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Can you take a big breath?


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Can you take a big breath like you used to before surgery? I can't. I really miss taking a great big deep breath to the bottom of my lungs and letting it out.

Every time I try, my bad side fills up first and my good side only fills about half way. Not very satisfying. :(

I've done lots of exercise, lost weight and all the yoga and breathing "through the tummy"...but still I can only take about half the breath I used to. My oxygen saturation runs about 99-100% so I'm getting enough air.

It would feel so good to just stretch out the lungs/rib cage like I used to. :?

Does anyone else have this problem after surgery? And if so, do you have the elevated diaphragm too?


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I can take pretty deep breaths. My right side where I had the surgery feels like there is something behind the rib cage putting pressure on my ribs on that side. I don't know if that is the numbness thing wearing off or what. I am not nearly as numb as I use to be there. Someone told me that organs shift after surgery and that my stomach could have floated over there??? :shock:


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Good question! If I walk up stairs, I have a hard time getting air into my lungs at the top if that makes sense. Most times though, I am able to get a deeper breath than before I was diagnosed. I was a smoker, and it had been years since I was able to actually feel like I was filling my lungs up- I'm probably one of the few people that actually breathes better now than before with 2/3 my lung gone.

On a side note, this damn cold weather that I'm in is killing me as far as being short of breath. I am feeling the inability to take deep breaths more than before and get winded just walking from my car to the door.

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I can do most of what I want to do as long as I pace myself. I even walk fast/jog 3 to 4 times a week. But if there is some sudden or unplanned exertion, like having to run across the street, I definitely get SOB. I described this to my onc last Tuesday and was told “you have less lung tissue now and you are still healing from some very aggressive treatment last year”. Since the visit revealed I was still NED, I wasn’t about to tempt the fates by pushing the issue. I hope with continued exercise and healing my breathing will eventually improve.

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Internal organs rearrange after surgery.

The good lung moves over, and as you said, the diaphragm lifts up a bit. My heart is in a different place too.

Rehabilitation or Respiratory/Pulmonary rehab is a series of guided exercises and breathing techniques designed to maximize whatever function is left. I had ben through it once many years ago, and it was great! After my episode this summer with aspiration pneumonia, I'm doing Pulmonary rehab again, and hopefully, it will maximize my lung function and let me do a little more before I run SOB.

Yees, the cold weather stinks for breathing, but then so does high heat and humidity. There are other things one can do, with inhalers and special meds.There's a new med called Spiriva which works very well. I would recommend you see a pulmonary specialist, or lung doctor, about meds and see if he can recommend/prescribe Pulmonary Rehab for you.

Breathe easy -- you can do far more than I am able to. With rehab you could do even more.


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I did attend Pulmonary Rehab and found it very helpful. I experience a lot of SOB and during rehab they determined that when I am excercising I need to utilize oxygen to keep my saturation levels up. I have been out of rehab for about 6 weeks and am still going to the gym and utilizing the treadmill 3 times a week and am up to doing 2 miles. I am not sure the excersie is increasing my lung function but am trying to convince myself that it will enable me to retain what I have left. I also believe it helps to keep ones immunes system up and I did not get a cold this winter for the first time in years. :oops:

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