One Breath at a Time
Having pulmonary fibrosis can be an emotional rollercoaster. Friends and family are likely unfamiliar with the disease. It may be difficult to discuss your situation with others. You may feel angry, stressed, depressed and alone. There is good news. There are things you can do to manage your pulmonary fibrosis and live more fully.
Things You Can do to Manage Your Pulmonary Fibrosis
Step 1 – Learn as much as you can
Learn as much as you can about your specific diagnosis and the underlying cause for your disease. Try to make sure your information is medically correct and up to date as you learn how to manage your pulmonary fibrosis.
Step 2 – Build your team
Your team is everyone who will support you along your journey as you manage your pulmonary fibrosis. This even includes the family pet. Encourage a family member or a friend to join your medical appointments. They can be a second set of ears and help you with daily activities down the road.
Step 3 – Take care of your mental health
Cultivating a positive attitude will help you feel better physically as well as emotionally as you manage your pulmonary fibrosis. Learning relaxation techniques can help you help yourself. Soothing music, relaxation apps, or simply being in nature can lessen anxiety and help with breathing. Speak to your doctor if you are feeling anxious and/or depressed about how to access community mental health supports.
Step 4 – Reach out to others who are living with PF
Remember, you are not alone. Reach out to others who are living with pulmonary fibrosis through a support group. Virtual support group meet-ups provide safe access to people living with PF across the country through a simple internet connection. It can be very comforting and informative to learn how others manage their illness and remember – YOU are also helping others by joining the conversation.
Step 5 – Make healthy choices
Making healthy choices is really important for maintaining your quality of life with PF. Stop smoking, exercise regularly, prevent infections in any way you can including vaccinations, maintain a healthy weight and eat a well-balanced diet.
Step 6 – Manage your medications
Understand the medications you are taking to manage your pulmonary fibrosis. Know what they are called, why you’re taking them and when you’re taking them.
Nutrition is also a component that will help you manage your pulmonary fibrosis and it can help curb medication side effects. Eating well will give you energy to breathe, fight infections, cope, maintain or improve weight and strength, carry out daily living activities.
Step 7 – Plan for the future
Early planning allows you to be involved and express your wishes for future care and decisions with a clear mind. This eliminates guesswork for families, and allows you to designate decision makers on your behalf. Learn about Advance Care Planning in your province and prepare an Advance Care Directive so you know that care plans will respect your wishes.