All those things I’ve alluded to, all the recent suffering is something that instead of hiding, I need to raise awareness of. I need to write this down so I can digest it, so I can look back and know that despite all that has happened in recent months, I felt okay, that I felt strong and overall, positive at this moment in my life.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, or IPF for short is what my Dad was diagnosed with in 2015. This is the disease that has changed our world. A disease that can never go away. It’s an enigma, there’s no real reason as to why it occurs and unfortunately no method of treatment that can improve any damage done. There is no set path as where this disease can take you, some have lasted years with only little struggle whilst others have deteriorated and unfortunately passed away only a few years after diagnosis. It is a mystery, which in itself is frustrating to come to terms with, how can your body just change with no real reason for doing so?
One of the hardest parts, like any long term medical diagnosis, is the impact on mental health. Coming to terms as an individual and as a family with the reality of how fragile life is, the fact that we are now limited to who we once were. My Dad was fit, enjoyed long walks with the dog and just meddling about; now he can barely walk to the toilet without losing his breath and is on permanent at home oxygen therapy. Any slight movement takes longer than it once did, and any small exertion is a marathon to him. It shows just how much we take our body for granted, of how we don’t cherish how fit and active we can be whilst in good health.
I do not wish to dwell on the negatives, nor divulge in the gory details as that’s sensitive to my family and most of all my Dad. In my life, there has been no great cause close to our heart, no great impact that has inspired us to fight, except this. So many people are suffering with something and unfortunately this just happens to be what life will test us with. This is my something to fight for, to raise awareness of and to hope that in time we can learn more to help people like my Dad cope.
2016 for me is to selfishly improve my own health, be more determined to be fitter and to take better care of myself so I have no regrets should I too succumb to an awful diagnosis. 2016 for me as well as raising awareness and supporting the British Lung Foundation, is to ensure my Dad always has support, that he lives some sense of normalcy, that despite the downfalls there is a life still worth living. That together as a family we hold each other up in the darkest days and that we celebrate all of the good days as they come.
We are all terminal in some aspects, we should all live each day as if it is our last. That statement has never rung truer to me right now than it ever has done in my whole life. As I noted before, we are all suffering in one way or another, I just hope that for all of you out there is still a life to live, whatever that may be. We are given time on this earth for a reason, even if we don’t know what. Cherish each day, love each moment, take risks and make beautiful everlasting memories with those deep in your heart. For you never know, when it may all be over.