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I can't breathe!!!
4 Replies
PEANUT - July 23

Hi I'm new here. Because of overall body pain and trouble sleeping I have suspected for about 12 years that I had FMS.I was checked for it back then but although I 'exhibited some symptoms' it was not diagnosed. To make a long story short fast forward to this past Monday when I was confirmed to have FMS by a neurologist. He put me on Cymbalta which is not going so well. But my main concern and question here, is there anyone else who has the symptoms, hard to breathe and wanting to grab air by continuously yawning and usually followed by upset tummy then extreme belching. I have gone through every heart test there is as I have the classic symptoms of heart disease. I am a 51 year old woman who has gone from running 3 to 4 miles, 3 to 4 times a week to someone who is struggling now to get through any physical activity. Sound familiar? Any advice?


kvc33 - July 23

I have severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have had a lot of trouble just breathing. It gets really bad when my blood pressure is low. Get a monitor and keep track of yours. You are having an upset tummy because you are swallowing air when you are yawning. Learn to do deep breathing exercises through your nostrils. Close off one side with a finger and breathe in through the other. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds and then open the other nostril and breath out while closing off the first nostril. Then breathe in through the second nostril, etc. This will increase your lung capacity. Breathe so that your belly goes up when you breathe in and down when you breathe out.


January - July 23

Hi Peanut - Cymbalta works for some people, but for others it can range from ineffective to even life-threatening. There is an adjustment period when you start - sometimes you feel awful. Even if you can tolerate Cymbalta, you will have side effects. Your decision - if you want to go there. Something as simple as dry mouth will eventually give you dental problems.

HOWEVER, because you mention symptoms of heart disease, I'd advise you to google "Cymbalta and heart," "Cymbalta life threatening," as well as "Cymbalta side effects" and read the forums - because it can have a lot of weird (and sometimes very bad) side effects. (I don't think this drug will be around in 10 years. JMO) One place I just found said if you have heart problems, you should talk to your dr. BEFORE taking this drug. It's not clear if you have heart problems or not from your post - but you might want to check with a really good pharmacist - like PhD level, or head pharmacist about whether Cymbalta is a good idea in your particular case. Sometimes doctors don't know all the side effects of the drugs they hand out. The pharmacist can check his research database.

When I took Cymbalta, I was just plastered to my bed. NO energy. Then they upped the dose..? That made it worse - and it put me into pre-diabetes. Not good for ME. Also, if you decide to get off it, taper down slow. Google "Cymbalta withdrawal" - because that can be rough. I don't know if it was Cymbalta that ruined my stomach and made it SO sensitive, but it might have been.

I am MUCH better on supplements and older simpler drugs that target my specific symptoms than the "FDA-approved drugs for fibro." I will never touch another antidepressant. For me the depression AND fibro muscle pain was mostly cured by going on a gluten free diet - that was MY problem, but I had to diagnose myself. Now, with the huge improvement, even in bloodwork, the drs. have to admit I was right about the gluten problem.

I don't know if Cymbalta helps with restorative sleep - it makes some people very sleepy, it makes some people anxious - so if you don't feel rested (even though you sleep all day!), you might need a good sleeping med. Ambien works well for a lot of people, but check with your doctor. Melatonin is a natural supplement many people use, but again, check with the doctor or pharmacist, especially since you have other health issues.

Sorry you have fibro, but I hope you will educate yourself about this syndrome which has many possible causes and various symptoms. The key to the best treatment for yourself is to find out what is causing your symptoms and treat the CAUSE. Right now there is a huge marketing push on to raise awareness about fibro - unfortunately, the folks behind all this advertising are mainly trying to sell you their drugs. Not saying they don't work for SOME people, but you should read the research and comments online about these drugs and make your own decisions about whether they are good for YOUR body. All the best.


PEANUT - July 24

Hi. Thanks for the feedback. I guess I wasn't too clear regarding my heart - although I exhibit all the classic signs of heart disease, after multiple extensive tests, my heart is 100% healthy. Be that as it may I still have a lot of trouble breathing in combination with light headedness, nausea and severe belching. Is this a common symptom of FMS. I have read that it is on some sites yet in the book Fibromyalgia For Dummies it does not address this. And actually I am putting in a call to my family doc in the morning to see if I have ever been tested for Lyme disease as the rheumatologist brought it up and my daughter sent me a site on it and it sounds very much like what I have been experiencing but the problem is the symptom list is almost identical to FMS and, in fact, it says that Lyme disease has been misdiagnosed as FMS.Any thoughts?


January - July 24

Hi peanut, glad to hear your heart is healthy! One good thing on the checklist! Did the breathing problems come on with the Cymbalta or is that something you normally have? Could I ask how the neurologist confirmed that you have fibromyalgia??

The symptoms you describe: belching, nausea, upset stomach and light headedness (or dizziness?) are all very common side effects when you start Cymbalta. They will probably lessen over time. If not, you may be one of the folks who can't tolerate Cymbalta. See how it goes over the next few weeks. See if the drug helps your pain or not, and if your fatigue lessens or gets worse. If you are still feeling bad, I'd be careful about increasing the dosage and question continuing the drug. Lots of times the drs. increase the dose because "it's time," and they don't take your individual reaction into account. Again, you might get more accurate information from a good pharmacist.

Your dr. may also hand you a prescription for a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) for your stomach problems. Please research that and make your own decisions- there are some very bad warnings out on these - they are hard to stop once you start; they decrease the stomach acid which you need for digestion; and they contribute to osteoporosis. So it might be better to take something like Pepto Bismol or something natural like thick organic honey or flaxseed oil to settle your stomach. I remember taking OTC pills for nausea when I took Cymbalta - I believe I took Bonine. But the nausea never went away for me.

As for Lyme Disease, yes, the symptoms are similar, and some people diagnosed with fibro really do have Lyme. Search online for a Lyme-literate doctor or contact a Lyme Association. A single blood test for the bacteria involved often comes back negative. The bacteria is elusive, changes form and can "hide" in the body; at other times it is in the blood stream and can be detected. So have several tests, especially when you are feeling badly. (A "flare up") Also, be aware that a regular doctor will probably treat Lyme with doxycycline for 4-6 weeks. However, I've read literature stating that to effectively treat Lyme Disease, you need to be on IV antibiotics for 18-24 months. This is a pretty controversial area, so I'd suggest you google a lot and read as much as you can. You will have to educate yourself and make your own decision about the best treatment. You cannot assume that your doctor is aware of all the latest treatments. They're usually just too busy to follow new research. Life Extension is an organization you can join for $75 - they have pretty good up to date research on this issue. You can call them and speak to a doctor who knows about Lyme.

I've heard from others that the Fibro and Fatigue Clinics do a good job of treating fibro symptoms related to Lyme Disease. (We can't post URLs here.) I'd also suggest googling Lyme Disease and reading some of the forums about it. Sometimes you can get the best information from people who have already been through it!

Hope you're feeling better, and welcome to the board. : )



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