In Septembe Mary, my wife, found "Breathing Free" by Teresa Hale in the local library. I read it 3 times, and photocopied relevant pages.
In October we went to England, and, on the seconed day, had a session with Sasha Stalmatski at the Hale Clinic in London. On that October 18 I had a CP8 and MP16. I had 3 further sessions.
Almost exactly one year later on October 19, I hada CP32 and MP60. I could walk for 2 miles in 40 minutes only breathing through my nose. A year earlier I could only walk 2-3 blocks. So folks - it works, it WORKS!!!
The year wasn't without its problemd. I had infectionsst CP16 and CP20-22. "Cleansing" Sasha called it. "Push harder and work out the infection. If after 3-4 days not better, then see yor doctor".
I found out that the 'Secret' is Discipline and being consistent with your exercises. The Buddy System is also of great value. Ken and I made excellent Buddies. There is more advice/guidelines from Sasha in my first letter; and also my exercise programme - should anyone be interested.
Mary, Ken, Peter, Victor, Bud, and very many others were of the greatest help in their advice. I am now 78, and Buteyko gave me a year of a vastly improved quality of life.
Without going into boring details. I had a Bone Marrow Test inJanuary, 2001, and the result showed Syberblastic Anemia (Mylodisplasia). It is incurable. Blood Transfusions (BTs) are the only way to stay alive.
The main "symptoms" are: Shortage of Breath - Palpitations - Easily Fatigued. All so very similar to my Emphysema problem - so it is a real double whammmme!!!
What a shock! Really depressing!! To be completely depndant on BTs for the rest of my life. The first BT was a disaster with very severe reactions that nearly killed me. All funnctions were effected, and it took some months to fully sort out my body. I truly believe that it was the Buteyko Method that saved the day. I had called Sasha in England. He was so kind and understanding. He suggested 3-5 hours of VSBing in 40 mnute periods - with EPs and MPs. I only managed 2-3 hours but it all helped.
Peter also kindly contacted the Buteyko Team in NZ, but they only had experience with one other patient with my type of illness, and he was hospitalised.
Strangely (?) my CP was still inthe 30+ range - and it has remained there to this day. Peter very sagely remarked: " Pat, just think of the mess you would have been in if you didn't have a CP30". That encouraged me to keep at it. He also suggested a watch with an Alarm - just to remind me to do my exercises. It has proved to be a great success. Embarrassing at times - when it goes off in the middle of a Sermaon at Church. Maybe the Priest takes it as a hint!!
Another problem is that I have lost 35 lbs., which has ruined my muscle tone - but I don't have the energy to do the necesssary physical exercises to improve my condition. A real Catch 22. All I can say is thank heavens I had that first year of Buteyko as a solid base to start from
I kept up my walking as far as possible, but vastly reduced. When I was "topped up" with a BT - good weather - and feeling well, I managed about one Km.. On bad days I could only walk for 10-15 minutes, and then it seemed to drain me.
Lack of energy is probably my greatest problem - a major symptom of my S Anemia. It now turns out that my Emphysema has taken second place. The Anemia factor and associated problems now are the major priority
This was all great until a couple of months ago, but all is changing. Alas! I am gradually getting weaker - energy and drive getting less and less - shortage of breath more pronounced - and walking to a maximum of 15 minutes at the best of times.
I mention the above to show that even with anadditional serious illness, the Buteyko method is so valuable and successful. There is no doubt that without it I would be permanently in hospital, ar bedridden at home - and on 24/7 O2.
Sasha's advice has been extremely encouraging and valuable. We call each other at least once a month.
With my blood problems - my Red Hemoglobin Count has bee as low as 64 (normal 150+-). Felt blody awful. Doctor trying to keep it above 80. Platelets as bad as they could get at 10-12 (normal 500+-) - which led to a 4 day nose bleed. Scay! Needed a Platelet Transfusion, but they only last a few days. I am now a bit concerned about straining for a CP or EP as recommended by Sasha - but do take it on a weekly basis. Don't want to start another nosebleed!
I am constantly amazed that I am managing to keep at CP30-32-34 with spikes to CP40. I do periodically add 5 seconds for an EP.
It is - to repeat myself again - the final proof (to me) of the value of the Buteyko Method. This is the main reason for making the effort for writing this lengthy letter. I hope it will be of help and encouragement to others with a serious health problem - in addition to their basic breathng problem.
My normal exercise is to do VSBing for 15-20 minutes at time. In my simple way - I count to 100 on the in-breath, and the 100 breaths vary between 14 and 22 minutes - depending on my condition. I can still manage to get (as Mary says) to the "Alpha" level - with visulisation of Clounds, sea breaking on beaches in the Caribbean that I have known - the usual!! Almost complete relaxation.
Very fortuately I learned over a couple of months to follow Peter's "new" Breathing Method. I now find that I am (almost) SBing for most of the day. I do forget at times when carrying groceries from the car to the house, or climbing stairs to quickly. My HV kicks in!. The joy also is that I am SBing through the night as well - so mary tells me - very quiet breathing.
However, in the past while my shortage of breath is getting quite bad at times - as much depending on weather conditions it seems. My doctor also says that my Bone Marrow is producing even less Red and White cells - which is the reason for these additional problems - plus having BTs more often - like 9-10 days recently. Even had 2 in one week which was a real chore!!
I am not fullt confident how long I can keep up the Buteyko Method. I am "hangin' there" with prayers from around the world - and wth so much love and caring from my Mary. But there is no doubt that I am getting weaker, as thereis only so much a human body can take - when your body-mass weakens!!
I have laboured over this letter for a number of days, and hope it is not in too much of a muddle, or that I have not repeated myself unduly.
Thats it folks. I do hope it is of value to some in a similar situation as myself. I wish you all Happy Breathing. God Bless. Pat.