Trouble Breathing

Yesterday afternoon, I tried to lift weights as I regularly do every other day. But I was having so much trouble breathing that I gave it up less than half way through. My lungs are still severely congested from the pneumonia I was diagnosed with in December.  My doctor attributes the problem to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which I have suffered from ever since I had lung cancer and had the upper lobe of my right lung surgically removed something less than ten years ago (I don’t remember the date). That was after the better part of a year in which I was subjected to chemotherapy and radiation. Then I spent more than a year recovering.

I had been a runner. I knew that my lung disease would no longer allow me to run, so I turned to weightlifting, following a routine that lasted more than two hours every other day. The effort often left me breathless and panting. That was fine until my lungs became severely congested starting a few months ago. The problem has gotten much worse.

When I tried to work out yesterday, I found that my lung congestion was so bad that I was gasping for breath. I stopped halfway through the routine because I simply couldn’t breathe.

I’ll have to wait until my doctor finds a cure for my lung congestion or I improve all on my own. Meanwhile, even though I can’t run any more, I can walk. I live in a beautiful part of Columbia, Maryland on a pond or small lake that I can hike around. It looks like I may have to turn to walking as my exercise.

I work hard to maintain my health so that I can live as long as possible. I’m determined to survive past a hundred years old. I watch my diet, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, and stay physically active. I guess I’m at the point of finding out if walking can replace weightlifting as an exercise.

3 thoughts on “Trouble Breathing”

  1. Hi Tom,

    I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope you’ll feel better soon and thank you for soldiering on.

    My name is Kat Fitzptrick but my maiden name is Welch–I’m the daughter of James Welch who worked at the House Seven Radio Station from 1972-75 . . . did you know of it or him?

    Years ago, I read your account of the last days in Saigon (attached) and have used it for inspiration in writing and also in a piece (publication pending) about my father’s evacuation out of the south of the country.

    I’m always grateful that you wrote and do write. Thank you. I hope you do recover well and quickly.

    All best, Kat Kat Fitzpatrick, M.F.A. ( She/Her)


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