IPF

“You get out of life what you make it”: Member Anna shares her experience living with IPF

Meet PatientsLikeMe member Anna, who’s been living with IPF since 2011. Below, see what she shared with us about her diagnosis, how she fills her days with the things she loves, and how she’s learned to tackle daily tasks like shopping and cleaning while living with a chronic condition. She also touched on how PatientsLikeMe helped her learn to better manage her condition and how she found support with the IPF community online.   “You get out of life what you make it. I had a lot of hardships but I still bounce back.”   A typical day for Anna involves rising early, taking her meds and then meditating. “I play my singing Tibetan bowl and meditate for a while and thank the Lord for another day.” She also loves to crochet: “I do a lot of it and you can never have enough yarn. Needless to say, my house has skeins of yarn lying all over the place.” Life hacks for managing her everyday When it comes to managing day-to-day tasks, she makes sure to be smart about how she spends her energy by dividing her cleaning based on the day of the week and on how she’s feeling. “I …

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Creating communities, on and off PatientsLikeMe

More than half a million members, connecting 365 days a year, sharing countless health insights and words of support. Communities like this one are built on communication. And every day, patients like you are finding new ways to connect and enrich your community. From in-person meet-ups to live-streaming support groups and off topic threads, patients like you are finding creative ways to build communities. Check out some of the ways connections are growing in and out of the forum. Taking it offline What started as a simple chat between friends in the forum evolved into something much bigger. Members from the multiple myeloma community on PatientsLikeMe decided to take their friendship out of the forums and into real life. Marcia (marcia_holman), Dennis (DennisIvan), Paul (paulatsea) and Lee (Dapylil), along with spouses and grandchildren, got together and discussed life with multiple myeloma, their “new normal” and shared the highs and lows of the journey together. In Marcia’s words: “It has been a delight to get together and meet someone you have just been corresponding with on line. We can put a face to them. You get to know their personalities and they become “forever friends!” Check out the full story.   Connecting …

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PF Awareness Month

September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, and in honor of that, we’re rounding up what members of the PatientsLikeMe community have shared about pulmonary fibrosis on our blog. First off, for those who don’t know – what is pulmonary fibrosis (PF)? It’s a chronic, progressive scarring or thickening of the lungs, which makes it difficult for oxygen to transfer from your lungs into your bloodstream. It may be caused by certain medications, environmental exposures or underlying diseases of the autoimmune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderma). Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the cause of which is still unknown, is the type of PF most people might’ve heard of, but there are many other forms of PF, such as sarcoidosis and cryptogenic organizing pneumonia. Now let’s take a look back at some blog posts about PF. In 2013, member Ian shared about his journey from having “stiff lungs” and getting diagnosed with IPF to undergoing a lung transplant. “I was bloody determined to have a transplant,” he said. Read more here. In 2014, member John_R discussed his adjustment to his “new normal” of living with IPF and using supplemental oxygen. “My oxygen use was quickly accepted at work,” he said. “There were a couple of double takes when people …

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Meeting PF patients where they are

Say hello to John (John_R), a father, grandfather and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) survivor. Sound familiar? Last year he shared his story about life after a double lung transplant and the importance of considering a lung transplant early. This year, John started a Facebook group to live-stream pulmonary fibrosis (PF) support group meetings and conferences. “I am very passionate about honoring the precious gift provided by my donor family and in living a life worthy of their generosity.” John received a bilateral lung transplant on January 1st, 2015, and believes he’s alive today thanks to his donor family and care team at UT Southwestern in Dallas. Now, he’s committed to raising awareness for the needs of the pulmonary fibrosis community. Life after transplant John’s life before transplant included the use of supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day, and what he calls, “an eminent expiration date” in his near future. He couldn’t visit family in Colorado or the higher elevations of New Mexico due to the altitude, and every breath was a struggle. “The biggest thing about life after lung transplant is that I no longer have a firm expiration date, I can have hope. I can go to Colorado and …

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“I thank my donor every day for this gift”: Member Laura shares her lung transplant story

Meet LaurCT, an active 2015-2016 Team of Advisors alum living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). She underwent a left lung transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in January and recently shared her experience with us. How are you feeling these days?  I am feeling great. I’ve had a couple bumps in the road but nothing that the transplant team hasn’t seen before, and [they] handle it immediately. It was scary for me but the team is great in communicating that these [post-transplant] issues happen to some and not to worry. I like that communication because it sets my mind at ease. How long had you been a candidate for a lung transplant?  I was evaluated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in January of 2014 and accepted into their transplant program. At the time, I was classified as too healthy to be listed, however I was being watched and met with them every four to six months. In October 2016, BWH suggested I be re-presented and get listed on UNOS (the United Network for Organ Sharing waiting list) for a transplant. After finishing some additional testing, I was listed in Boston Region 1 on December 16, 2016. I also …

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Meet Glenda from the PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors

  Meet Glenda (gagafor2), a member of the 2016-2017 Team of Advisors. Glenda is a wife, mother and grandmother who finds great joy in making others happy. She’s also living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Recently, Glenda told us about coming to terms with the “unknown” in her future and coping with anxiety: “PatientsLikeMe became my lifeline to information and patients who knew what I wanted and needed to know.” Check out the rest of her story and learn how Glenda hopes to represent other members of the IPF community. What gives you the greatest joy and puts a smile on your face? I would have to say making others happy makes me smile. I love to give and do special things for others, it gives me great joy I get so excited when I can find that special gift or plan that special surprise for someone else. My family gives me the greatest joy of all. I have had a wild ride so far with my husband of 45 years and my children and grandchildren. We moved many times throughout the last forty years to different parts of the country, making so many incredible friends and have having such …

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PatientsLikeMe Welcomes Next Patient Team of Advisors

  CAMBRIDGE, Mass, November 14, 2016—PatientsLikeMe has named 11 members to its patients-only 2016–2017 Team of Advisors, which this year will focus on elevating the patient voice. Team members will share their stories, participate in community initiatives, and give real world perspectives to our industry and research partners. “Each year, our Team of Advisors has proven an invaluable source of inspiration and support for the PatientsLikeMe community,” said PatientsLikeMe CEO Martin Coulter. “We look forward to learning from this year’s team as we partner to identify how we can change healthcare for the better.” More than 500 PatientsLikeMe members submitted applications for this year’s Team of Advisors. Those selected represent a range of medical and professional backgrounds and ages. They are living with a cross-section of conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autonomic neuropathy, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), lung cancer, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease. Members named to the team include: Cris Simon, Gary Rafaloff, Ginny Emerson, Glenda Rouland, Hetlena Johnson, Jacquie Toth, Jim Seaton, John Blackshear, Kimberly Hartmann, Laura Sanscartier and Lindsay Washington. John Blackshear is living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and looks forward to the opportunity to share his story with others, and …

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Patients as Partners: Member Laura on launching a PF support group

Over the past few months, the Team of Advisors has been sharing how they use the Partnership Principles in their personal health journeys. Laura, who’s living with IPF, recently sat down with us to talk about the New Britain PF Support Group she launched in Connecticut, and how important it is to have a community of people who know what you’re going through. Check out the Q&A below to see how she helps patients, caregivers, and their families understand that they’re not alone. Tell us a little about the New Britain PF Support Group — who’s involved and what’s the goal? The New Britain PF Support Group had the first meeting September 2015. The meeting is for the patient and caregiver, plus family and friends who may be interested in understanding what their loved one is going through. The goal is to provide information on PF/IPF. Knowledge can empower the patient and caregiver to work with their doctors and professional team. Most importantly, the support group lets people know they are not alone — we are all in this together and we understand. How did you come up with the idea of creating the group? There was only one support …

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“These lungs are a precious gift” — Member John shares his new “new normal” for National Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month, an annual awareness effort to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors — and to celebrate those who have donated and saved lives. We recently caught up with IPF member John (John_R), who we interviewed back in 2014. At that time, John described what his “new normal” was like living with his condition. Today, he shares his new “new normal” after a double lung transplant. Below, John talks about how he’s able to breathe more easily and exercise again, and how grateful he is to his donor family: “I think of them often, and strive to honor their gift to the best of my ability.” When we chatted with you in 2014, you talked about how living with IPF and being on oxygen was your “new normal.” Last year, you had a double lung transplant. Tell us what your new “new normal” is like. My “new normal” has really changed following the lung transplant. First is the fact that I no longer require supplemental oxygen. Oxygen tanks, O2 generators and all that plastic tubing are no longer a part of my life. My new normal does include a fairly strict routine for meals …

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Meet Laura from the PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors

  We’d like to introduce you to Laura, another member of your 2015-2016 Team of Advisors. When Laura was diagnosed in 2013, she’d never heard of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Flash forward three years, and she’s made patient education and advocacy her main focus. Laura has spoken before the FDA, regularly blogs about IPF on various social platforms and recently started a support group at a local pulmonary rehab center. When we caught up with her, she told us: “I never thought this would be my path but it has been very rewarding.” Below, Laura opens up about the loneliness of living with a chronic illness and how important it’s been for her to connect with other patients who know what she’s going through. What gives you the greatest joy and puts a smile on your face? My grandbabies, both children and animals. Both have no expectations of my limits and love me unconditionally. No matter what they do they make me happy. Soon I will be a great-grandmother and the joy of knowing I’ve lived to see it is a blessing. How would you describe your condition to someone who isn’t living with it and doesn’t understand what it’s like? …

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