30 Days of PF: Swimming Is My Happy Place

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Terril McBride

Day 17 of 30

This is Terril McBride’s story:

My name is Terril McBride, and I have IPF, like my father before me, and my two brothers. I was diagnosed in 2015. However, I had many lung complications after having open heart surgery in 2014 to repair defects. Coupled with my family history, these were all clues leading to my eventual diagnosis.

In 2015, I became so dizzy and short of breath. I thought my heart surgery had failed. I couldn’t walk 10 feet without having to sit down. After my diagnosis, I got on Esbriet and started pulmonary rehab. I started to feel better on the days I went to rehab. That’s when I began swimming laps on my off days.

One year later, I swam in qualifying swim meets. In 2017, I competed in the National Senior Games, placing second in the 50-yard butterfly, and 6th in 50-yard freestyle. I’ve continued to swim and have qualified for the 2021 National Senior Games, to be held in May 2022.

Like others with IPF, I experience fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, and stretches of time when I needed to be on oxygen. Doing laps is meditative and calming for me, and I swim pretty much every day.

I tend to have anxiety about my diagnosis. PF was something I did not think would happen to me, and I just decided to fight it with everything that I have. Given the genetic component of my disease, I also worry about how it will affect my children. And I’m worried about COVID-19 and potential variants that may render vaccine protection ineffective … so I swim. Swimming is my happy place. I am grateful for every day and every breath.

Pulmonary Fibrosis News’ 30 Days of PF campaign will publish one story per day for PF Awareness Month in September. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofPF, or read the full series.