Staying (Lung) Safe this Holiday Season

Posted by Merry, Volunteer Mentor @merpreb, Dec 18, 2021

My husband and I recently picked up holiday decorations. One thing that I love to hate is candles. If they have scents or smoke they aren't allowed in my house. I can't handle them, no matter how gorgeous. I have to be very careful around roasting chestnuts on an open fire because all fires are smokey! We tried this once and I had one very apologetic husband, lol.

It really isn't funny anymore because after so many years with lung cancer and COPD anything that sets my lungs to swelling hurts a lot.

I am very careful of wearing masks, getting any vaccines I need. To stay healthy, I wash my hands, or use a sanitizer. I make sure that all of my medications are filled as much as they can be, especially my inhalers!

The holidays can be one of the most wonderful times of the year, With some planning and care, we can do our best to protect others and ourselves.

It has been an honor to be your mentor. I want to take this time to wish you and your families a healthy holiday and new year!

I know that I have missed some helpful hints to stay safe this year. It would be a wonderful gift to share what you do!

Warmly
Merry

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MODERATOR'S NOTE
The knowledge exchange shared in this discussion helped to create this article written for the Mayo Clinic app and website. Knowledge for patients by patients and beyond Mayo Clinic Connect.
– How patients with lung conditions avoid winter irritants https://www.mayoclinic.org/connected-care/how-patients-with-lung-conditions-avoid-winter-irritants/cpt-20525811

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Lung Cancer group.

@rlogan

Thanks for the information. My wife was recently diagnosed with solid mass & lesions in both lungs and secondary malignant lesions in liver & spinal column. We have applied for an appointment at Mayo – Jacksonville and will hopefully be accepted.

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Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Has she had biopsies done on any of the tumors in her lungs? Not all lesions, even multiple ones are multifocal adenocarcinomas. Does she have small cell lung cancer?

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Hi there, So I finally had my wedge resection with ample margins for. According to pathology report module was pt1b , negative for lymph node involvement. Although only afew stations were checked 7, 4Runner, 4 L. I’m feeling worried cause I’m reading that 10 lymph nodes at least should be checked according to many trials to ensure accurate staging.Plus my report mentions Stas spread through airspace and says its present. I’m not sure to what extent.I think my surgeon said “ is Stas even proven “? From what I see it is proven some believe it could be artifact from knife cutting n spreading the cells.Im reading that if Stas is present wedge resection is not optimal. Stas has a poor prognostic and if Lobectomy is completed Stas doesn’t carry its weight and seems to have no affect on overall survival. My question is has anyone else had Stas present on surgical biopsy if so did you have a Lobectomy. Thanks, lilly

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@lilly2

Hi there, So I finally had my wedge resection with ample margins for. According to pathology report module was pt1b , negative for lymph node involvement. Although only afew stations were checked 7, 4Runner, 4 L. I’m feeling worried cause I’m reading that 10 lymph nodes at least should be checked according to many trials to ensure accurate staging.Plus my report mentions Stas spread through airspace and says its present. I’m not sure to what extent.I think my surgeon said “ is Stas even proven “? From what I see it is proven some believe it could be artifact from knife cutting n spreading the cells.Im reading that if Stas is present wedge resection is not optimal. Stas has a poor prognostic and if Lobectomy is completed Stas doesn’t carry its weight and seems to have no affect on overall survival. My question is has anyone else had Stas present on surgical biopsy if so did you have a Lobectomy. Thanks, lilly

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@ Lilly correction 4 left

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@lilly2

Hi there, So I finally had my wedge resection with ample margins for. According to pathology report module was pt1b , negative for lymph node involvement. Although only afew stations were checked 7, 4Runner, 4 L. I’m feeling worried cause I’m reading that 10 lymph nodes at least should be checked according to many trials to ensure accurate staging.Plus my report mentions Stas spread through airspace and says its present. I’m not sure to what extent.I think my surgeon said “ is Stas even proven “? From what I see it is proven some believe it could be artifact from knife cutting n spreading the cells.Im reading that if Stas is present wedge resection is not optimal. Stas has a poor prognostic and if Lobectomy is completed Stas doesn’t carry its weight and seems to have no affect on overall survival. My question is has anyone else had Stas present on surgical biopsy if so did you have a Lobectomy. Thanks, lilly

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Hi Lilly- WOW, you've certainly done a good job researching your cancer. It can be pretty confusing, eh? Personally, I have never heard of STAS so I did my own research. Do you know how many things have STAS as their acronym?

I found this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7354155/

I also found this study done pretty recently 2020. It has a more positive consideration for future surgery and results:
https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12885-020-07200-w
It's my feeling that a comprehensive conversation should take place concerning possible treatments at this stage, having DNA testing to see what anomalies there are and your next tests. If your present doctor doubts the existence of a particular finding and you don't feel this way I would get a second opinion!

At this point that may already have happened?

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@lilly2

@ Lilly correction 4 left

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I'm down to 3!

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@merpreb

Hi Lilly- WOW, you've certainly done a good job researching your cancer. It can be pretty confusing, eh? Personally, I have never heard of STAS so I did my own research. Do you know how many things have STAS as their acronym?

I found this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7354155/

I also found this study done pretty recently 2020. It has a more positive consideration for future surgery and results:
https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12885-020-07200-w
It's my feeling that a comprehensive conversation should take place concerning possible treatments at this stage, having DNA testing to see what anomalies there are and your next tests. If your present doctor doubts the existence of a particular finding and you don't feel this way I would get a second opinion!

At this point that may already have happened?

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@merpreb , Hi thank you for your research. The articles were very informative . I’m seeking another opinion and I’m in the process of trying to schedule something now. I didn’t think of dna testing but will definitely mention to the Dr. This is a complicated situation with so many unknowns I guess for most of us. Will keep you posted:)

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The tips shared in this discussion helped to create this article written for the Mayo Clinic app and website. Thank you everyone for creating knowledge for patients by patients and helping us to share these tips beyond Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you @merpreb @jenniferhunter and @sueinmn for your contributions.

See the article here:
– How patients with lung conditions avoid winter irritants https://www.mayoclinic.org/connected-care/how-patients-with-lung-conditions-avoid-winter-irritants/cpt-20525811

Kudos!

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@jenniferhunter

@colleenyoung Oh my gosh. My lungs are so reactive to fragrances. Man made fragrances travel in the air because of chemicals like phalates that cause their dispersal and it may partly be these chemicals that are causing serious asthma reactions. It takes only minutes of exposure to cologne when my airway starts to swell and my lungs start kicking out a lot phlegm. I get very tired and get a severe headache because my oxygen levels are dropping. I can't think clearly and I feel like I'm drowning. I start struggling to breathe and begin to try to get more air by accessory breathing which elevates the first ribs. That causes other problems because I used my neck muscles to pull the ribs upward and it aggravates my thoracic outlet syndrome condition and it gets stuck there causing a spasm with chest and neck pain. When my asthma is bad enough, I can't stay awake long enough to use an inhaler to try to save myself. Even if the exposure was only for a few minutes, and I have removed myself from the area, in about an hour, I am going to have a buildup of phlegm in my lungs and will still go through the symptoms of excessive fatigue and a bad headache. It may take me several hours to clear the phlegm buildup and recover after an event like this before I can breathe normally again and the headache subsides.

At home, I do not use cleaning products or soaps with heavy fragrances. Even exposure to other people wearing clothing that was washed in a heavy fragrance laundry detergent causes breathing problems for me if I can't get away from it. The natural fragrances used in dish soap does not bother me.

Natural fragrances are not as bad for me. I do know that I am allergic to pine terpenes that create the pine smell. I can walk past holiday wreaths without having an adverse event if I don't linger. Natural boughs will also harbor other allergens like mold spores or dust so I resist the urge to smell them because those would also trigger my allergic asthma. If I was inside a home with a real Christmas tree, I would have a headache and some breathing issues. Then there are scented candles and stuff squirting scents into the air. I cannot stay in an environment like that because I will be headed for an asthma attack.

I avoid stores with fragrance counters. The laundry detergent aisles are a big problem. I hold my breath as I walk past them. Hardware stores aisles with fertilizer and weed & insect killers also trigger my asthma. I try to get in and out of stores like that as fast as possible.

I wish people could understand what it is like to experience a serious problem caused by fragrances on other people and in public spaces. They have a misconception about the consequences of their habits and think it is harmless. In reality it is toxic, and some individuals are so sensitive to it that is causes a serious reaction. I also find that exposure to fragrances in public causes the scent to be absorbed into my clothing, and I have to change clothes to get rid of it so I can stop reacting to it. So I carry this problem around with me until I can get home to change.

We also had these other discussions regarding fragrances and lung health.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/heavy-perfume-in-medical-facilities-or-anywhere-really/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/fragrances-and-asthma-allergies/

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One thing I have done at our home is to stop spraying things into the air, thus avoiding a huge amount of irritating and pollution. Squeeze bottles work just fine, a squirt on a cleaning cloth or a counter is all I need.
My go-to favorites are Alcohol bottles as my old, arthritic hands don’t work the best. A small thing to improve air quality.

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@sharry

One thing I have done at our home is to stop spraying things into the air, thus avoiding a huge amount of irritating and pollution. Squeeze bottles work just fine, a squirt on a cleaning cloth or a counter is all I need.
My go-to favorites are Alcohol bottles as my old, arthritic hands don’t work the best. A small thing to improve air quality.

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@sharry That's a great suggestion. We have all seen how a spray bottle will send small droplets into the air and all you need to do is wet a cloth or paper towel . I do like the bottles with flip caps as they are easiest to open. If you had a spray bottle, you could also hold the cloth against the nozzle while you spray it, so it catches the liquid instead of spraying it into the air.

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@sharry

One thing I have done at our home is to stop spraying things into the air, thus avoiding a huge amount of irritating and pollution. Squeeze bottles work just fine, a squirt on a cleaning cloth or a counter is all I need.
My go-to favorites are Alcohol bottles as my old, arthritic hands don’t work the best. A small thing to improve air quality.

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Sharry we gifted our daughter and her family biweekly house cleaning instead of material gifts this Christmas, but not until we interviewed the company owner to be sure they would clean with unscented products and minimize spray due to family sensitivities. It is awesome ‐ she also opens windows while she works to clear the air of any residue even faster. It is awesome when others "get it".
Sue
PS My friend and I drive " no scent" cars when our group carpools. We have a lot of people who prefer to ride with us, saying they feel better when they get home. Our community clubhouse is a no smoking & no perfume zone to accommodate delicate lungs and allergies. It is heavenly to socialize, eat, dance, play cards, etc and to come home still able to breathe.

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What a beautiful gift! I am only just realizing the debilitating effects of scents for sensitive people. My aversion to most must be a blessing!

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@lilly2

@merpreb , Hi thank you for your research. The articles were very informative . I’m seeking another opinion and I’m in the process of trying to schedule something now. I didn’t think of dna testing but will definitely mention to the Dr. This is a complicated situation with so many unknowns I guess for most of us. Will keep you posted:)

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Lilly- I haven't heard from you in a while. How are things going with you?

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