Rob Garbutt of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada lived with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) for a remarkable 12 years, before receiving a lung transplant on July 21, 2022. This is his story pre-transplantation.
Before his pulmonary fibrosis (PF) diagnosis, Rob was very physically active and enjoyed skiing, waterskiing, and mountain biking. After a bout of flu 11 years ago, Rob realized something was not right when he couldn’t seem to recover as usual.
Rob was first diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and then later with IPF. For about eight years he was able to continue with his activities until in 2019, he was “hit really hard” with an exacerbation and hospitalized for a week. His PF has since worsened over time.
Even with this condition, Rob still tried to remain as active as possible – with an incumbent bike pulled by his dog Maggie, his “best friend,” or by hooking up to his portable oxygen tank on his dock at the cottage. “I’m not one to be stopped,” he says.
Rob is supported by his wife and dog Maggie. He sometimes got frustrated by the changes in his abilities, but belonging to a support group did help.
Post Lung Transplantation Update
Rob worked hard to stay as fit as possible, with medication, exercise, and oxygen therapy, while he waited for the call for a lung transplant. That day came in July, 2022. Supported by his wife Beth (and dog Maggie), Rob continues on his transplant recovery journey and is hopeful about his future.
Rob’s case is exceptional. Not all of the 30,000 Canadians living with PF are eligible for a lung transplant, even if there were enough organs available. A lung transplant is the only long-term treatment for this chronic, incurable disease, but comes with its own set of health challenges.
We celebrate Rob for his courage and thank him for sharing his pulmonary fibrosis journey. If you or someone you love is experiencing breathing difficulties talk to your doctor.