Lessons I’ve Learned Since My IPF Diagnosis 3 Years Ago

Charlene Marshall avatar

by Charlene Marshall |

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We learn the most important lessons in the most difficult times, and I’m grateful to have had opportunities to live those lessons and share them with others.

An internet search of popular life lessons showed me the following:

  • It’s not all about you.
  • Your health is your most valuable asset.
  • Don’t take anything for granted.
  • Perspective is a beautiful thing.

While I always heard those cliches, I didn’t really live those lessons until my idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) diagnosis in April 2016.

Now I know not to take anything for granted and I realize that my health was my most valuable asset. I would do anything to be healthy again! Furthermore, I now have a unique perspective on life and desire to live in the moment because I recognize my morality — I can no longer rely on planning things “someday.” Lastly, I don’t feel guilty about making “everything” about me. I don’t mean that in a selfish way. I am still committed to helping others and giving back. However, when it comes to self-care or social activities that I don’t want to participate in, I often decline because I must take care of myself.

As I reflected on my three-year diagnosis anniversary, I wrote a list of other lessons I’ve learned.

  • Proactive avoidance of difficult situations: This is inspired by a new favorite book of mine called “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck.” Before reacting, I ask myself if the situation is worth investments of emotional, physical, or mental energy. If it isn’t, I let it roll off my shoulders and move on. This approach has saved me hours of frustration, tears, and anger.
  • Be kind to others: While this may seem obvious, practicing it isn’t always instinctual. Life sometimes gives others too much to handle. We never know everything a person goes through, so it’s important to always be kind. I try my best to do this. I am always striving to be better at it.
  • Prioritize what makes me happy: Since I’ve begun prioritizing what brings me joy, both my mental and physical health have improved. My relationships with others have also improved, along with my ability to better manage my time.

What important lessons have you learned since your pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis?


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.


Viv avatar


I have learn to let go and don’t worry about the small stuff. Life is too short. Take care of yourself first. Trust in God?

Charlene Marshall avatar

Charlene Marshall

Hi Viv,

Thank you for reading my columns and getting in touch via the comments. I couldn't agree more with the lesson you've learnt, about not sweating the small stuff. Life is too short and at the end of the day, the only one we need to look out for is ourselves. Wishing you well and thanks for writing.


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