IPF & Transplant…. My Final Frontier
My name is Allen Henry and I am a 63-year-old man who is waiting to received a life-saving lung transplant hopefully by the end of this year 2019. I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (I.P.F.) in 2010 and my Pulmonologist removed me from my longtime job as a steel machinist at that time in the hope of prolonging my failing lungs. The average life expectancy of someone with pulmonary fibrosis is three to five years but if it’s caught early, treatment can help slow down the progression of the disease. My Doctor was cautiously optimistic and explained that the lung scarring that occurs in pulmonary fibrosis can’t be reversed, and that there is no current treatment that has proved effective in stopping progression of the disease. I was lucky in that a new drug trial was starting for IPF and that I responded positively to the drug in that I did find some positive improvement of my symptoms and a slowing of the disease’s progression. In addition my local pulmonologist arranged for me to be see at the Cleveland Clinic with the hope of potential new treatments and possible transplant.
Nine years later and after multiple visits to the Cleveland Clinic and various local hospitals, hundreds of tests, scans and medicines I am being evaluated by the wonderful doctors at the Cleveland Clinic for listing and ranking for the transplant list. My lung functions have deteriorated to the point that I can no longer be without my oxygen and am now 24 hour dependent upon it, simple things like getting dressed and performing light activities leave me short of breath. I can no longer enjoy functions and activities with my family. At my last visit to the Cleveland Clinic it was decided that I am now at the end stage and the only hope will be a lung transplant. With that I am returning to Cleveland Clinic in mid July for the final evaluation and listing for transplant. This decision is to provide me the opportunity for a much higher quality of life and some extra time with my loved ones.