A week ago, reality bitch-slapped me — hard. My quiet world of carpools, laundry, what’s-for-dinner and the occasional annoyance of office politics exploded when I learned I have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Thankfully, IPF isn’t one of those instantly critical diagnoses like lung cancer. Instead it’s a stealthy disease that progressively scars the lungs, making it harder and harder to pass oxygen into the blood. At this point, I have about 50% lung capacity and I’ve started using oxygen when I’m moving around. Room air is just fine when I’m sitting still. Eventually that will change, and the day will come when my lungs simply can’t support me, no matter how much 02 I pump into them. At that point, my only option will be a lung transplant.
How far off that day is, we don’t know. The progression of my IPF could be slow or fast — we’ll just have to see. But I do know that my sleepy little ramble through life is over. For years I’ve been half-assedly thinking, planning, dreaming about what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be. The ideas were there but the will for action wasn’t. I’ve always felt like I was waiting for something — permission or a reason — to dive in. Maybe this is it.
And so, I’m starting this blog. I originally trained as a journalist, and I remain an investigator at heart. My plan is to share my journey through this blog — from the latest research taking place to insights in living with the disease to rants, revelations and those amazing moments I know lie ahead. I hope you’ll add your own ideas and discoveries to the conversation.
Some 200,000 people suffer from pulmonary fibrosis in the US, and it kills off nearly 40,000 a year. I hate those odds, and I plan to do what I can to swing things in our favor. Bring it on baby. Let’s kick some ass!