A Gratitude Miniseries: February 2018

A Gratitude Miniseries: February 2018

younger than 30

If you have been reading my previous columns, you might recall that at the beginning of the new year, I decided to write a gratitude piece as each month in 2018 comes to a close. It is hard to believe this is the case for February already!

The goal of these gratitude columns is to reflect on the month passed and write down what I am grateful for and why. I have always treasured the idea of a gratitude journal, but I have never been able to keep up with writing in it each evening.

As I mentioned in my first “Gratitude Miniseries” column, writing about the things I am thankful for holds me accountable for reflecting on the month that has just passed and noting what brought me joy. It is an opportunity for me to document some of the wonderful experiences that I will be having this year, and I am excited to use these columns at the end of 2018 to reflect on my year and how much I have to be grateful for.

Despite it being a short month, February was jam-packed. In addition to the specific events that I have shared below, February was also a month of continued healing and personal growth. It was the month that a new project launched and I am thrilled with that project’s success thus far. Here are a few more things that I am grateful for throughout February 2018:

  • Massages: Lately, I have been receiving regular massage therapy treatments once per week for pain relief and muscle relaxation. These have made an incredible difference in helping me deal with pain, improving my sleep, and allowing my body overall to feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. In addition to physically feeling better following a massage, I also feel better mentally and emotionally as I thoroughly enjoy my conversations with my registered massage therapist. This month, I am particularly grateful for her and how her talents have been able to help me cope with my idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
  • Lunch with a colleague: This may seem like a mundane task for many, but I adore so many of my colleagues and am grateful for an opportunity to catch up with one of them a few weeks ago over a special lunch. This colleague always makes me laugh, and we aren’t often able to get together for one-on-one time. I am thankful for her!
  • Crafting fundraiser: On the Saturday of the long weekend in February, I attended a very special event with my cousins and my aunt. This was a crafting weekend, something I thoroughly enjoy and find therapeutic as I deal with my lung disease. What made it even more special was that it was a fundraiser in memory of the host’s husband, who unfortunately passed away unexpectedly from a heart condition. With having a lung disease, I know firsthand how important both lung and heart health are, so I was very touched to be able to participate in a day that was honoring this man’s life. Not only was it a beautiful day to catch up with my own family members and get some outstanding projects done, it was also an opportunity to give back to a cause that I believe in. 
  • My nephew’s birthday: He turned 11 this month and I can’t believe how fast he is growing up. I am grateful for feeling well enough to drive to the city he lives in on the night of his birthday and join my brother and his family for my nephew’s birthday dinner. Then I took him out to pick up his birthday gift and his choice of birthday dessert, which we all shared upon returning home. I am not able to see my nephews as much I’d like these days, and I am thankful for the opportunity to spend another birthday with him!
  • An opportunity to share my story: This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to travel internationally to speak about my experience as a young adult living with a lung disease. This was an incredible opportunity! I spoke in front of doctors, researchers, advocates, and other patients on the topic of what it is like to live with a fatal lung disease as a young adult. I was also inspired by other patients’ stories and am filled with hope about future research and treatment options in the fight against IPF. Connecting with other patients and hearing their stories was such a privilege, and I won’t soon forget how grateful I am to have this opportunity.

Sometimes it can seem difficult to find things to be grateful for while living with IPF. But there is always something. What are you grateful for this month?

***

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.

Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!
×
Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!

8 comments

  1. Thomas Bivens says:

    Hello Charlene
    My name is Tom Bivens,I was diagnosed with Ipf almost 4 years ago.
    I enjoy reading your your article, I recently saw a piece about a fella who is going thru pretty much what i am (symptom wise) lots of phlegm, hard coughing jags etc… I just am starting pulmonary rehab at Froedert hospital rehab in Menomonee falls.
    I’ve been cautiously optimistic about everything and thank God almost each night for being there .
    Where do you reside ?
    I’ve been to 2 meetings near milwaukee in the last 2 years thru Esbriet of which I’m on and was involved in trial phase.
    Continue writing as I read
    God Bless

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Thank you so much for reading my columns and sharing a bit about your story. I am sorry to hear of your IPF diagnosis, but know that many here understand what you are going through and will happily offer support. Recently on the Pulmonary Fibrosis News forums, which can be found here:https://pulmonaryfibrosisnews.com/forums/ many people have been discussing the issue of excess phlegm and coughing. Feel free to check out the forum and the ways in which they manage this pesky symptom of IPF. I am glad you are starting a pulmonary rehabilitation program, I found this really helped me with deep breathing and lung strengthening. I reside in Canada Thomas 🙂

      I will continue writing, thank you so much for your kind words and wishing you only the very best. Keep in touch!
      Charlene

  2. Joyce Douglas says:

    Hello Charlene. I am enjoying your posts and am happy to tell you that I too am going to be presenting ‘my story of life with pulmonary fibrosis’ at a Health Forum in April, here in Brandon MB. I was asked if I would consider it and I decided that I would like to tell people about my experiences and it turns out my Dr. is also doing a presentation at the beginning of the afternoon, so it will be special to hear his views also. I will fill you in after it happens. Thankfully I am finding that Esbriet is working for me.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Joyce,

      Thank you so much for reading my columns and for sharing that you are enjoying reading my posts… I so appreciate your kind words. I’m so glad to hear that you are going to be presenting your story, that is wonderful! So much advocacy and awareness can begin with us as patients, although I know it can take some time to be comfortable enough to share your story. Kudos to your courage! Yes please do connect back and share with me (and others) how it goes, I will be thinking of you. When are you giving this presentation Joyce? I am also very thankful that Esbriet is working for you and I hope that continues. Best wishes to you… I look forward to hearing how it goes.

      Cheers,
      Charlene

  3. Ric Ellens says:

    Have you heard of PBI-4050 there doing great things in IPF you should look into there new clinical trial starting in a few months

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Ric,

      Thanks for reading my column and contributing your thoughts. I haven’t heard of this, but I will look into it! Perhaps it is only through US treatment centres and that is why I haven’t as I am Canadian. I am going to do some research on it now though, thank you for sharing with myself and others who will see your comment as well.

      Cheers,
      Charlene

        • Charlene Marshall says:

          Hi Bob,

          I am not actually sure as I am unfamiliar with it myself, and am not even sure where this is being run/facilitated/tested, in terms of which US facility. Perhaps a search on google will be a good place to start, or even asking if your doctor has heard anything about it where he/she could advise you? Goodluck!

          Charlene

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *