Living with IPF — a column by Charlene Marshall

Charlene is a fiercely independent 30-something year-old who can’t sit still. She loves coffee, wine tasting, playing with her dog, and spending time on the beach with her family. She’s a lover of all things travel, and never passes up an opportunity for a dip in the ocean! A proud Canadian, Charlene was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2016 after 13 months of investigation into sudden shortness of breath, a chronic cough, and unusual fatigue. IPF has forced her to slow down, but she’s slowly learning the value of quality versus quantity in everything she does.

Where Do We Turn When Prescribed Therapies Aren’t Effective?

Managing symptoms is an ongoing challenge for chronically ill patients. Whether they’re caused by an exacerbation, disease progression, or environmental factors, it’s often difficult for patients to get quick relief, including from respiratory symptoms. Despite their name, rescue inhalers aren’t always effective in managing or improving pulmonary fibrosis…

I Can No Longer Enjoy These Luxuries Because of IPF

If I could give strangers one gift, it would be that they never take their healthy lungs for granted. I’ve longed for a life with fully functioning lungs for 1,854 consecutive days. That’s how long it’s been since I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) at the age of…

Eliminating Unexpected Sources of Mold in the Home

In a story about living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), mold would be an antagonist. An abundance of literature outlines the dangers to the lungs of persistent mold exposure, including lung cancer, aspergillosis, and pulmonary fibrosis. In September 2019, I wrote about household hazards that patients with PF…

What It Means When I Say I Had a ‘Bad Clinic Day’

Outpatient pulmonology appointments are common for people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The frequency of these appointments varies, depending on how the disease progresses, but spending a day at the hospital for various tests is familiar to many of us. Since my IPF diagnosis in 2016, the number of these…

How COVID-19 Has Shifted People’s Lives and Habits

March 11 was the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, I’ve been reflecting. I’ve learned a lot this year about myself and others. The hardships we’ve all faced have shown many of us how resilient and adaptable we can be. Many of…

The Pandemic Is Stealing My Already Limited Time

After being diagnosed with a life-threatening lung disease like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), many patients reluctantly accept that their life span will be shortened. Even if we’re lucky enough to receive a lung transplant, it isn’t a cure, and it essentially swaps the management of one chronic illness for another.

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