My journey with IPF

Dale Smith's IPF Journey

In 2009, I had lung cancer and had my upper left lobe removed on my 50th birthday. I recovered well and was back to work within a week. However, about a year later I started having shortness of breath, coughing and had trouble getting through a day of work. After a lung biopsy and months of testing for this and that, and everything in between, I was diagnosed with IPF, given some literature, and told the average life expectancy was 5 years. I did my follow-ups with respirologists for 5 years with no real disease progress. Then, in early 2020, things started progressing. I was then put on oxygen and OFEV in December 2020. At this time there was finally talk of a lung transplant.

The first thing I needed to do was drop some weight. I began a long hard struggle with the 100-plus pounds I needed to lose to meet the criteria. I decided I was up for the challenge; it was either that or lay down and die. I wasn’t about to do that, so I walked and walked and walked some more. I gave up all my comfort foods and traded them for salads and veggies. Also, my grandkids gave me lots of inspiration to make this lung transplant happen. I needed to be here when they graduate!!

By September 2021, I dropped 120 pounds. Next, were dozens of tests for transplant. Finally, in July 2022, I meet all the criteria and was placed on the transplant list.

I sit here now waiting for “my call” … waiting for someone to give me life with the donation of their organs at the end of their life.

The doctors have said transplant is not a cure, just a trade-off for other ailments and diseases, but at this point, it’s a trade that I am willing to take. With my 60th birthday right around the corner, and ten years into this journey, I am still here and I am confident that I will get my second chance and still be here ten years from now!!