Over the last couple of years, I have become short of breath when walking up steep hills, and have even run out of breath when singing a long phrase or at the end of a sentence. I figured I was just getting older, heavier, slower, but when my sleep apnea was diagnosed the doctor found something else.
My lung capacity had gone down to the point where the drop could be measured.
The next stop on this particular journey is to see a Pulmonologist and so I did. He measured my lung capacity and recommended a chest X-ray which came back with some suspicious shadows at the bottom of both lobes of my lungs.
Off to the radiologist again, but this time for a high-resolution CT. Yes, my friends, these are expensive and since we were still on our deductible for the year it was a large hit to the wallet but worth it since it gave us insight into what had previously been a shadow.
Throughout my life, I have had bouts of bronchitis, sinusitis, and infections of the respiratory system. No asthma or anything like that, but I remember decades when I could expect at least two bouts of bronchitis a year if not more. Then, in 1994, I tipped over the precipice into double pneumonia and was ill for months.
The high-resolution CT revealed that all of that trauma over the years had left scar tissue, non-CF bronchiectasis (caused by past lung infections), and mild scarring left by atelectasis. These showed up as white webby designs in the first and small black holes in the latter when we reviewed the scan together.
I was shocked as you might imagine. This is where Burning Mouth Syndrome comes in, and I will be interested to hear if any of you out there have experienced the same. Continue reading