Pulmonary Fibrosis and I

I've been sick for a few days, nothing too serious, just my usual susceptibility to bronchitus and pneumonia. When I was a little girl, I would get an awful case of brochitus or pneumonia every fall. I remember coughing so hard that I ruptured a small hole in my lung tissue, at least that's what the doctor said. For two weeks to one month, I would have such trouble breathing that I just couldn't lie down even at night. I'd have to sleep in a chair or at least propped up high in my bed with lots of cushions. The doctors gave me antibiotics, prescription cough syrups, and advised my parents to put me in a highly humified room for part of the day. I grew out of it in my teen years except for one bout of pneumonia when I was 15. Then, last year, while I was pregnant and covered by the most worthless health insurance policy imaginable (my agent told me that the ONLY pregnancy related expense covered by the policy would be expenses resulting from my own death from labor complications--at that point would I even care?), I got bronchitus again and struggled for several weeks on my own to get better. Now, it seems that I'm sick again, though I'm not so bad yet. Maybe if I take good care of myself I won't get too bad.

It's not that I'm a baby when it comes to sickness. I can bear most sickness fairly well. But I worry about my lungs. Anything related to my lungs is disturbing to me since my mother died from pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that causes progressive scarring of the lung tissue and results in slow loss of air capacity until death. At this point in history, there is no way to reverse it and few ways to slow the progression. Sometimes people get lung transplants. Not a lot is known about pulmonary fibrosis. Environmental pollution (smoking, occupational pollution) is one factor that contributes to it and genetic predisposition is another. I never have smoked and I try to keep away from pollution as much as I can in a highly polluted city environment. But I am afraid that I have a genetic predisposition. Have I been tested? No. But I know my mother died from it, and I know that my lungs are have been highly sensitive from childhood. Even now, I'm coughing and hacking like an elderly person.

Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, died from pulmonary fibrosis and so did two people in my parent's church of 150 people. So it's not uncommon. I know that my life and death are in God's hands, that he will fulfill his purpose for my life and take me home when my time is up. In fact, sometimes my heart longs to be done with this life and home with my Lord. Sometimes I dream about heaven and wonder what it will be like. But, still, if I said that I never worried, I'd be lying.

I have another post in my head but first I'm going to drink some peppermint tea. Hot tea is good for getting the phlegm out!

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