The world was his audience, and everyone was watching. It was time to say “I have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis“
If you are like most ordinary people, you are likely not familiar with long, complicated, medical terminology. When the doctor announced to Jerry Lewis that he had an IPF lung disorder or Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Jerry’s first question was probably, “I pee for what?” Which actually translated into “What is IPF?”
At the mention of this disease, the entire world was undoubtedly waiting to see and hear exactly what this horrific disease was, and what type of devastation it can do. Was it a death sentence for Jerry Lewis? No, it was not! In fact, it gave Jerry Lewis one more reason not to quit. After all, the world was his audience, and everyone was watching.
Jerry Lewis, one of the funniest and kindest comedians to ever grace national television, and the ultimate spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), ended his long running career, of more than a century. The comedian raised more than $2 billion for the fight against muscular dystrophy. Although, he suffered from the disease for years, it would be much later that he would actually retire.
Who would have believed that other actors in Hollywood also suffered from IPF lung disease?
Among these were the famous Marlon Brando, James Doohan, Gordon Jump, and singers Odetta and Robert Goulet. These awesome entertainers all received an IPF diagnosis, and still lived a fulfilling life on and off screen. Nevertheless, no one could really tell that Jerry Lewis was suffering from IPF.
We have all seen Jerry on television, making us laugh, and not once complaining about his health. Many of us had no idea that the funniest man who ever lived was living with chronic back pain, prostate cancer, diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis. It was in 2001, that Jerry began to complain of shortness of breath, which is a symptom of IPF.
Despite living with the symptoms and complications of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Jerry Lewis is a very fortunate man. There is no way to determine how long he had IPF before it was properly diagnosed.
His life expectancy is beyond those of most healthy men. Jerry Lewis is 89 years old and still kicking, although he is not on the big screen anymore. This only proves one fact: No one really knows how long a person can live with a disabling or constricting disease or disorder. With proper medication and treatment, you could probably live to be as old, if not older than Jerry.
What’s more? In 2009, doctors gave patients with IPF a life expectancy of three years.
Jerry Lewis would prove them wrong, as he entered on stage in front of millions of fans who applauded him, and looked to him for courage and strength.