30 Days of PF: A Daughter’s Ride on the IPF Roller Coaster

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Photo courtesy of Terri Dominick

Day 12 of 30

This is Terri Dominick’s story:

The IPF roller coaster has many riders, not just that main person in the front car (aka the one with the diagnosis). I was chosen to ride this roller coaster with my father, Kevin Olson.

My time on the IPF roller coaster as a daughter has included many ups and downs. While my roller-coaster ride may not feel the same from my point of view as compared with my father’s, I can assure you it has still been a ride to remember.

For me, the ups are times when life feels “normal,” or like not much has changed. My dad tries to stay active in my life and in my family’s lives. During good times, he comes to soccer games, school events, family activities, and more.

Even as the disease progressed prior to his transplant surgery, when he was forced to wear oxygen out in public and later full-time, he would try his best to continue to be an active part of our family’s life. A doctor’s appointment where his vitals are reported as stable also is part of the incline on this roller coaster.

The downs are those times when I am inevitably reminded that my father does have a progressive lung disease. The most impressionable negative over the last several years was discussing my father’s wishes for the end of his life and coming to terms with his mortality. Every doctor’s appointment with declining vitals invokes sad emotions and brings me down as well.

While I found it very beneficial attending my father’s support group meetings when I was learning about IPF, I do feel that was another down part of the roller-coaster ride. It’s something that wouldn’t have been necessary if I wasn’t a rider on the IPF roller coaster.

My dad now feels better than he did before his double lung transplant, but this, too, is part of the IPF roller coaster.

I will ride this roller coaster with him as long as I can.

Note: Kevin Olson writes the “Riding the IPF Roller Coaster” column for Pulmonary Fibrosis News.

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.

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