30 Days of PF: A Learning Experience and Friendship Full of Blessings

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Photo courtesy of Linda M.

Day 9 of 30

This is Linda M.’s story:

We have been watching our friends, Kevin and Dana Olson, go through their PF journey for the past five years. Kevin was diagnosed with PF in 2014 and received a double lung transplant in August 2020. I had extremely limited knowledge of the disease until we became close friends.

My husband and Kevin had met at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point more than 49 years ago but had lost contact until a class reunion in 2016. What was to happen over the next five years was a learning experience about PF and a friendship full of blessings.

The running joke in our small group of friends is the seemingly endless list of questions I can have regarding Kevin’s PF and, more recently, his double lung transplant and recovery. Kevin has endured each round of questions and provided responses that either satisfied my question or prompted more inquiries. I am continuously learning, and Kevin and Dana are continuously sharing — sharing about the scariest moments, the victories, the surgery, the medications, the tests, and everything in between.

Being on “Team Olson” and providing support to Kevin and Dana has become a part of our lives of which we are most proud. Many times, we are oblivious to what reaching out, asking questions, and staying engaged means to a person who has an illness such as PF. It doesn’t cost anything to care and means everything in exchange.

I have told other friends and our families about Kevin and Dana. They have, in turn, asked for updates and that has created yet another opportunity to educate others about PF.

It’s important for us to remember that PF affects the spouse or significant other and their families, and not just the patient. So, ask questions, be engaged, learn, and share! It will mean more than you can imagine.

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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