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  • Reframing IPF-Related Anxiety.

    Posted by Charlene Marshall on February 4, 2019 at 1:26 am

    I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend. Unfortunately, I woke up with a terrible head cold on Friday morning so my weekend was pretty low-key. Since my diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2016, I tend to get anxious when I develop a cold or sinus infection because I fear it will travel to my lungs/chest. That happened once for me in 2017 which triggered an exacerbation, requiring intubation and a short ICU stay. It was really scary, so naturally I worry that will happen again when I get sick.

    So far I’ve been pretty good, nursing the cold slowly with both medicinal and natural remedies. In an effort to calm my anxiety and the thoughts of “what if this does go to my lungs” , I like to think about happier things and focus on that instead of my cold or how unwell I feel. Its a bit of reframing and I guess a little mindfulness grouped together. As many of you know, traveling makes me really happy so I tend to reflect on my time spent overseas when I am trying to combat my anxiety or I think about upcoming vacations I have planned. This usually tends to get my frame of mind in a bit of a better place.

    I spent time today scratching off more of my travel destinations on my scratch map which is intended to document where I’ve been. Have you ever seen one of these? For those who love to travel, it is such a neat way to track where you’ve been. Plus, I enjoy home decor so I used vinyl to cut out one of my favourite quotes below my sign. I thought I’d share it (the picture of my new project on the wall upstairs in my house is above) with you all as it was a special project for me to complete and it is my goal to scratch off a few more destinations before my IPF progresses to a point where I can no longer travel.

    Just out of curiosity: where is your favourite destination that you’ve ever traveled to?

    What types of things to do think about or do to reframe your mind when you’re feeling particularly anxious about something IPF-related? 

    Katie Bagshawe replied 5 years, 2 months ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Sheila Blanchard

    February 9, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Hi Charlene,I loved to travel too haven’t done as much as I wanted to do,my favourite places were Scotland (where I am from)and Las Vagas.I used to go with two girlfriends for one week every year my two friends have since passed away.I haven’t been anywhere in a long time what with looking after my husband he had a heart attack then a stroke before he got cancer then my diagnoses of IPF. He has since passed.These are the places I think mostly of when anxious.I am still knitting.Keep warm.

  • Charlene Marshall

    February 9, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Hi Sheila,

    Thanks so much for getting in touch with me, and letting me know how things are going for you. It’s so nice to hear from you!

    Yes, travel is something that just seems to “feed my soul”. It’s strange, I’m not quite sure how else to describe it but as a fellow lover-of-travel, I am sure you can understand what I mean. Wow, I bet visiting Scotland would be beautiful. The Highlands is what I’d go to see in Scotland I think, or Isle of Skye. Have you ever been to either of these places? I bet they are beautiful! What did you and your friends used to do while visiting Vegas? I’ve never been there but would love to go. I was so close when I was in California not too long ago! Sorry to hear of your friends’ passing and then your husband’s, that must be so tough. Would your current health permit you to travel still? Glad you’re still knitting – doing those things we love is so important!

    Take care and thanks again for connecting!

  • Keith Nelson

    February 9, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Sorry to hear about your cold. The scary part you have already experienced, having it cause further serious damage resulting in a hospital stay.  I hope your cold runs its course, staying just a simple cold.

    Travel – the most interesting, and perhaps the most enjoyable travel experiences we have had was to the Galapagos. We’ve been there twice, and have intentions of returning in 2020. Many of the island bear no indications that man has meddled with the natural habitat, flora and fauna. Quite remarkable to experience, for a nature buff.

    Prior to my IPF diagnosis we were careful about our travel. Although it would be great to have an iron stomach, such has not been my evolution. Eating on the economy can be treacherous. My digestive systems gets out’a wack. I have not yet had to be hospitalized as a result, but it is important to get drugs into my system to prevent that from happening. We have had some success staying in the states where, generally, food storage and food preparation are not as… earthy as some places on the planet. Also, going on a cruise ship has been safe. We prefer the smaller editions, with Oceania being about as large as we care to endure. In the Galapagos the cruise “ships” are limited to 20 passengers, so that has been grand.

    I am new to the IPF diagnosis, thus my day to day effects have been negligible at this point. I just won’t be running any marathons, summitting any peaks, or scuba diving in my future. If it never gets any worse…  ok, that is a dream!

    Sorry to hear about your husband and friends, Shelia.  This can be a very treacherous path.


  • Charlene Marshall

    February 11, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks so much for writing and contributing to this topic thread. I appreciate your kind words, and am thrilled to say that so far my cold doesn’t seem to be amounting to anything and actually is a lot better than it was. Keep your fingers crossed it remains that way for me, as I know how quickly a simple cold can escalate to a hospital visit…

    Wow, you know, I’ve never heard of any close friends, family members or colleagues who have traveled to the Galapagos. That would be an incredible destination! I just looked at a few picture and it looks beautiful, the bluest of waters and such vivid green. I realize these are just photos but I’d bet the colours are just as vivid in reality…. amazing! I’d love to visit there some day 🙂

    I agree with you Keith about the food choices in some destinations. I actually had Thailand high on my list of places to visit, but recently a friend ended up with a bad gastro-bug while visiting there, even for a few weeks after she returned, due to the food differences so I think I’ll probably skip visiting there at least for awhile. Right now with a weakened immune system and compromised lungs, I just don’t want to risk anything. Have you ever been to Hawaii? That is on my bucketlist and what I’m currently planning, if I am well enough to go in September!

    Thanks for writing and I’m glad IPF has impacted you too much. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it remains this way for a long time for you!


  • Katie Bagshawe

    April 1, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Hey Charlene!

    First of all what a scary time for you dealing with such intense anxiety, I’m glad you’re finding ways in which to tackle it head on. Have you been able to access counselling at all during the diagnosis? People have mentioned it to me a few times though I’m always a bit on edge of becoming a total blubberfest throughout.

    Travelling has become a recent passion of mine and I’m very fortunate to be in position that it is easy for me to travel with minimal planning. I visited a lot of the East Coast of USA last year spending a few days in Boston, Cape Cod, Washington DC and New York. We’ve already booked to return to Boston and Washington DC for a couple of days each as I adored each city. I still would love to visit Canada, Hawaii and see more of the US in general. I’ve done a lot of Scandic countries though a work colleague recently visited Iceland and told me she had a wonderful time so I’ll keep it in mind for sure.

    As for dealing with anxiety I guess it’s all personable and it’s about learning what triggers you. Having dealt with social anxiety I know to try to prepare for these circumstances but equally respect my limitations such as accepting there are some things I just can’t do. I used to attend conventions for my Psychology learning where networking is encouraged, I can’t think of anything worse! I would often disappear outside for some fresh and a cup of tea and avoid these situations, though it may have hindered my opportunities, I didn’t mind all for not having to deal with panic attacks. But of course we can’t avoid everything, I guess it’s figuring out what relaxes and comforts you. If there was anything particularly worrying to me Dad would always the same thing that has stuck with me and my whole family, ‘just take it one step at a time’. That and the old ‘just think, by tomorrow it’ll all be over’. Helpful little mottos to repeat to yourself in stuck in a situation you wished you could be out of.

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