Breathing is something most of us take for granted, and most people would never want to experience the feeling of not being able to breathe freely. Unfortunately Eric Layne has had this experience daily since developing Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) four years ago.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a form of lung disease that is caused by scarring or thickening of the lungs. A disease is called “idiopathic” when its cause cannot be found. The scarring and thickening of the lungs make it increasingly difficult to breathe. Although IPF occurs most often in people between the ages of 50 and 70, sometimes people as young as Eric, age 38, are affected.
April 2, 2012
Picture it. Boston, July 2007. (Sophia Petrillo, eat your heart out!) I was enjoying life. I was still considered a newly wed, having married on October 7, 2006. I had started a new job and I was back in school working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Management. Like just about every July, I went to the Boston GospelFest at City Hall Plaza. The artist that year was one of my favs, Karen Clark Sheard. I remember the concert vividly. What I also remember is that I could not enjoy the concert fully because I kept coughing and was having trouble breathing. I attributed this to a cold coming on or maybe even the beginning of an upper respiratory infection. After a few days of not feeling well, I went to my doctor. I was given antibiotics for a sinus infection. I completed the dose of antibiotics and a couple of weeks went by, but my cough would not go away. I also noticed that my breathing was slowly getting more difficult. Where as before I would bustle up a couple of flights of stairs with no problem, I now had to stop at the top of one flight of stairs to catch my breath. Every day, menial tasks like showering and getting in and out of a car became daunting. I went back to the doctor to try to figure out what was going on. The first question they asked was: “Do you smoke?” No! I am definitely not a smoker. Since I was a kid the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke has literally made me nauseous. The next question asked was: “Have you ever been exposed to asbestos?” No. I have been a banker for the majority of my career and have always been in customer service – not to say that these environments could not expose me to asbestos, but if they had, others would be suffering with this right along with me. Likewise, I have never lived alone and none of the people I have lived with have any breathing issues. So, I must not have been exposed to asbestos at home either.
The hunt began to figure out what was causing me to not be able to breathe. In the fall of 2007, I had a lung biopsy and a couple of bronchoscopes, all in an effort to rule out things like: bronchitis, tuberculosis, BOOP and sarcoidosis. These and all other tests came back negative. All the while, my breathing was becoming more and more labored. In December 2007, I was referred to the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Pulmonary Associates. It was there, in January 2008, that I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a debilitating disease marked by progressive scarring of the lungs that gradually interferes with a person’s ability to breathe. Pulmonary Fibrosis belongs to a family of diseases called Interstitial Lung Disease. These diseases have similar characteristics and can result in lung scarring – scarring that is most often referred to as Pulmonary Fibrosis. Although this lung disease is an idiopathic disease – a disease that comes on spontaneously and/or from an obscure or unknown cause - I could now put a name to it.
I started to do well under my new treatments for IPF. So well, that when put on the lung transplant list and offered a lung transplant on December 24, 2008, I felt well enough to turn it down. I continued to do well until February 2010 when I had a lung disease setback. My IPF progressed and caused me to spend a week in the hospital. Following this setback, after much thought and prayer and at my doctor’s recommendation, I worked to get back on the lung transplant list.
On Friday, September 3, 2010, I was officially listed on the MGH Lung Transplant List. Praise the Lord! Now, I wait patiently for the new set of lungs that await me.
April 10, 2012
Click on the "Pulmonary Fibrosis" link to go to the American Lung Association website and the information they have on Pulmonary Fibrosis.
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October 11, 2012
Eric: I can't help but be moved by your courage and activism to educate the public about this issue. Your light shines so bright in the face of difficult circumstance. I pray you are returned to health, so that you run up those flights of stairs again and sing out loud at your next Clark Sisters concert.
October 8, 2012
eric.AFTER READING THIS PAGE IT REALLY OPEN MY EYES AND MAKE ME REALISE HOW FORTUNATE IAM. I AM PULLING FOR YOU AND I HOPE YOU WILL PULL THROUGH. YOU ARE A LAYNE AND YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT.
September 25, 2012
Dear Eric, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband George during this difficut time in your lives. This too shall pass and your prayers will be answered!
Ardis J. Lawson