Can’t breathe? Either it’s asthma or you need to lay off the baked goods.

Good Ship Tabasco writes:

I spent eight to ten years with doctors treating me for asthma and telling me to lose weight.

I never had asthma. I could lose some weight.

Two years ago my poor breathing had gotten to the point that it took three efforts to get to the top of the stairs in my house, and twice I fainted at the top. My husband counted that I was stopping to catch my breath every fifteen steps. I saw doctors and doctors. I had one who told me that my stress incontinence was the result of being too fat.

The one that finally broke the camel’s back was an allergist, a female, who, when I saw her said that I just needed to exercise more. She said that the reason I couldn’t get a full breath of air in my lungs was because I didn’t “lay off the baked goods.”

Two weeks later I discovered that the reason I couldn’t bet a full breath of air in my lungs was because I had a pericardial effusion measuring almost a liter, and idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, an incurable, deadly disease that has nothing to do with weight, nothing to do with smoking, and everything to do with doctors looking at the obvious.

Two years of treatment, I can run up a flight of stairs, and I have lost 40 lbs without significant change of diet.

I didn’t pay her bill.

Sign me as The Admiral

Leave a comment


  1. Lay of the baked goods? Talk about adding insult to injury How disrespectful can you get?!

    I’m so glad you’re doing well now. ^_^

  2. lilacsigil

     /  June 10, 2009

    I’m glad you got a real diagnosis and you’re feeling better now. And not paying the doctor’s bill? Damn right!

  3. Mulberry

     /  June 10, 2009

    I also have idiopathic primary pulmonary hypertension and have been rather luckier with doctors than you have been. I’m glad you finally got the correct diagnosis and good treatment. Can I ask what treatment you’re getting that enables you to run up a flight of stairs? I am not as short of breath as I was just a few short months ago, but I still walk very slowly, and still need to stop for breath after a couple of blocks. Currently, I’m taking Letairis, Coumadin/Warfarin and Revatio. (I don’t have asthma either.)

  4. goodbyemyboy

     /  June 10, 2009

    Ignoring for a moment the fact that “just lose weight and you’ll be fine” is terrible advice… I have asthma, there were times when it was difficult just to walk up a flight of stairs, and you know what’s really difficult when it’s hard to just get through your normal amount of movement? Exercise. It’s almost like the doctor didn’t believe that she really couldn’t breathe, or something…

  5. Ugh, I used to have bad asthma as a (very thin!) child, and I can’t count the times I had to skip gym class because walking to school already had me out of breath. How is anyone supposed to exercise with a condition that’s even worse??

  6. Thank you for posting this. I did a search on “breathing” on the site and found your story, which is similar to mine (although mine is less severe for now). Based on my problems with docs treating my “fat: before anything else, I avoid them until the last minute and then I feel I need to be prepared with some research before I get there. I did some web searching on your diagnoses and found some info that really clicked with me. Now I have some extra background for when I discuss my symptoms with the doc.


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