Laura dug deep.
Meet Laura Roix. Laura had always been energetic and loved to be on the go. She worked full-time and enjoyed walking, hiking, going out with friends, and playing with her grandchildren. When she started developing a persistent cough each winter, and was repeatedly told it was pneumonia, she decided to dig a little deeper.
A pulmonary specialist recommended that she undergo a lung biopsy. As a result, Laura was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). While she was initially put on oxygen only at night, she quickly needed oxygen any time she exerted herself - which meant that she had to take her oxygen tank to work. When this routine became too difficult, her pulmonologist recommended that she leave her job so that she could attend to her health full-time.
"IPF took my self-esteem away. I have a terminal disease, one that made me carry a large tank around and a tube. One that made me cough and no drug could make that cough go away. I was isolated because of it."
IPF changed Laura’s life. Her disease took an emotional toll, but pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) helped her regain control of her life. With the support of friends, Laura found a PR program that met her needs. At PR she discovered an encouraging staff that taught her the importance of staying strong and active during the 6-to-8-week program. After the formal program ended, the maintenance program Laura joined helped her stay strong so that she could have a successful lung transplant. It also allowed her to meet and learn from the new patients who enrolled in the PR program.
"I have said, and I truly believe, that PR gave me back my self-esteem. pulmonary rehab enabled me to walk a 5K eight months after my lung transplant and the maintenance program has made me accountable for keeping myself strong."
PR enabled Laura to do things she wouldn’t have been able to undertake a few years earlier. Active again, she now works as a tireless patient advocate. In her new role, she has spoken before the Food and Drug Administration about the need to approve two new drugs, to First Lady Jill Biden about data gathering from patient records as part of the "Moon Shot Initiative," and with Senator Chris Murphy about the importance and effectiveness of PR. She is grateful to be able to work on behalf of other patients who want to learn to live better with their disease.