Having taken the plunge and finally signed up to the community at the beginning of the month I thought it was high time that I introduce myself.
My name's Andy, I'm 33, and 4 years ago I was diagnosed with a degenerative lung condition called IPPFE (similar to IPF) which doctors believe was linked to my stem cell transplant and treatment for leukaemia many years ago.
Steroids and a cocktail of other drugs are keeping the condition at bay for the moment but the future remains uncertain and the prospect of another drop off (I've lost 40% of my lung capacity so far) is a scary one.
As many of you I'm sure can relate to I've found the psychological aspects of living with a lung condition as hard if not harder than the symptoms themselves and the adjustment to my lifestyle has been a tricky one.
Two years prior to my diagnosis I ran all the way from John O'Groats to Land's End. Now I struggle to run 5k while activities like swimming under water or involve sprinting have become really difficult to the point where I actively avoid them and have become self-conscious around others in a way I wasn't at all before.
In truth I feel a bit lost at times and isolated from my friends. Sport has always been a big part of my life and it hurts that I can't take part the way I used to. Like many of you I'm also very susceptible to colds and chest infections which I have to treat with antibiotics immediately and can knock me for six and make going out and drinking out of the question.
This certainly isn't how I envisaged my life turning out at the age of 33 but I'm slowly waking up to the reality of my situation and joining the BLF community is a good first step. I've also signed up for a local Breathe Easy Group and start my NHS pulmonary rehabilitation in January.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared about the future but I can't sit around feeling sorry for myself. That won't reverse the damage that's already been done and it certainly won't help the lungs that are still functioning.
Really looking forward to e-meeting some of you all and would appreciate any tips or advice any of you might have that have helped you living with your various lung conditions.