A Gratitude Miniseries: May 2018

Charlene Marshall avatar

by Charlene Marshall |

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(Coutesy of Charlene Marshall)



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As a continuation of my “Gratitude Miniseries,” a monthly column highlighting the things I’ve enjoyed over the past four weeks, I am happy to report that May was a better month for me.

As I shared in my previous column, April was tough, and although May did have its challenges, I am thankful that I was able to enjoy most of this past month.

The weather where I live was beautiful this month, and except for a few extremely humid days, I enjoyed spending time outside with my dog. The days were filled with sunshine, and most evenings I watched the sunset, which captured beautiful colors in the sky. One of my favorite things about summer is watching the sunset, and it is even more enjoyable when I can do so at my cottage on the lake.

It is hard to believe that at this time next month, I will be writing my June column, which will mark the middle of 2018 already. I have made summer plans, including trips away with friends, and I am looking forward to describing those outings in future columns so that I can look back on wonderful summer memories at the end of this year.

For now, here are some of my favorite moments in May:

  • Participating in a work webinar: As I’ve mentioned in the past, I enjoy my job and one of the reasons for that is the opportunity for me to take part in professional development opportunities. This month, I participated in a series of three webinars for work, which challenged my way of thinking to enhance the job that I do. While I found this mentally tiring, as it required a lot of focus and energy, it was also very beneficial, and I look forward to sharing what I have learned with my colleagues.
  • Help from friends: I had an unexpected medical intervention early this month, which left me feeling quite unwell. I didn’t have a lot of time to plan or secure supports after this procedure, and I am grateful for my friends’ support in getting me through.
  • Knowledge of medical specialists: I had been struggling for some months with neurological symptoms, such as prolonged and frequent headaches, as well as vision and balance issues, and sporadic episodes of nausea. I didn’t know the cause of this, or whether it could be related to my idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). After seeing my family doctor, she referred me to a specialist who diagnosed me with a concussion following a car wreck. While I am not happy that I have the concussion, I am thankful for my doctor’s referral and subsequent diagnosis so that I can start rehabilitation to alleviate my symptoms.
  • Long weekends at the cottage: My cousins and extended family have a place close to my parent’s cottage, which is my happy place. I enjoy spending holiday weekends there by the lake. I visited during the Canadian Victoria Day weekend and made wonderful memories with my cousins. The photograph for this column of the sunset on the lake was taken from the cottage.
  • Crafting retreat: Unless you’re a crafter, it is hard to understand how spending a weekend creating can be therapeutic. This past weekend, I participated in a scrapbooking and card-making retreat at a resort on the lake. It was nice to relax and be surrounded by people who share the same hobbies as me and to enjoy the resort’s amenities as well. The meals and the company were the highlights for me. My productivity benefited from the experience, and I was able to get a number of projects completed.

What are some of the things you were grateful for this May?


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.


Shaw Jennings avatar

Shaw Jennings

Hi Charlene,

I know you previously mentioned your headaches caused by a possible concussion, but I didn't know you were experiencing vision, balance and nausea problems.

About 2 years back I had a similar experience following a fall on a concrete sidewalk. I struck my head resulting in a mild concussion. Soon after I begin to have balance problems along with constant dizziness and nausea. For over 6 months I saw multiple doctors (three ENTs, neurologist and caridologist) and experienced a wide variety of tests with no results. During the six months I also went to balance therapy, which only made things worse. With no diagnosis I had pretty much given up on finding a solution until I went to my optometrist for a routine eye checkup. I mentioned my primary dizziness symptom and following a variety of vision test, the optometrist said she thought she had a diagnosis for my problem, which was double vision. I was shocked, but hopeful she was right. I was fitted with a new prescription that included horizontal and vertical prisms in both lenses. I immediately experienced an improvement and after a few tweaks to my prescription, my symptoms significantly improved.

Funny thing was I thought my eyes had just gotten worse, I didn't realize I was seeing two images - one super imposed on the other. My double vision (Diplopia) may get worse, but if that happens there are always stronger prescriptions.

Diplopia is likely not your problem, but you might want to discuss the possibility with your doctor.

Good Luck!


Charlene Marshall avatar

Charlene Marshall

Hi Shaw,

Thanks so much for writing to me! As always, it is great to hear from you and I am thankful for you sharing your experience with me. Yes, unfortunately the balance (I've lost my balance twice, and just fell down ... no loss of consciousness or anything, just simply fell down and was very embarrassed), vision and nausea have been major problems for me in addition to my headache. I did several vestibular system assessments and the concussion physiotherapist definitely said that system of mine is off balance which often comes from a concussion.

I actually do have prisms in my glasses Shaw, although hadn't had them changed or examined in a really long time. I did see the optometrist as an order from my MD to rule out poor eye health and she said my prescription has changed significantly (and likely my prisms too) so I do need to go back and order new glasses. I am sure you're right, and this would likely help with symptoms, possibly even eliminate some of them! I will definitely bring it up with the MD as well as the concussion specialists I am seeing. If anything, i'd imagine it would at least alleviate some of the symptoms for me which would certainly be welcomed!

Thanks so much for sharing your story with me Shaw :)
Take care,


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