All about my portable oxygen concentrator (and why I love it)

Because I have LAM, my lungs don’t work as well as a healthy person’s so I sometimes need supplemental oxygen. I feel lucky that I don’t need to use oxygen 24/7. Some LAM patients do, and I might too at some point. But right now I just need it when I exercise and when I fly. For these tasks, I use what’s called a portable oxygen concentrator (aka “POC” for those of us in the know). It’s a small machine that recycles the air into purer/more concentrated oxygen that I breathe in through a nasal tube. Fun 🙂

For 4 1/2 years, I borrowed a POC for travel from the company that supplied my home oxygen needs. The one we typically got was pretty big and heavy. But Justin, being amazing, took on the job of lugging it all over the world, so I didn’t suffer too much.

Aside: the fact that I can say that we “lugged” a POC all over the world is pretty amazing. I am very lucky that I can fly (some LAM patients can’t). And not too long before I was diagnosed, POCs weren’t allowed on planes.

When the O2 supply company changed their policy and I couldn’t borrow one anymore, we decided to buy our own since we traveled so frequently. After a LOT of research, we bought the Inogen One G3. It was pricey, but it was definitely worth it for us. It’s small! It’s light! It’s quiet! It has worked perfectly every time.

We bought it directly from Inogen and got a lifetime warranty, a carry bag, a power adapter, a car charger, and 3 batteries (one 8-hour and two 4-hour batteries). Its capabilities are 1-4 liters per minute (LPM) and I use it on 2 when I fly and on 4 when I exercise. The carry bag is OK… it holds the machine perfectly and is well-made, but it doesn’t have any pockets. So I purchased the backpack for this trip since there will be times when I want to ride a bike or hike in a more athletic/exercise-y manner. And in fact I just used it successfully in Prague to climb the 162 stairs up to Vyšehrad. It was comfortable and since I only needed to bring 1 battery with me, it also held my camera, wallet, and water bottle.

Having a lung disease sucks. Using oxygen in public can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But you get used to it over time, and having a tool that enables me to live my life to the fullest was a great investment.

Vyšehrad, Prague with portable oxygen concentrator

Note: I have not been compensated by Inogen – I’m just a happy customer.

8 Replies to “All about my portable oxygen concentrator (and why I love it)”

  1. You take my breath away! I love you both all the verys!

  2. Barbara Alterman says: Reply

    Dear Sarah and Justin: I think you are spectacular. I wish I had the courage to live my life as fully as you. You take my breath away (no pun intended- well, sorta)! I went to Prague many years ago, and I thought it was the most beautiful city I had ever been to. I have always been slightly claustrophobic and haven’t been on a plane in many years. When I read your posts, It bring tears to my eyes, as you give me hope that anything is possible, and that one day, I too, can fly free.

  3. Sarah-I’m so impressed with your eloquence concerning your oxygen and how you describe Justin as amazing as are you. Hope you’re having a blast.

  4. andrea alaimo says: Reply

    love your blog. wondering if you use your Inogen on continuous flow or pulsed. Does Inogen offer a continuous flow unit?

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      At home I used the big concentrator on continuous when I exercised or needed it. When I travel I use it on pulse. The Inogen One G3 is a pulse unit. I’m not sure what other options Inogen has to offer and being in another country it seems I can’t access the full website. But if you go on their website or contact a rep they can give you all sorts of info. Hope this helped!

  5. You are amazing!

  6. Shannon Skaife says: Reply

    You are such an inspiration. My husband and I (a few years more senior than you pups) hope to travel to many interesting and unique places despite my diagnosis of LAM. Traveling with O2 can be so cumbersome, I love hearing about how you make it such an easily integrated part of the journey. 34 countries, wow! Great job raising awareness for us Lamazons!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Thank you so much, Shannon! Glad I could be of some inspiration to you. 🙂

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