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.

The Exhaustion from IPF is More Than Physical

When you think of someone who has a lung disease, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), it is easy to understand that physical exhaustion is likely a primary side effect. What may not be so easy to understand, however, is the mental exhaustion that comes with having…

Struggling to Find the Empathy I Once Had

This is difficult for me to write. Since being diagnosed with IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis), I sometimes struggle to find empathy when others are sick with common ailments such as a cold, sore throat, headache, etc. I really dislike this about myself. In fact, writing about this…

Responding to the Comment ‘You Are So Strong’

I have a love-hate relationship with the need to be strong on this journey with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It is important to be strong, but I think it is equally important not to show, or attempt to show, strength, especially when you don’t feel very strong. People sometimes…

Despite IPF, I Am Grateful in This New Year

It would be easy to make this column about the difficulties that come with living with IPF. In fact, several possible topics for this post were about just that, including: How exhausting the holidays are with IPF; how shopping for the holidays in large crowds of people sends…

Open Letter from an Unwilling Patient

Typically speaking, I pride myself on consciously choosing not to express hatred toward anyone or anything. It is my personal belief that the word hate is overused in our society, and that it can have terribly negative effects on people overall, impacting the general mood, creating a toxic work place,…

Chilled to the Max: Canadian Winters and IPF

As a typical Canadian winter commenced with vengeance this weekend, bringing blistery cold winds, snow and ice, I find myself both fearful and anxious about how my lungs will fare throughout these upcoming months. While I have never been someone who has loved winter, I do appreciate the…

Well-intended, Infuriating Comments

I read an article yesterday in Pulmonary Fibrosis News that told about a woman who was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in June. Her disease is progressing so fast that she needs a double lung transplant now – like now. She is on the transplant list, but doctors say that…

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