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      Recently I’ve been having a tough time both physically and emotionally, as I grapple with the changes that the progression of my idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is forcing upon me. It is hard to admit, but I am finding myself a lot more weepy these days, meaning I’ll sometimes cry and not even know what has upset me. I also feel as though my irritability has increased, and I find myself a lot more impatient and angry with people, regardless of their intentions. This is really hard to manage when I try and surround myself with people I love, and those who love me.

      Since this behaviour is so far from my norm, I am deliberately spending more time on my own so that the risk of getting angry at someone unintentionally is reduced. I haven’t been able to understand the exact cause of the change I am seeing within myself, but I am certain that my recent health challenges are not helping the situation. I am also dealing with a concussion, although I do not want these symptoms to be excused by this. Maybe I will back to my old self in a few days? I can only hope so, and I am willing to do the work to ensure that this difficult time period passes quickly.

      Friends who love me have been supportive despite what-I-feel are embarrassing mood swings. They try to say things to me that are helpful, or try to make me laugh, but they aren’t sure if they actually make me feel better or not. Recently, one of them asked me: what are some things that others can say to you that are helpful when living with a life-threatening illness?

      This was an excellent question, as I’ve never been asked it before and I’m giving it some thought. We all know the typical/cliche responses of “tomorrow will be a better day”, or “I know how you’re feeling” are not often helpful. But what IS helpful?

      I’d love to compile some responses that are helpful from others when we’re having a hard time with our disease. Once this is completed for my friends and family, I’ll share the document here as well. Please help by contributing your thoughts with me!

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