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A Rare Condition (and a conversation with myself)


How should I start off?! I have some news.


I have a rare condition. (Oooohhh! That makes me sound special – like a precious gem!)


Stop! Now I have the Family Matters theme-song in my head! Okay. Let’s be serious and start this conversation again.


I have a congenital defect. (Yikes…that sounds scary!)


Maybe not. I mean, I do, but let’s bring it up another way…


So, me, my purse, and a library book went to the doctor’s office together and….(boy, I’m not good at this!)


Okay, okay. Let me just be matter-of-fact and spit it out.


I was just diagnosed with a rare lung disease called congenital lobar emphysema and bronchiectasis. Together, they have caused mucus plugs and hyperinflation of my lungs which is damaging my lung tissue to the point of creating Swiss cheese-like caverns in my lower left lobe. The damaged tissue will need to be cut out at some point in the next two to five years. The surgery is called a partial lobectomy, and…


WAIT?!?!? I’m not sure I was really listening to that part. They said surgery and lungs in the same sentence?! As in surgery OF the lungs? FOR the lungs? INSIDE the lungs? (insert heebee-jeebies here)


Yep. Everyone in life gets something, right?! No one escapes the world completely free of maladies. This just happens to be mine.


I KNOW…. but I never even smoked. Ever. Unless you count that one cigar in my twenties. It was a Cuban (Cohiba) and had a nice, smooth flavor…but, otherwise, I have always been a beacon of health. Minus the cookie diet. And pick of soda over water in every setting. EVERY setting – I mean, come on! Drink more water!


I know, I know. I’m working on the water thing. But, you see, congenital is a nice word that means it’s not my fault. It’s just something I was born with. Like blue eyes and a bad sense of humor. And life isn’t fair. So there.


But… I need a moment to process. I’m really scared! The allergy doctor thought I had asthma, made me get a lung x-ray just to be thorough…which led to a CT scan and a working relationship with a pulmonologist…and BOOM! I ended up here – needing part of my lungs to be removed! I wasn’t expecting this AT ALL!


That was one heck of an allergist! We should send him a bouquet of flowers!!


Yeah. Maybe. What kind? Something people aren’t allergic to, I’m guessing.


Ummmm…. Does that exist?


Maybe not. We can look that up later. Anyway, why didn’t anyone catch this until I hit middle age? Wasn’t anyone paying attention???


The signs were there, I guess. I always got super sick when I got a cold. EVERY. SINGLE. COLD! Coughing always lasted FOREVER and evolved into a violent, rib-splitting, gag-inducing clusterf*ck of suffering…so, there was that. But, otherwise, I ran marathons, lived normally, and seemed fine. Until I wasn’t.


Like in this past year? Or two?


Yeah. All those daily naps I needed because I just felt too tired to do anything. All the things I stopped doing because of the fatigue. No more art. No more trips with the kids. The shortness of breath for absolutely NO reason – I’d just be sitting there, watching TV, and struggling to breathe. Yep. Those were some of the giveaways.


That fatigue! I’ve still got it! Just thought it was depression over the pandemic.


Me too! And, by the way, I still am sad about all of that…but, apparently it wasn’t just that. And my instincts to keep away from that bug were pretty spot on.


The more you know ™. Ha!


Yeah. So, to recap: I’m tired. And apparently sick. I have a condition (don’t call it rare, even though it is) and I will need surgery. Soon-ish. I haven’t told anyone yet because I’m processing, but as soon as I do, I’m sure everyone will understand. Or attempt to Google it. Or go about their days like nothing happened. And life will go on.


Yes, it will. It always does.


But, after I get this surgery, mine will, too. And I can finally breathe easy. Pun intended.


You’re not funny.


I know. I’ve always known. Unlike this, I don’t need a doctor to break the news to me. But, at least, one day I’ll be there on the other side, remembering the Family Matters theme song and the fact that it kept running through my head as soon as I was diagnosed with this lung condition. Because, why not.


That reminds me – what’s on TV right now?...










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