Be a Good Friend to Yourself
Being diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis is not for the faint of heart
It is a rough road full of fears, losses and unknowns. Being a good friend to yourself makes this difficult journey a little easier. Hi, I’m Kim Fredrickson, and it is an honor to write this column from a patient’s perspective. I invite patients, caregivers, family members, physicians, and friends to walk this journey together.
In July 2013 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I finished treatment after 8 months and breathed a sigh of relief. Then an even bigger life-altering and serious health crisis ensued. Four days after I finished radiation, I noticed I couldn’t take a deep breath. After lots of medical tests, I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in May 2014, a rare side effect from chemotherapy and radiation. In July 2014, I went on supplemental oxygen 24/7 and closed my counseling practice of 30 years soon thereafter.
It’s been a rough road getting used to all of this … lots of up and downs, tears, disbelief and trying to adjust. Of course, this cycle repeats itself with each new loss. I am determined to use this for good and to, hopefully, bless others as I walk this journey. Being able to write this column is a huge blessing to me, and I hope it will be to you as well.
I have found that being a good friend to myself on this journey has made a huge difference to me
It eases the losses and fears I experience when I am able to treat myself with the kindness and compassion I would give a friend. My patient column will reflect this as I:
- Provide practical ideas to help you care for yourself on this PF journey.
- Help you fight for what you need (O2, doctors, insurance, tests, medication, etc.). I am a bulldog, and don’t give up … boy, I’ve got some stories to share, and skills to pass on.
- Teach you how to talk to yourself with kindness and compassion about what you are going through.
- Share skills for processing your many-layered emotions, and help with ongoing grief and fear.
This is such a hard road and we’ve never been through this before
In addition, just when we figure something out, it changes. The loved ones in your life have never done this before either, so I hope there is encouragement here for them as well.
Most of us get down on ourselves for the struggles, difficulty adjusting, and discouragement we face. It is normal to wish we handled things better, but unfortunately that makes us feel even worse. Let’s learn together how to be a compassionate friend to ourselves.
It is my desire that this column be a place we can share ideas, skills, tips and compassionate hearts on this PF journey. I know there are many diagnoses that come under the PF umbrella. All are welcome here.
So many of you have more experience and wisdom than I do
I look forward to hearing from all of you. At the end of each post, please take a look at the questions I include. I’d love to have you share your thoughts, perspectives, and experience. I have so much to learn, and my hope is that we will bless one another. Please share with any other PF warriors or sites you think would benefit.
Thanks for joining me for my very first column of Just Breathe: Compassionate Help for the PF Journey!
Questions to Ponder. Please comment below if you’d like to:
What do you think about the idea of being a good friend to yourself as you live with PF?
What ways are you already a good friend to yourself? When is it the hardest?
What topics would you like me to cover?
What else stood out to you in this post?
Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.