A Gratitude Miniseries: April 2018

A Gratitude Miniseries: April 2018

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Editor’s note: A continuation of Charlene Marshall’s monthly “Gratitude Miniseries.”

Unfortunately, April was not my best month. While many good things happened, which I am excited to share below, last month was full of unexpected hardships for both my friends and me.

I have a concussion and have to start physiotherapy unique to brain injuries this coming week. I am not looking forward to this, though I am glad that I have found some answers, as I was concerned about the frequency, intensity, and length of headaches I had. Although having to add more appointments into my week seems daunting right now, I suppose it is important to be grateful that my headaches are not due to something more severe.

I also feel a little sad for friends of mine who faced some tough decisions this month. They will get through them and be stronger in the end, but I know it takes up a lot of emotional energy for them.

Lastly, Canada had some pretty wild weather that included a late-April ice storm that left many without heat and water for a few days. Thankfully, I was not one of those Canadians, but the weather did interfere significantly with some plans I was looking forward to.

While it wasn’t my favorite month of this year, I certainly have some things I am grateful for this month:

  • Vancouver 2018: I was thrilled to be healthy enough to travel, which was by far the most exciting thing this April. I am ashamed to admit that despite all the traveling I have done over the years, I haven’t spent much time exploring Canada. This trip helped change that, and I am so grateful that I was able to spend four days on the west coast. It is beautiful. The mountains and ocean views were stunning, and this trip truly left me feeling rejuvenated! To stand at the top of Whistler Mountain (even with my oxygen in tow) and look out over miles and miles of rolling hills is something I won’t soon forget. I also had an amazing visit with friends, and I am grateful for the reminder that distance doesn’t have to change friendships.
  • Finishing projects for friends: I am very crafty and enjoy many do-it-yourself projects. One of my best friends is having a baby in July, and she asked me to make all of her shower invitations by hand. While this was a big task, I was honored to do it, and after many weeks, I finished them. She was thrilled with how they turned out, and this made me happy. I am grateful for the opportunity to apply what I love to making others happy.
  • Getting my hair done: I know this may sound silly to some people. However, having my hair done usually makes me feel really good, physically and emotionally. Upon my idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) diagnosis in early 2016, I was nervous to continue getting my hair done because I have struggled with strong scents, and when I have my hair done, I usually put highlights in it, which has a very strong chemical smell. I wasn’t sure how I would tolerate this and knew that I couldn’t compromise my breathing. Thankfully, my hairdresser and I worked together to reduce the smells, and I have been able to get my hair done. It had been months since I had it done and I am grateful for the opportunity to feel better.

Despite April being more difficult than previous months so far this year, I still am grateful for the opportunities that came my way. I am looking forward to a beautiful May, hopefully with warmer weather as summer draws near.

What happened in April that you are grateful for?


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.


  1. Andy from Virginia says:

    Charlene, I am so sorry to hear of your concussion and hope that you can overcome the effects quickly.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Andy! I am so grateful to hear from those who read my column, and I so appreciate your well wishes!
      Warm regards,

  2. Colleen says:

    May your May be better! The weather is finally warming up and hopefully you can get out and about more. Why does it take getting sick to appreciate what you have right in your own, I’ll say, backyard. I live in Michigan and there is so much to see and do here it’s nice to just go and as I put it get lost. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go overseas, but not sure that will happen now, but I’ve found over the past several years that there are some beautiful and awesome places to see right here in the US…now it’s just getting to see them. Working full time makes that part a bit difficult. I haven’t attempted to fly with o2 yet, almost intimidated to, but I’m sure I’ll do it. Enjoy the simple things and make very breath count!

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Colleen,

      Thank you so much for your reading my column and sharing your comments. I’m so appreciative of your kind words!
      I do hope May will be better as well, and so far it is off to a beautiful start. If you’re in Michigan, we aren’t too far apart so I hope that means you’ve been enjoying the beautiful spring (or summer?) weather we’ve been having the last few days. With the exception of my fatigue feeling more intense with the heat; I’ve certainly been enjoying the sunshine! I used to take trips to Michigan each summer, and I agree, there are some beautiful places and views to take in near you or all around the US. I find that road trips to explore new places, sights and sounds can be equally as exciting as overseas vacations. I agree, working is such a necessary piece of life for me, as I am fully independent financially, although it causes for extreme fatigue and exhaustion. Usually I need my weekends just to recuperate. If you do choose to fly with your oxygen, feel free to get in touch: I have flown 3x now, two international trips and one domestic and have noted some tips and tricks if you’d like. I hope you get a chance to travel, if that is something you want to do 🙂

      Wishing you the best Colleen, and hoping you are doing well!
      Warmest regards,

  3. Alfred Ngapo says:

    Kia Kaha Charlene, (Be Strong)
    I am talking to you on behalf of my brother in law who has pulmonary Fibrosis, my sister who I am becoming very close to would be devastated if she was to lose him, so what do I do, I have been browsing the internet for some miracle cure but not to be so far, but you never give up aye Charlene, I really respect you Charlene and people like you, would it be right in saying god plays a lot in your life? I really worry about my brotherinlaw and am thinking of starting a give a little fund raising so he can go to china for treatment, but my sister said hes to proud to except help like that, I am at two minds, Charlene what do you think, I respect your opinion.Ka Kite, Alfred.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Alfred,

      Thank you so much for reading my column and for your kind words – they are very much appreciated! I am so sorry to hear of your brother-in-law’s diagnosis, IPF is such a cruel disease! How people live with and/or approach treatment to their illness is such an individualized choice, and of course, the fear of losing someone to IPF can be crippling. I think my biggest advice is to ensure that any/all “leads” you find on treatments or “cures” for this disease come from a credible source and are backed by the FDA. Sadly, there are a lot of scams out there from people wanting to take patients’ money who are desperate for a cure….as we all are. I actually just read about this happening earlier today, so I just don’t want it to happen to you. It is important not to give up, I agree… especially since some people on our forums have been living with IPF for 10+ years. This goes to show that sometimes prognosis and life-expectancy for this disease can be wrong. I hold onto this hope! In terms of treatment options for your brother-in-law, it is so admirable that you want to help him. I’d suggest starting with his pulmonary doctor to see if he suggests anything that might be particularly helpful for your brother-in-law. Best of luck Alfred, and please feel free to reach out any time!

      Warm regards,

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