Once upon a time, there was a woman called Tess who lives in Port Angeles. She wore a hose in her nose tethered to an oxygen tank that followed her wherever she went.
Without supplemental oxygen, Tess’s blood/oxygen saturation (normal is 100) dropped to 82 with mild exertion. Her FEV1 (standard gagefor COPD) was 34.
Tess is an exuberant woman who knew the prognosis was not
Luckily, she learned of the University of Washington and UC San Francisco Schools of Medicine, Shortness of Breath Study, applied for the one-year study and was accepted.
COPDers are different and roughly, 10% of COPDers are Alpha.
Alphas inherit the disease.
I am a plain COPDer, Tess is an Alpha and has already lost one brother and sister to the disease.
Immersed in the study, Tess began slowly and lasted five minutes
on the treadmill. Gradually, with difficulty, she continued to
increase her speed careful not to drop below the 90% saturation
Tess’ slow five minute beginning had jumped by the end of the first month, to 30 minutes at 2mph, and included increased speed and fast bursts of speed.
By the end of 6 months, Tess had lost 4 pounds and decided to join Weight Watchers to increase her weight loss. Exercise made her able to be more active but the weight loss needed more help. Time passed and Tess got stronger and dropped weight, including her cholesterol. The cholesterol dropped 50 points to a healthier 200 points.
By the end of the yearlong study, Tess lost over 40 pounds and walked a steady 3.5 mph on the treadmill. She nearly tripled her speed in the final study 6-minute walk from the first 6-minute walk.
Now we are coming to the part I do not understand…Tess does not need oxygen anymore, her sats stay above 95 and she had all the oxygen equipment picked up and out of her house.
Until now, I have thought once on oxygen, always on oxygen. Wrong.
Tess has lost 52 pounds to date and looks forward to her son’s wedding in two weeks without worry about running out of oxygen nor the hassle and worry of dragging a tank around.
The opportunity to join the University of Washington’s Shortness of Breath Study ends this month, March 2010.
I wholeheartedly recommend and urge COPDers to apply…your life will change for the better. More importantly, the combined results of the study will benefit COPDers who come after us – our children and grandchildren.
Who are the researchers?
“The study is under the direction of Dr. Ginger Carrieri-Kohlman, Professor in the School of Nursing at UC San Francisco and Dr. Huong Q. Nguyen, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Carrieri-Kohlman is an internationally known expert in the research and treatment of dyspnea. She has led the Dyspnea Research Group on studies of shortness of breath self-management in patients with lung disease for over 15 years. Dr. Nguyen’s research has been focused on developing and testing Internet-based education and support interventions for people with chronic illnesses.
Our collaborators include Drs. Steve Lazarus and Josh Benditt from UC San Francisco and U Washington Schools of Medicine, respectively. They are both well known for their excellent research and clinical practice with people who have chronic lung disease.
We have a stellar research team: UCSF: DorAnne Cuenco, RN PhD, Krista Sigurdson, BS; UW: Pam Weisman, RN, MS, Lynn Reinke, RN, MS, Sarah Han, RN, and Cheryl Beardsless, BS. “
More later… Sharon O’Hara