In 2003, Sharon Lamb noticed she had a dry, irritated cough. "It was different. I wasn't short of breath, it was just dry and it just never seemed to go away," says Sharon, "So I just put up with it, as you do, until about a year and a half later. Then, in 2004, I went to my doctor." From that initial doctor's visit Sharon was referred to a specialist who performed a CAT scan in January 2005.
"The CAT scan showed scar tissue on my lungs, which was the fibrosis scar tissue, and we couldn't find a cause. I'd never had pneumonia or other lung disease. And so the doctor diagnosed me with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis."
Things went well for Sharon during the early years of her diagnoses. "I wasn't too bad at first. But I went to a wedding in Cuba in 2007, and I love to dance, but I found that after two or three dances I just couldn't do it anymore. This is only two and half years after my diagnoses and I couldn't do it. I started to find that I would get shortness of breath and it was really affecting my life. And every year it got a little bit worse and a little bit worse."
Sharon had been an active person – she loved to hike, take walks with her mother Marg, and take beautiful scenic photography during her spare time, but idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis made continuing her regular activities more difficult. "I've had pneumonia twice now and been hospitalized," says Sharon, "And every time you have that, it makes things worse. It makes more scar tissue and makes it harder to breathe. At first I was only on oxygen at night but now I have to be on oxygen all the time. Nothing is terribly easy anymore."
Sharon is currently working with her mother, Marg, to lose 20 lbs so she can head to Toronto to await transplant. She's lost 7lbs so far, but the journey is difficult. "Exercising is hard, almost impossible," says Sharon. "I have to rest with everything now. I have a shower, I rest. I iron my clothes, I rest. I get dressed, and I rest. What everyone takes for granted every day, I can't do it without getting out of breath." But Sharon and Marg are determined to get to Toronto and on the lung transplant list. "She's only 13lbs away from where she needs to be to be on the list," says Marg, "And we're going to continue working hard to get her to Toronto."