway......food for thought.


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Short of breath attacks -- I would also suggest the ER if it happens again. Definitely let the Doctor know ASAP. Chemo can do miracles for breathing depending on where the cancer is located (bronchial compression, pleural effusions, etc.) Once it grabs hold and starts working some of the SOB may go away, at least that was the case for my husband. He now has problems with SOB, but that is because he is always filling up with pleural effusion and knows when it is time to get tapped. He has never had an "attack" of SOB, so to speak.

As for oxygen, has a lung specialist tested her capacity? My husband has been on oxygen basically 24/7 since he was diagnosed 19 months ago. His lungs are pretty well toasted because of the cancer and he also has emphysema. Only occasionally has his blood oxygen levels been high enough to go it on his own during the daytime. Nights are a must as he was tested without oxygen and flunked! If oxygen is prescribed, it is a must to use it, as the organs in the human body will start to be damaged if they lack sufficient oxygen.

Good luck and I hope things improve.


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I was hospitalized on Thurs. and Friday. My general practioner came by my room in the morning. Sometime during the night the nurses had put me on oxygen. He said that they reported that my O2 was down to 80%. He said that sometimes people's O2 falls during the night, that it can be considered within normal limits. I wasn't struggling for a breath. I will have a sleep study done eventually to further investigate this, I suppose.

Hope the chemo makes her feel like she can breathe better. For sure, report this episode to the doc.

Cindi o'h

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