Living With Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Charlene Has to Rely on Science

Charlene Marshall was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2016. The condition unfortunately has no cure. However, Charlene explains how grateful she is for the scientists that are investigating strategies for disease management, new therapies, and potentially a cure.

She explains, “I believe in science because my life depends on it.”

Charlene discusses how she’s handled navigating controversial conversations about science during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explains that her goal isn’t to convince anyone to get the vaccine or to wear a mask. It’s merely to explain her experience with science, and how it has saved her life.

Controversial Conversations

No controversial conversation is ever easy no matter what you know on the topic, your age, or your experience. It’s particularly hard when it’s with people you know.

Since Charlene is a therapist, she knows the art of conversation. She works with clients all the time to understand their point of view and what they need. But this also means she’s not as used to controversial conversations. Her talks with clients are centered on the person.

Ever since the pandemic began there has been controversy surrounding wearing masks, social distancing measures, and the vaccine. People often spread false information, and the comment sections have been vile.

As more individuals have begun to trust the vaccine, we’ve seen an increase in vaccinations and a slight decrease in controversy, but it is still nonetheless present.

This controversy is more than debates about masks and policies however, it’s begun to take on a frame of a general skepticism for science.

Charlene explains that for her, she has to believe in science. She knows many chronically ill individuals must feel the same way. These groups of people can’t not believe in science. For them, there is no other option. Unfortunately, it’s also not something that many individuals without a chronic diagnosis can understand.

Charlene has lived for 5 years since her IPF diagnosis with the direction and care from scientists. So she admits she finds it hard to navigate the controversial conversations surrounding COVID-19. She wants to hear from other rare disease patients or those living with chronic illness. How do you handle controversial conversations? How do you talk to people who don’t understand your need to rely on the guidance of science?

You can read more about this perspective here.

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