Courage to Care - a column by Christie Patient

Christie Patient is a life-long explorer of the Wild West. She now resides in the Hawaiian Islands with her husband, Jonny and their two four-legged friends. Christie is a full-time freelancer, nature lover, and business owner. She took a break from work in 2019 to care for her mother, Holly before and after her double-lung transplant. Christie’s column documents the experience of her mother’s IPF progression, months-long hospitalization at UC San Francisco, and life-saving transplant. She hopes that her family’s transplant story can provide a unique perspective for other IPF patients and family members.

Moving On: A Room-by-Room Remembrance Ritual

We moved out of our house today. Tomorrow, my husband, Jonny, our two pets, and I will board a plane for a new life in a new place. We are leaving Washington state behind for good. While I am sad to leave my friends, closing this chapter feels like a…

Make the Most of a Socially Distant Holiday Season

Even in normal times, holidays can be a huge vector for illness. Viruses that thrive during the colder months, such as influenza, can cause serious problems for those with compromised immune systems or poor pulmonary function. This year, with the novel coronavirus, the…

Start Journaling, Write Away!

Earlier this month, I wrote a column about mental health and therapy options available during the pandemic. Hopefully, I made a strong case for giving therapy a try if you have been hesitant. I will always encourage people to try it out, but I…

Keep the Whole System Running by Maintaining the Parts

The medical facility at the military base where my husband is stationed is enormous. Almost every specialty you can imagine is under one roof. The first time I had an appointment there, the scheduler instructed me over the phone to visit the “Jay Team”…

Embracing Caregiving: Learning to Accept a Diagnosis

Receiving a pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis is a life-changing event. Accepting this new reality may initially seem impossible. There are so many new things to consider that never were on the radar before they suddenly became important. In addition to finding your footing in the present, you must…

Lung Transplant Memories: Greatest Hits

I’ve been going through a second (Third? Fourth?) wave of grief for all things pre-pandemic. I am still mourning things that once brought me joy but are currently off-limits — rugby, concerts, being a wedding photographer, and date night out, to name a few things. I’m still hurting…

My Hardest Days as My Mom’s Caregiver

Two weeks after my mom, Holly’s, double-lung transplant, she was discharged from the hospital. Although she was weak, she was walking, talking, eating, and, best of all, breathing on her own. After three months on a ventilator, the transplant brought her back to life.

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