Tag Archives: fibrosis

Googling for COPD Finds an Old Letter

I wrote the following about 2004 for the American Lung Association and re-found it goggling for COPD.  I’m posting it here in hope you will see the value in early detection Spirometry testing.

“Hungry for Air: Breathing Better Together

“Living with COPD/Emphysema and Sarcoidosis was a living death. I existed. I struggled to breathe, when I moved I panted, gasped for air like a fish out of water.

As I slowly showered and dressed, ready to go somewhere, I couldn’t sit down to rest. I fell asleep.

I went from a physically active life landscaping, restoring a wonderful property in Port Townsend to a blob who existed in front of her computer.

I searched the world web to discover what COPD/Emphysema was – what Sarcoidosis was, everything, anything I could find out about my diseases and the medications I took.

I couldn’t sleep in a bed – I couldn’t breathe – I dozed sitting in a chair.

By the time I arrived at the Pulmonary Department at the University of Washington Medical Center, I believed my days were numbered. Previously diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema, an open lung biopsy showed the fibrosis and granulomas of Sarcoidosis evenly throughout both lungs.

Without energy, I felt isolated, without a purpose, a shell, a mockery of the person I used to be.

I regretted a 40-year smoking habit, but didn’t dwell on it. The single most difficult thing I’ve ever done is stop smoking. I craved cigarettes and for the first time understood a drug addict’s ‘craving’ for a drug. I craved a cigarette many times a day, then almost daily for more than two years. Even today, occasionally the urge to smoke a cigarette becomes almost overwhelming.

That is how I felt then. Today I’m energized with purpose.

I found a support group online – the non-profit EFFORTS, begun by COPD’rs, run by COPD’rs and filled with folks like me working to change the world’s awareness of COPD. I want other lung folks to know they are not alone and how they can lead the best quality of life possible.

I want to see Spirometry tests for patients. common place among physicians – to catch COPD early – before it is too late. Other than stop smoking, the single most important thing Lungers can do for themselves is exercise.

And from the time I learned of the American Lung Association® of Washington’s Big Ride Across America, it is my dream – my goal.” – Sharon”

People Gotta Breathe
Fish Gotta Swim - People Gotta Breathe

Part  2 of 4     More later… Sharon O’Hara

The University of Washington Rocks!

The University of Washington is a God send to us. I wrote the following in answer to a letter to the editor and decided to add it here as well.

“The University of Washington ‘elitist’? If ‘elitist’ means dedicated fine professors teaching a subject they they live their work. They teach what they are passionate about to kids eager to learn.

It was the University of Washington’s Medical Center Specialties and Dr. Raghu specifically with then, Super Fellow, Christopher Goss, who gave me an open lung biopsy and found the granulomas and fibrosis in my lungs to prove Sarcoidosis added to emphysema (COPD)

When I had a sudden loss of ability to breathe, the local pulmonologist just handed me a steroid inhaler to add to the others he had prescribed and I was on my way out the door.

Mom’s worry. My mother worried that her daughter all of a sudden lost even more ability to breath and nothing was being done. She strongly pushed for me to get evaluated through the U or the Mayo Clinic. We needed to know.

I went to the U. The following letter is a direct quote from a Thank you card I have written out but forgot to leave there last week after my appointment.

Dr. Raghu –
Dr. Goss –

“Thanks for all you do for us now and in future to make the next generation of lung patients fewer, I hope, living quality lives.
When I first came here I never expected to live out the year much less be here years later and looking at tomorrow.”

The doctors at the U are open minded, they look and think about the entire body, not just lungs. Had I not gone there, I would not be sitting here now.
Their doctors are open minded and actually THINK. They treat their patients like partners in their own care and work together.

The old type doc and his “I Tarzan, You Jane’ mentality is over. Patients have a right to be involved and understand what is going on and what they can do to help themselves.

The University of Washington offers stellar, quality, educated medical people and professors. Who wouldn’t want the best training available?

That said, my own primary care doctor, Dr. Eady, is right here in town. If she ever moved I’d have to move too…same with my pulmonologist at the U. They, and others, are examples of medical care and caring not easily found these days.

I haven’t even touched on the superb Nursing Program at the U…in fact they lead THE COUNTRY…ask US News and World Reports…they are #1.

Is this what you call ‘elitist?

University of Washington – you rock!

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/jun/09/my-turn-is-university-of-washington-only-for-the/?comments_id=233309#ixzz0qyxBonTy