Pam’s story

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)  is a terminal disease – there is no easy way to get away from that

I was diagnosed with IPF in 2009 at the age of 72. Firstly, I noticed I was increasingly breathless which meant I had to adapt some of my hobbies including stopping bird watching out in the bush and travelling long distances. I was also feeling very tired and nowadays I am rarely out at night and usually in bed by 9pm.

Now in 2018 at the age of 80 I am still here. It has mostly been in the last two years that I have had to make significant changes to my lifestyle. My husband died in 2011 and it was only after that I could give time to my condition.

Being diagnosed with IPF meant I have had to make some major changes in my lifestyle including selling my lovely two storey house which also had a large garden.

I moved to a retirement village where life is much more manageable. I am still about to enjoy gardening in a smaller and easier to manage garden.  There are also some great activities here in the village which helps to keep social including mah jong, the swimming pool and community bus.

I still have my little dog and take her for two walks a day which is great for my exercise and she loves it – she is a joy. I have always loved reading and have a heap of books at my bedside.

Due to the medication, unfortunately, I have significantly lost appetite and most food tastes like mud or charcoal. The main downside is the new medication that my respiratory physician introduced me to in June 2017. I take nine tablets each day however I do experience some of the side effects such as nausea, terribly itchy skin and weird dream to name but a few.

The future is always uncertain so I am trying to stay on top of things by keeping as active as I can.

I have not had any time in hospital as an inpatient as yet. All I know is I won’t be planning any overseas holidays any time soon.

Sharing your personal experience with lung disease is a compelling and inspiring way for others to learn about and cope with their diagnosis. Your story may also encourage people to identify and act on symptoms they are experiencing, which may otherwise have been ignored.

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