Sunday, December 9, 2007

What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Someone recently asked me what Pulmonary Fibrois was. I sat down and wrote out my understanding of this disease and this is what I wrote. Pulmonary fibrosis is the stiffening of lung tissue. In the classic cases of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) the lung tissue usually forms into honeycombs at the edges. I do not have the honeycombing. When you look at the film of a cat scan of my lungs they show spots that look sort of like cotton candy. Almost like what a freezer burn looks like on meat.

The effect this disease has on my body is that I cannot supply enough oxygen when I exert myself. So if I were to walk at my normal speed, let’s say 100 yards, I would probably need my oxygen, because my body could not product enough oxygen for my efforts. If I do not have my oxygen on and I exert myself I will cough until my blood oxygen level goes back to normal. I am told that I am at the acute stages of this disease and that my body recovers from the lack of oxygenvery fast. Given perfect weather, I could probably take this walk without any problems and I would be fine but those days are few throughout the year. Another effect of PF is a lot of mucous production in the lungs. This is one of the reasons why I started watching what I ate. I know that many foods produce mucous like dairy products.
I basically do everything I used to just perhaps a bit slower. I actually started exercising more and watching what I ate after surving lung cancer and finding out about my PF. So in many ways I have better health and fitness now than before. Changing my diet and becoming vegetarian has helped me out tremendously. Before the dietary changes I would need my O2 to go to the restroom, the mailroom or cafeteria at work. Now I really do not use the O2 at work unless it is an extremely humid day. I also need oxygen if I have to carry anything over a couple of pounds. Now after going raw my health has gone up to another level. I am now able to run under the ball at volleyball and I even jogged ½ mile out on the street last month. That is what the ticker on my blog signifies.

Trust me I have gone through a lot of turmoil over my PF. This past summer I learned to embrace this disease after years of anger and madness. Now I say, given pulmonary fibrosis what is possible. I learned to trust my lungs and relax my shoulders. I do not guard my lungs like I used to. I could actually touch inbetween my arm socket and chest and feel sore. I did not know what it was until I was told that I was holding my shoulders rigid in order to protect my lungs. This was stopping me from deep breathing because I used to guard myself from coughing. Now I can breath down into my stomach. I guess I could go on and on huh? Anyway overcoming this has become my total focus.
"There's only one way to succeed in anythingand that is to give everything." - Vince Lombardi
Celebrate Life,


Anonymous said...

You go girl!!!! 3K in summer we will do it all of us with you!!! But I have to get my buttocks out there and practice with my son a bit!!!!Lisa

Anonymous said...

Hey More power to you!
I really hope you succeed and overcome this PF. Hows it going?
My mum (bless her) is 65 and has just been diagnosed with lung scaring. She is a lot less active and coughing a whole lot. Any tips at all for her? On Diet? or other stuff. Thing is, she is more or less a vegetarian. However, I know her and dont think she could do solely raw foods, maybe Salad now and again. Thanks and , like I say, best best of luck to you :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, well done you for rearranging and taking control of your life!!! After reading your blog I think that you are making some really wise choices. I am a yoga therapist and nutritional therapist living the uk. I just wondered if you have any experience with yoga breathing exercises (pranayama)? I would recommend that you learn some very gentle breathing exercises to increase that vital energy and to focus it toward your lungs. there is plenty of information on the web but i would recommend you find a teacher to talk you through some basics first. hope this helps. very best wishes, Jan xxxx

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