California woman named Darlene was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) following the loss of her husband to the same disease.
Darlene Cochran of Long Beach, Calif., thought she had put idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) behind her after losing her husband, Jerry, to the disease shortly after diagnosis in 2003. She had returned to work and stayed busy traveling and visiting family to help manage her grief. Eventually, she was able to move forward.
But several years later, Cochran was shocked to receive the same diagnosis of IPF after a persistent cough brought her to the doctor. Her x-ray revealed the familiar ground glass pattern often seen in patients with this type of debilitating interstitial lung disease that causes scarring of the lung.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is the most common form of pulmonary fibrosis, has no known cause. More than 250,000 Americans are living with pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease.
Navigating the journey
While she struggled to process her diagnosis, Cochran was relieved to find more treatments had been approved for IPF in the years since her husband had IPF. These included medications to slow the progression of the disease. She also reached out for support and resources from the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
Cochran’s family and faith have helped her navigate her unexpected journey with IPF. She enjoys spending time with and listening to the adventures of her 10 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Cochran is an avid reader and outdoor enthusiast who takes walks with her dog, Cookie. As a volunteer Ambassador for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, she helps to raise awareness by sharing her story and advocating for much-needed research and additional support for patients. Cochran emphasizes that early diagnosis is key. “My wish and prayer are to impact the world around me by helping to bring front and center the information that leads to early diagnosis, developing treatments and finding a cure for this killer that roams our landscape and strikes without discrimination.”