Pulmonary Fibrosis Click on the "Pulmonary Fibrosis" link to go to the American Lung Association website and the information they have on Pulmonary Fibrosis. http://www.lung.org/lung-di...
Apr 02, 2012
My Story 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.