Pulmonary fibrosis patient grateful for diagnosis

Lorna Joseph was having really bad shortness of breath. She knew there was something wrong.

After recovering from a bout of pneumonia and a related infection four years ago, Lorna was then diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, which is part of a larger group of disorders called Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), where lung tissue becomes progressively damaged and scarred. This makes it difficult for the lungs to work properly and causes major breathing problems.

She had been to see several specialists and the focus was often on her heart, but it wasn’t until she met with Dr. Deborah Casey, a respirologist at Toronto Western Hospital, that Lorna says she could finally breathe more easily, both physically and mentally.

“I’ve never met a doctor like Dr. Casey before,” says Lorna. “She went above and beyond. She left no stone unturned and she was the one who discovered it. She said, ‘there’s no problem with your heart.’ She would always answer my questions. I would say, ‘What’s wrong?’ and she would say, ‘We don’t know, but we’ll find out. You are a challenge, but a good challenge. You keep me on my toes.’”

Lorna says she felt comfortable right away with Dr. Casey’s warm personality and her persistence in trying to find solutions.

“I’ve never had a doctor call me at home at night to see how I’m doing,” says Lorna. “Words can’t explain it. Dr. Casey always has a smile on her face and she’s so reassuring. I felt confident that everything would be OK.”

The long battle with pulmonary illness left Lorna longing for a vacation to rest and recharge, but she wasn’t sure if she should be away. Dr. Casey gave the go-ahead and Lorna was able to enjoy a well-deserved cruise in the Caribbean.

“If it wasn’t for Dr. Casey, I don’t think I would be sitting here talking to you today,” she says.


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