Thursday, June 23, 2011

What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

(The original date of this post was 12/09/2007. Imported from
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,

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