All pulmonary fibrosis (PF) patients go through hardships. We watch our lungs and health decline and we suffer emotional pain as we process our foreshortened lives. Grief becomes a companion as we emotionally process all we endure. This disease takes a toll on us.
Talk to yourself with kindness
It is very important to develop a compassionate relationship with yourself as you go through these hardships. You will benefit from talking to yourself kindly about what you are going through. I often talk to myself like this:
“It is so hard to be diagnosed with PF. My world is so different from what it used to be. I’m glad to have oxygen to keep me as healthy as possible, but it’s so hard to cart around and be aware of at all times. I want to make the most of the time I have left, but sometimes it is hard to have a positive attitude as I struggle physically and grieve. My feelings are normal. I think I’ll be a good friend to myself.”
Stop doing things that drain you
One practical way to be kind to yourself during hardships is to stop or postpone activities that wear you down. I know this isn’t always possible. I am currently experiencing extra stress as I go through extensive testing for lung transplantation evaluation. I am so grateful for this opportunity, but it is exhausting to undergo lots of doctor appointments and uncomfortable tests.
Last week, I decided to take a two-month break from my personal blog, and other social media postings. I need time to rest, recuperate, and draw close to God. I recently wrote more about my decision here. Don’t worry, I’m not taking a break from writing this weekly column.
Do things that soothe and encourage you
I make it a point to do things that are enjoyable, that soothe me, and that build me back up, including:
- Reading lawyer mystery novels
- Watching TV
- Reading my Bible and listening to Christian music
- Spending time with family and friends
- Eating popsicles!
I’m sure you have your own list. I’d love to hear what’s on it!
The main point I want to get across is that having a chronic and terminal disease takes more from us than we realize. Being intentional about taking good care of myself helps me navigate the hardships of pulmonary fibrosis. Be kind to yourself. I hope this column will help you care for yourself, too.
I’d love to hear from you
How has PF taken a toll on you? Are you able to treat yourself with kindness? Which activities have you dropped that drain you? What do you do to build yourself back up?
Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media.
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.