30 Days of PF: Make Every Breath Count

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Aishia Burnett

Day 30 of 30

This is Aishia Burnett’s story:

January 2015: Picture it: I was working full time, going to school part time, a mom to two high schoolers, happily married to my best friend. I got pneumonia and my doctor sent me for a chest x-ray. She said, “There’s something weird on your x-ray. Let’s take another when your pneumonia has cleared up.”

March: The weird thing was still showing on the x-ray, so she sent me to a pulmonologist.

April: The pulmonologist told me I had interstitial lung disease; he ordered tests to find out what type. I was oblivious to this disease and its progression. I just kept living.

Fast forward to 2017: From June to December, my lung function declined from 68% to 33%. My pulmonologist told me he believed it was IPF and referred me to Dr. Raghu at the UWMC in Seattle.

March 2018: At my first consultation I was terrified because I learned I would need a double lung transplant to save my life. Dr. Raghu held my hand that day, looked me in the eyes, and told me he was going to help me. And he did. I was put on supplemental oxygen with exertion. I learned I needed to lose 33 pounds to meet the BMI requirements. I spent the next 2.5 years living with oxygen. I developed a strong yoga practice, kayaked, went to concerts. I began exploring watercolor painting.

September 2020: I finally lost the weight and began the workup for a double lung transplant. I was listed on Nov. 25, 2020. A short four months passed and on March 22, 2021, I was blessed with the gift of two beautiful, healthy lungs.

Now: I am a grandmother. I am still working, I am healthy, I can sing and dance without running out of breath. I look forward to traveling. I feel a depth of gratitude I didn’t know existed. I feel it in the core of every part of me. Life is in high definition. Colors are brighter, feelings are felt more deeply, every experience is cherished. I owe many thanks to so many and I pay it forward by remembering the golden rule and making every breath count.

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.