Posted on November 28, 2011 at 12:36PM by HélèneCampbell
¡Hola Amigos! Hello friends!
**DISCLAIMER** As I start to assimilate back into Canadian culture, I am still trying to wean myself off the Spanish language, so please bear with my random Spanish outbursts—they will be frequent and unexpected. For those of you who don’t know, I got back in July from the trip of a life time—Barcelona, Spain. If you have not been, it is definitely a place you should visit before you die. Trust me!
I am also still getting used to this whole idea of blogging. Ya, I know what you’re probably thinking, “You’re 20 years old, Hélène, you should have all this stuff mastered by now!” Well, I am living proof that not all us youngsters are masters of social networking (although with all the spare time I have acquired, I should be a master in no time—here’s to wishful thinking!).
So I guess since this is my first blog post I should probably introduce myself to all of you (how rude of me not to have done so earlier!).
As I partially mentioned above, my name is Hélène Campbell and I am a 20 year old French Canadian from Ottawa, Ontario, home of my favourite hockey team The Ottawa Senators… GO SENS GO! Up until about a month ago I was your typical 20 year old girl. I worked (a lot!), spent time with friends and family, danced, ate copious amounts of Reese Peanut Butter cups (I’m not kidding, it is a problem) and worked out (mainly to offset the chocolate intake). Back in October—after undergoing what seemed like a million tests after returning from Barcelona—I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
What exactly is that you might be asking yourself?
Well to sum it up, fibrosis causes inflammation that causes tissue to harden and scar so that it does not work at normal capacity. In other words, the fibrosis in my lungs caused inflammation that made the tissue scar and harden so that I cannot take breaths like normal 20 year olds lungs should. After many tests it was determined that I only had about 24% lung function and because of this, I would need a lung transplant.
Alright so get the lung transplant and you should be fine, right?
Unfortunately my beautiful hometown does not transplant lungs and so I have been referred to the Toronto General where I will have to undergo a whole bunch of tests to determine whether or not I would be a good candidate for the transplant and then they will put me on a list. If I get put on this list, I will have to relocate to Toronto—home of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs and the biggest haters of the Sens. This will be quite the adjustment…
Speaking of adjustments, you really do not know how much you rely on your lungs until they start to fail you. Only having 24% lung function has drastically changed my life—well more the speed of my life. Friends and family might describe me as someone who is always on the go. I have never been one to have spare time, since before I was diagnosed with IPF I was working two jobs and had a very active social life. I have always had problems breathing, as I was diagnosed with asthma when I was young, so I never really thought being out of breath was abnormal. It was only during my trip to Barcelona that I noticed that I could not keep up with other people my age that I thought, “That’s not normal!”
Being diagnosed with IPF has definitely changed my life.
For one, regular tasks have become a lot more difficult. Everything I do requires oxy (oxygen) and because of this I have to carry around a tank (I have named him Moxie, my puppy dog) and keep tubes in my nose to be able to breathe properly. They’re super hot!
It has definitely forced me to slow down… A LOT.
Although being diagnosed with IPF has had a lot of negative effects on my life, it has definitely opened my eyes to all the little things I never stopped to notice before. It has opened my eyes to the importance of appreciating these little things because they are what make life amazing and worthwhile. It has forced me to gain a new perspective on life: live each moment like it is your last because you never know where you will be tomorrow.
This is definitely advice we should all learn to live by.
I plan to post updates on here in order to keep you guys up to date with what is going on as we embark upon this lung journey (see what I did there).
If you have time, please check out Trillium Gift of Life and Canadian Blood Services and register to become a donor. You do not realize until you are affected by it how many people rely on these services and need your help!
Please feel free to comment and ask any questions you may have.
Until next time,
¡Hasta pronto! See you soon!
Tags: Community, Technology/Science