I have a love-hate relationship with pulmonary rehabilitation. With rapidly declining lungs due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), it’s hard to exercise. Despite this, exercise is one of the most important things a patient with IPF should be doing consistently, so I try to love it.

I was diagnosed with IPF in 2016 and have completed several pulmonary rehab programs. I’ve developed tricks to make them a little easier, including listening to podcasts to pass the time. With a wide variety of content, podcasts provide me with the inspiration and encouragement I need to continue.

I also listen to podcasts when I walk, as they’re a great way to help distract my mind and support mindfulness.

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A person bites their fingernails while sweating, looking stressed.

Chronic illness can be a lonely experience as a young adult. It’s often hard for me to relate to other IPF patients because this illness typically affects older people. Part of the requirement for lung transplantation is to attend a support group for people living with IPF or other interstitial lung diseases. I completed this requirement, but it was hard. Many talked about how disease would affect their retirement plans, and I’m just hoping to survive to the age of 40.

Some podcasts are specifically about chronic illness, and my favorites are those with hosts who are also patients. Listening to them makes the experience of chronic illness a little less lonely. It feels like the person on the other end of the earbuds truly understands me, which helps me get through the difficult physical exercises.

Following are some of my favorite podcasts as a patient living with IPF:

‘Teach Me How to Adult’

This podcast, geared toward young adults, has many relatable topics. While it doesn’t focus on chronic illness, much of the content can be applied to things I struggle with as a patient living with IPF.

Earlier this week, I was listening to an episode on boundaries, and the negative assumptions that sometimes are associated with them, such as that they’re meant to control others or be used to get out of an unenjoyable activity. In reality, boundaries are a positive way to strengthen relationships with people you love and conserve your mental and physical energy. This is something I’ve had to learn since being diagnosed, because I can no longer give as much of myself as I used to do.

Other relatable topics in past episodes include being alone but not lonely, building resilience, loving your body, and cultivating confidence.

‘Invisible Not Broken’

This podcast is about invisible illnesses and disability with a comedic twist. I enjoy listening to it when I need a dose of relatability and humor. The host is easy to listen to and engaging. It always surprises me that despite the many chronic illnesses discussed on this podcast, which often are quite different from one another, there is always something I can relate to.

‘The Chronic Connection’

I love hearing other women inspire, empower, and connect with one another over a common experience, which is the focus of “The Chronic Connection Podcast.” This podcast is specific to women and highlights how they have learned to live well with their chronic illnesses.

If you’re looking for inspiration or a voice to keep you company during a difficult activity, do a quick search for a podcast about something on your mind. If you have any favorites, please share them in the comments below.


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

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