When I was younger, my grandfather came to live with us when he was sick. He had COPD and pulmonary fibrosis and he was a heavy smoker. We had been best friends since my childhood, and when I was in college, he got really sick and was in the hospital. I had to go up to Indiana to see him, and seeing him in that bed, so sick and not able to catch his breath, made me want to figure out how we could have stopped this. He suffered and died of his lung disease, and I became a nurse to figure out how to help heal people properly.
When I got my nurse practitioner’s license, I was more focused on holistic care and alternative-type medicines. I was in family practice, and when I was contacted by The Lung Health Institute about a position open, I was really excited because what we were doing seemed innovative and new. It was different from the monotony of seeing sick people and giving medicine. I wanted to get to people before they were sick. I like the fact that we’re using the body’s own ability to heal itself, because that’s what our bodies were created to do.
At The Lung Health Institute, I’ve really gotten to see some drastic improvements in people. I had one lady come in and she was wheelchair-bound. She couldn’t walk, and she was very depressed, and nobody had given her any hope. We took care of her, and when she came back six months later, she was walking and had even gotten to ride her horse again. That was my first time really seeing someone where I was like, “Wow, this has really changed the course of this person’s life.” She wasn’t getting to appreciate anything, but she came and got this treatment and she changed; she got her energy back.
It’s such a joy to have a rapport with patients. It’s so different from a Western or traditional approach to medicine, where people are quickly sifted through and you don’t get to talk about things they can do at home or talk about their illness. We get into education with them, and it’s a whole different approach to the patient/clinician relationship. We talk about secondary diseases and how they can make you feel, we go over their pulmonary function test numbers. It’s just so hard for these people because lung disease is a very scary disease. At The Lung Health Institute, we can get to know the patients, sit down with them and listen to their concerns. We want them to be educated and manage this disease process with us. It’s a true collaboration.
The Lung Health Institute is really passionate about helping people with chronic lung disease, and their ultimate goal is to give hope and restore quality of life to these people. It’s exciting to be in my position, and I’m very proud to be part of this community.
Can eating a plant-based diet cure COPD? The answer is no, but there are 3 benefits it may have for people with this condition.