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Thank you for your response and information. I don’t have a pulmonologist following me yet, but thinking I need to get one. I definitely will read these articles you shared. I actually lead a very healthy lifestyle and follow a mostly semi-vegetarian/Mediterranean diet, but have difficulties with swallowing due to a 50% functioning esophagus from a spinal cord injury and no gallbladder so I don’t break down fats and carbs. Diet is probably the most difficult for me and the dieticians in the integrative oncology department worked with me for quite a long time. I can’t seem to keep on weight, I’m 105 with a BMI of 17-18, so they’re always worried about my weight. I’m on a few meds that suppress hunger so I’m supposed to “remember” to eat. I walk a lot, about 1 hour each night with my dog and on weekends, 2-3 hours per day. I used to hike local mountains and trails (live in AZ), but as my spinal cord injury and my lung and breathing got worse, I’ve had to bring that down a notch. I do practice deep breathing exercises, I work in behavioral mental health and teach it to many of my own clients (children in state custody) as part of a meditation practice. I’m also back in acupuncture. I just feel the breathing is getting worse and now finding the heart condition 4 years out of treatment scares me. I don’t know if it was an underlying hidden defect never identified when I was younger or if radiation treatment caused it. The cardiologist is pretty sure radiation caused it. My cardiologist is not with Mayo Clinic but I think I want to get a second opinion with a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and pulmonologist.

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Oh and I have never smoked and am bothered by other’s smoke, although I am exposed to passive smoke due to my position in community behavioral mental health and going into homes where others may smoke around me. I have to go home, change and shower after being exposed to second hand smoke.

Hi @vickiekersch,

It’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion – taking care of your health needs means seeking as much information as possible so you can decide what is best for you. If you would like to make an appointment at Mayo Clinic, please call one of our appointment offices. You can also request an appointment online. The contact information for Minnesota, Arizona and Florida can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/appointments