Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Friday, January 22, 2016

Reaching Out

Sometimes I think I am put in a situation when someone needs to hear something. Yesterday, it happened in rehab class. There was a new man, who showed up early and stood away from Sherman, Richard and me but rather glared at us with a snarl. I repeatedly smiled at him and tried to bring him in but to no avail. Later, I comment to Sherman that he appeared to be so mean. Just glaring at us. Sherman said he thought the guy was probably a good guy but just needed us to make him comfortable.

After I worked out, I found myself in the cool down area with this gentleman, Don. I began by asking how he was feeling and if he had more stamina or able to do more since he began the 8-weeks of classes before joining our class? He opened up. I got him to laugh but what I really discovered was that he was anxious, a newly diagnosed IPF patient and afraid of the future. Clearly in the panic mode.

He was on one of the new anti-fibrotic drugs - the former ovarian cancer drug - and I gave him the history of how that drug got to market, which I learned in the ILD Support Group and actually met the doctor who ran the drug study. I encouraged him to come to the meetings as he would learn a lot. I think I spotted a slight tear in his eye when he talked all about having the disease, needing to retire, feeling helpless about it all and I responded with a smile and, "I understand." I think he finally realized that he was with people who really do understand, I was able to give him information because I was just a bit further down the road and I think I made another friend.

He needed to hear my encouragement, my information about the drug and my statement that IPF is no longer a 2-3 year death sentence and the secret includes exercise. I am convinced that this all came at a time when he really needed to hear it.

And Sherman. His color wasn't as good as Tuesday. Grayer. He stopped by while I was on the bike and talked about hospice. I told him that usually one was accepted into hospice if there was a prognosis of about 6-month or less and I really didn't think he was there. He and the head of rehab had been talking and he told me that she doesn't think that either. Then, I mentioned that only the good die young so he has many more years! He laughed!

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