Pulmonary Rehab

I started pulmonary rehab last week. Since I’m getting lots of questions about why, I thought I would just put up a post.

In March 2011, I was hospitalized with pneumonia for four days. Since they couldn’t get my oxygen saturation levels up, they sent me home with oxygen. I’ve been on it full-time ever since.

The first pulmonologist I saw said that my lungs had no blockage, scarring, or other obvious problems. That’s the good news. The bad news? They don’t know why I can’t get my oxygen saturation levels up. The best guesses? 1) Being overweight. Okay, I know being overweight is blamed for everything from heart issues to a stubbed toe. But, in this case, I agree it’s a valid point since I was approximately 200 pounds overweight at the time. Fast forward a year with 82 pounds lost and I am still at the same flow rate I was when I left the hospital. Obviously, something else is going on. 2) I’m a shallow breather. Have been for as long as I can remember; I think I was born tense. 3) My lungs are weak and just need strengthened. 4) I have anxieties and basically just forget to breathe right. See reason #2. 5) They have no clue and don’t know what do with me. It also doesn’t help that we live in a very high elevation and even healthy people can get altitude sickness when they come here.

I saw a new primary care doctor at the beginning of May and he suggested pulmonary rehab. HELLO? What is this? Of course I’m interested. I’ve busted my ass for the last year to lose weight and have been asking just what else I can do to help myself. Just point me in the right direction as I’m beyond motivated to get off the oxygen. Not sure why my pulmonary doctor couldn’t be bothered to suggest this, but I’m not going to think about that too much lest I stop breathing right now from the stress of it.

Went back to the pulmonary clinic and saw a nurse this time. She wasted no time getting me into the rehab program. It’s 36 sessions of education and exercise. It meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for about 2.5 hours. I started May 21st. I feel like I’m getting my ass or, in this case, my lungs kicked. But I know they are monitoring my levels every time I move so I won’t pass out from lack of oxygen. I have high hopes for this program. Stay tuned…




  1. So sorry to hear of your troubles but glad to hear you are getting some treatments that will hopefully help. I have a congenital heart condition so I know the struggles that exist with heart problems. I will be thinking of you. Please keep in touch!

  2. Hi Ash,
    I am so glad you are getting a handle on your breathing issues. As a Type A+++ I totally understand having tense lungs. I don’t stop and breathe deeply either.

    One thing which really helps me is rolfing and acupuncture.

    My deceased husband of 25+ years was born with a congenital heart defect and he had to work hard to care for his heart and lungs to extend the time he had on this earth. Rolfing and acupuncture probably added 10 years to his life. Along with homeopathy and TM.

    I am glad you are so willing to share what is going on with you. I think you are very brave. I will keep you in my thoughts. Please let me know how you’re doing and stay in touch.

    Big hugs.

  3. Carla Manzanares-Murray says:

    I, too, was wondering about the pulmonary rehab. It sounds like just what you need! Congratulations on the weight loss – I know how hard it is. Keep feeling better and stronger!

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