When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters…

In the midst of a number of medical biopsies, scans and tests, I am learning exactly how LARGE my breathing problems are. Time to accept this new reality! My sleep study showed that I come very close to not breathing during the night, and my walking test explains to me why I feel so dizzy just walking a few blocks. Yes, it’s true this all came up after moving to a higher elevation, but I’m certain I had nodules in my lungs before. Living here just made the problem much more obvious to me.

Now to the question of why. Since I never smoked or was regularly around second hand smoke, I have to conclude that my work environments, old libraries, and the air pollution everywhere in our world have been very hard on my lungs. I have always felt a bit like the canary in the mine. I’m always the first one to notice bad air before anyone around me.

My brother, who has worked in asbestos abatement, informs me that old libraries are one of the worst places in terms of asbestos pollution. In fact, I worked at CU-Boulder when they were removing some. I have also lived in quite a few polluted cities like Bangkok, Taipei, Hong Kong, etc. I used to joke that I have had bronchitis in the most exotic places…not so funny now.

Why should this matter to you? Whenever I see someone smoking now I want to go and tell them how awful it is when you cannot breathe like you used to, or do any of the things you used to enjoy. In summary, do everything you can to protect your lungs from anything that will limit your breathing in the future because:

Struggling for breathe SUCKS!

4 thoughts on “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters…

  1. Laura, I hope you find some healing, what’s causing the problem, etc. I’ve never been a great “breather,” and it is because of a narrowing in one of my pulmonary arteries leading out of my heart that occurred at birth.


  2. Oh, Laura, how awful for you! But such a wake-up call for the rest of us. I had NO idea old libraries could be a danger in any way. I always loved the smell of old books. The creaky floors. The smell of ‘old’. Now I’ll be much more conscious of just what I may be breathing.
    Thank you for sharing your hard-won knowledge!


  3. I’m so sorry Laura. Sending you my heartfelt sympathy, I’m the canary in the mine too. I’ve had cranky lungs forever with nodules now as well. It takes a toll. I hope you have a doctor you trust and can talk too as well as your friends.


  4. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. I feel the same way about smoking. We live in a group of apartment buildings where there are a ton of young people who all go to a film school. Most are international and they all smoke like chimneys. There was a fire near another place I lived several years ago and I ended up in the ER even though it was across the freeway. Since then, I’m super sensitive to smoke, mold, and chlorine. We can’t take our environment for granted. I know you live in pristine surroundings but I can imagine the elevation would make it harder to breathe.


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