Kate Smithson



Year of Birth





Burnstown, Ontario



Short Bio

I am a soon-to-be 75 year old female who shares a love of travel with my husband, Bruce.  We were both educators, who met overseas, married there, then returned to raise a family in the Ottawa area.  In retirement we lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland, enjoying other cultures and travel as fully as possible.  Since fully retiring in 2009, we travel as much as possible,  spending our winters in Florida and our summers near Burnstown, outside Ottawa. Visits to our adult children who live on opposite coasts of Canada keep the air miles programs happy!

In July of 2018, I had my GP check out a chronic cough, that had begun in Guatemala in 2017 and was diagnosed back in Florida as a cold, with a lingering cough [very common that season in Florida].  The cough continued intermittently for about 16 months and I would forget about it when it disappeared.   After my GP’s referral for a breathing test, a visit to a pulmonologist and a chest CT scan, I was diagnosed with IPF in September 2018.  At that point, I had no idea about the disease or its implications.  Before leaving his office, my pulmonologist stunned me with the life-span implications of 2-5 years to live.  Needless to say, I was in total shock!  My husband and I scheduled another appointment to clarify our questions.  At that point, he outlined the options for IPF:  lung transplant [too early to consider, likely too old for consideration,]; drug treatment [all the negative possibilities and the great number of patients with side effects!]  Again an negative picture!  I left with the recommendation that I should do whatever I wanted to do NOW!  We left for Florida as usual, although I struggled somewhat with the diagnosis and the negativity.

With the support of praying friends both in Florida and at home, I scheduled another appointment with the pulmonologist for the beginning of  February.  We couldn’t believe the change in his outlook and the positive steps he had taken:  he had already prepared the paperwork for OFEV and put me in touch with the Head Start program at the Toronto Hospital.

For me, prayer support has made all the difference to MY attitude.  My faith is strong, not hoping for a miracle cure, but that I may be able to help others walking this path.  In the last month I have already lost the one friend I knew who had IPF.  After two years of no change in her test scores, her oxygen levels dropped, she developed pneumonia and died within two weeks of us having a wonderful lunch and chat.

I’m grateful for Canada’s health system and the quick diagnosis from the time I alerted my GP to the cough. With the help of the Head Start program  I was approved to start OFEV at the beginning of March.  As this drug is not photosensitive it is better for people who spend time in the sun.  In early May, after 6 weeks on OFEV, I had my third set of PF tests and basically, my numbers haven’t changed much over the past 6 months.  I have had no negative reactions to the drug and am feeling very positive about whatever time my husband and I have together.


Type of Diagnosis


Treatment / Medical Facility

Support and testing done every 3 months by pulmonologist

Current medication regimen


Lung transplantation status

to be determined

Supplemental Oxygen


Best advice for PF symptom management

Like many participants on this website, I feel tired at times, but wonder if it is partly just ‘meeting expectations’ … my non-IPF friends of the same age are also tired at times!  Take a nap when needed!

I also know that I need to lose weight … less pressure on the lungs if the ‘middle’ is smaller.  This is a difficult one for me!  I am not active and know I need to be, but back problems interfere with walking.

Are you currently taking an anti-fibrotic medication?


How did you find us?

PF News Website

How long have you or the person that you are caring for had PF?

Diagnosed 9 months ago

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