A Gratitude Miniseries: October 2018

A Gratitude Miniseries: October 2018

younger than 30

As I reflect on this past month, I am happy to share that October has been filled with many good times and memories for my loved ones and me.

As we’re only a couple of months away from wrapping up 2018, I look forward to reflecting on this gratitude miniseries at the end of the year. For the most part, it has been a good year, at least compared to the last few years. I’ve learned many lessons along the way.

One of the most eye-opening lessons I’ve learned this year is the importance of quality time with friends and family. While everyone should value this, somehow it seems even more important when living with a life-threatening illness. Before I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), I moved through life quickly, sometimes not stopping long enough to appreciate quality moments with important people in my life. While learning this lesson is still a work in progress, it has become evident to me that what I appreciate most nowadays is not something materialistic, but rather time and experiences with the people I love most.

As I look at my October calendar spread out beside me on my bed, I have been lucky to experience many different adventures this month. I either visited places I’d never been, or I was able to take friends and family to places they had never been, which meant a lot to me. Overall, my energy level seemed a little more tolerable this month, or at least consistent throughout the month, with fewer ups and downs. While it is nowhere near comparable to someone else my age, I am thankful that my lungs and my body cooperated enough to have some very positive experiences with friends and family.

Following are some of my favorite experiences of October:

  • Thanksgiving and the changing colors of the leaves: The long Thanksgiving weekend in Canada (Oct. 8) is usually one of my favorites of the year. This is not only due to the family time it brings, but it also signifies the seasons changing. I love the beautiful colors of autumn. Particularly, the town I grew up in is very small compared to the city I live in now, and the beauty of fall there is quite exquisite. This year certainly did not disappoint, and Thanksgiving weekend at home was nice with friends, family, and beautiful scenery, as I took my dog for a drive to see the fall colors.
  • Wine tours with my parents: As I get older, I am beginning to appreciate different wines and to enjoy wine tours. My parents also are into wine, and they had never visited the wineries close to where I live now. I encouraged them to come down and spend a day touring the wineries, and they loved it. It was such a nice day catching up with them and bonding over a now-common passion of ours. They stayed overnight, and I was happy to make them a delicious butternut squash dinner with freshly baked bread. Of course, we had a bottle of one of our new favorite wines, which was a nice ending to a perfect day.
  • Celebrating a friend’s good news: One of my closest friends got engaged this month, so it was nice to go out and have a celebratory dinner with her late last week. We went for comfort food at a favorite restaurant of ours so I could hear all the details, and then we went to a do-it-yourself Christmas card-making class. This is something both of us thoroughly enjoy, and it was a nice night celebrating our friendship mixed in with some good food and drinks.
  • Attending a women’s crafting retreat with my cousins: I find crafting very therapeutic these days, and I try to spend as much time as I can scrapbooking, card-making, or digitally designing things. This is a nice outlet for me and allows me to balance the frustrations of work that are occurring as of late. Designating a weekend of 12-hour days simply to crafting, catching up with my cousins, eating, and drinking was pure bliss. I am so glad I was able to stay healthy enough to attend. Not only was it fun and relaxing, but I also was able to make headway on some of the Christmas gifts I am making this year, which was a bonus.

What are you thankful for this month?

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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!
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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!

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