February 14, 2020 at 6:08 pm #23000Charlene MarshallKeymaster
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, which is a holiday solely focused on love and relationships, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my relationships (professional, friendships, romances, etc.) have changed since being diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Inevitably, when you’re told you have a terminal illness, many aspects of your relationships shift or change.
After my IPF diagnosis in 2016, I remember being strategic about who I shared this news with as many worries swirled in my mind about the various relationships I had in my life. I highlighted some of those worries in a column I wrote a little over a year ago called Introducing Your Chronic Illness in a New Relationship. One of the hardest decisions I had to make after my diagnosis was: how much do I share with each person?
Fast-forward nearly four years later and yes, some relationships have certainly changed. However, I firmly believe that people who are meant to be in my life have stayed by my side and new folks have been introduced, too. Others have faded away and that is just part of the ebb and flow of relationships sometimes.
How have your relationships changed since being diagnosed with IPF/PF?
February 19, 2020 at 1:38 am #23063JesseParticipant
Yes, since being diagnosed with IPF a few of years ago, many relationships in my life have changed. More people seemed to have left than have come into my life. I certainly understand the ebb and flow of life and also believe that those who stay in your life are meant to be there. At first, the disappointment I felt about those who had left made me a little sad. I understand everyone deals with terminal disease differently and for some, it is difficult seeing a friend going through this and knowing that they will eventually lose that friend.
Like Charlene, I choose who to tell and who not to. These days, I have no expectations. I have a smaller ‘core’ group of friends who I know will be there for the long haul and who are a constant. I have learnt to let others go, to continue on their life journey.
The most important relationship in my life is with my wife. This disease has brought us even closer than I could have imagined. We still plan for the future – plans which are turned into goals. If the goals can’t be met, then we will readjust.
And the relationship with my disease? Well, that’s another story!
February 19, 2020 at 9:28 am #23065Mark KoziolKeymaster
Hello Jesse, thank you for sharing your journey. I know sometimes it is not the easiest of things to do. Take care, Mark.
February 22, 2020 at 8:24 am #23093Charlene MarshallKeymaster
Thanks so much for writing to us and sharing your story. As Mark said above, we know this isn’t the easiest thing to do but we appreciate it.
When certain people walked out of my life or rather, “shy’d away” after my IPF diagnosis, I also was very upset and disappointed. However, this whole experience has been really enlightening to learn who your true friends are and who sticks around during the hardships. For that I am grateful. Hang on tightly to that core group of friends you mentioned. I’m so glad to hear of the relationship with your wife being a positive one too, she sounds like a wonderful, compassionate and kind woman. Hang on tightly to that and enjoy all the moments 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
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