Edmonton mother, daughter continue struggle with lung disease

IMG_0612

Sharla Ozeroff, an Edmonton mother, holds her daughter, 18-month-old Luna Ozeroff during a meeting with The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT March 21. Luna has a rare lung disease known as congenital lobar emphysema. (Jeff Cummings Photo)

Sharla Ozeroff, an Edmonton mother of four young children, admits she has a hard time sleeping at night.

Her playful 18-month old daughter, Luna, had to endure extremely difficult breathing challenges ever since she was born. The young girl has a very rare lung disease known as congenital lobar emphysema — an illness that causes Luna’s upper left lobe and middle right lobe of her lungs to be overinflated, making it difficult for her to breathe. Air that is breathed into the lungs gets trapped, causing the over-inflation of the lungs.

Congenital lobar emphysema is rare, but the condition usually affects only one lobe of the lungs. But in Luna’s case, her condition affects both of her lobes — something that is only reported in five per cent of cases.

“Breathing is so important — we seem to take it for granted until we all get to a point where we can no longer do it, or until your child can’t do it.” said Ozeroff. “It is very scary to see your child with blue lips in the middle of the night. It’s hard to sleep at night.”

Luna’s challenges began one hour after she was born, according to her mother. Luna, Ozeroff’s youngest daughter, was born after a “completely uncomplicated pregnancy,” but roughly one hour after the birth, Luna went into respiratory distress, said her mother.

Doctors were able to reduce Luna’s symptoms temporarily and after a five-day stay in hospital, the family was sent home.

However, when Luna was two-months old, Ozeroff said during a nap she discovered her baby girl’s skin was grey and her lips were blue. Luna was then rushed to the hospital where doctors resuscitated her and found out her oxygen levels were extremely low.

Luna stayed in hospital on oxygen for a week and was released. However, two months later, Luna was once again admitted to Hospital, and that’s when doctors discovered Luna’s condition was worse than originally thought.

“The alarm bells started going off,” said Ozeroff.

Doctors found her trachea was bent off to one side and her left upper lobe of her lungs was so large, it was pushing vital organs over, putting pressure on her heart. A CT scan also showed her condition included the swelling of her middle left lobe.

Luna is now on medication to treat her illness and had a lobectomy on her upper left lobe when she was six months old.

However, because of her surgery, surgeons can’t treat her condition that affects her right lobe because of complications with the surgery on her left lobe.

“The doctors never had a patient quite like Luna,” said Ozeroff. “They don’t really know what to do.”

Ozeroff says her family has to endure a lot of uncertainty that includes many trips to the hospital, including seven emergency visits in one month during November 2015 for baby Luna.

The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT needs your help to make a difference for Luna and the many other children suffering from lung disease.

Your donations today will help researchers make a difference for families like the Ozeroffs. Help us find better treatments and cures for children like Luna, give to The Lung Association today.

—JC—

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: What happens during a hiccup?

giphy

Have you ever wondered what happens when you have the hiccups?

The American Lung Association, HEADLINE: Inconvenient hiccups, published March 17, 2016

Your diaphragm is an important muscle. It helps with your breathing by expanding and contracting your chest and that movement draws air into your lungs.

And, as our friends at the American Lung Association points out, we don’t really think about how awesome the diaphragm really is when you’re having a bad case of the hiccups.

A hiccup happens when the diaphragm spasms — it snaps your vocal cords causing that squeaky hiccup sound.

Check out the post from the American Lung Association’s blog to learn more about hiccups.

In the meantime, check out how challenging it is for this young seven-year-old who is trying to battle through a bad case of the hiccups while singing Australia’s national anthem. It took our breath away watching this.

For sale: bags of fresh air in China to fight pollution problem

The Mirror, HEADLINE: Bags of fresh air on sale in China to combat pollution problem, published March 26, 2016. 

hazy-day-in-beijing-1536906-640x480Remember that hairy-nose-filled PSA we shared on this blog, which was about reminding people in China to take action against air pollution because “it changes you.”

It seems air pollution in China has already changed some business opportunities for those vendors who cater to tourists looking to escape their smog-filled cities.

Vendors are selling bags of air at touristy hiking locations in China’s mountain parks. The bags of mountain air can then be taken home to enjoy or to be used straight away.

Small bags for sale for $1.88 CDN each and large bags for  sale for $5.63 CDN sometimes come with flower pedals to make the air “more pleasant” in the bag.

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Pigeons to the rescue

birds-on-lanzarote-1374738-640x480

Pigeons used to monitor air pollution in London

CNN: Pigeon Air Patrol To The Rescue, Published Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Air quality monitoring is for the birds — literally.

It’s not a bird-brained idea, says a company behind a flock of pigeons that fly above the streets of London with backpack-like devices strapped to their backs to monitor the city’s air pollution.

Plume Labs, the company behind the Pigeon Air Patrol, says each of the pigeons’ packs monitors nitrogen dioxide and other forms of air pollution in a city that has some of the highest levels of air pollution in the world.

The company says roughly 9,400 London residents die every year as a result of air pollution and it hopes that its Pigeon Air Patrol will make people become advocates for better air quality in London.

As a way to track the air pollution, 10 trained birds will fly to the sky with their backpacks. Once the birds are in the air, their backpacks automatically tweet the results.

Children smoking rates down, but e-cig use is up: study

CBC: Teen cannabis use at lowest level since 1980s: study, Published March 16, 201

no-smoking-1520003-640x640Smoking among school-aged Canadian children is significantly down, but more children are using electronic cigarettes.

That is according to researchers behind a study, Health Behaviour Among School Aged Children.

Elizabeth Saewyc, a co-author of the study and a professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia tells the CBC that she is concerned about the increase in the usage of e-cigerettes.

“E-cigarettes are one of those things that we’re beginning to be a little concerned about, because clearly the tobacco use is down, and has been consistently low, but if they’re trying e-cigarettes at that level, does that mean we could be seeing a turnaround and smoking will become cool again,” said Saewyc to the CBC.

Poor air bad for your lungs and can cause diabetes: study

forbidden-pollution-1245100-639x426Reuters: Air Pollution not just bad for your lungs, Published March 16, 2016

Being exposed to air pollution for up to a month or two can increase an obese person’s chances of getting diabetes, suggests a recent U.S. study.

Reuters reports that researchers followed more than 1,000 Mexican-Americans in southern California. What researchers found was that their short-term exposure to poor air quality was linked to an increase risk of high cholesterol. They also found that the bad air impaired the processing of blood sugar — a risk for diabetes.

However, scientists still don’t know how air pollution might lead to diabetes.

For more, check out the story on Reuters.

—JC—

 

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: A need for lung cancer research

lungs

Tributes pour in after loss of legendary father

with_parents2CBC NEWS; Terry Fox’s father, Rolly, dies following battle with lung cancer, posted March 9, 2016 

It has been an incredibly sad week here at The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT — especially after Terry MacInnes lost his battle with his severe lung health condition March 3.

The entire country, us included, is also mourning the loss of Rolly Fox, the father of Terry Fox. Rolly died Tuesday, March 8 “while listening to a little Hank Williams,” according to his family through a statement posted on the Terry Fox Foundation’s website.

“We have witnessed once again the pain cancer causes but we know, oh how we know, that we are not alone,” said the family in the statement.

“We have seen first hand the opportunities to extend life because of our nation’s collective belief and investment in cancer research, yet have been forced to accept that they were not available to Dad/Grandpa.”

With further investment in critically underfunded lung cancer‬ research, we hope that some day announcements like these become a thing of the past.

A radioactive study into radioactive elements

BBC World Service, Elements: The Radio Actives, Published March 9, 2016

Radon Kit Photo

A radon test kit, like this one, can be purchased at http://radonaware.accustarcanada.com.

The BBC World Service’s Business Daily has taken a closer look into a trio of radioactive elements, like uranium, and studies how those elements were once used commercially in the 20th century.

The documentary also looks at what residents in Finland are doing to curb radon levels — a radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer.

When you give it a listen, it is a reminder as to why we encourage home and building owners to test for radon during the winter months.

Download the MP3 file as a podcast to your MP3 device or smartphone from the BBC World Service.

River of trash causing lung health problems in Beirut

The National Post, ER doctors see spike in respiratory illnesses, published March 8

landfill-1543880-639x428.jpgLebanon is in the midst of a trash collection crisis and it is causing alarming problems for emergency room doctors in that country.

The crisis began eight months ago when government officials in Beirut closed down a landfill without providing an alternative.

The city of Beirut is mostly garbage free, but the trash is being hauled to the city’s outskirts, where piles upon piles of trash are seen along the roadside and the banks of the Beirut River.

According to the Association Press, patients coping with serious lung conditions are filling hospitals in Beirut because of burning garbage.

—JC—

 

Meet Calgary’s Catherine Bedford, Alberta’s 61st double-lung transplant patient in 2015

IMG_0604

Catherine Bedford is a 50-year-old resident from Calgary currently recovering from a double-lung transplant she received in December 2015.

Catherine Bedford, a 50-year-old Calgary resident, has been through quite a journey in 2015.

As surgeons in Edmonton’s University Hospital performed a record-shattering 61 lung transplant operations in 2015, Bedford was the last person to receive the life-saving surgery during that extremely busy year.

“I can do whatever I want now — I’ve got my life back,” said Bedford, a former dental hygenist who had to leave her position because of her illness.

“It is so important to sign that donor card and talk about it with your families.”

Bedford first discovered something was wrong with her health during her early 30s when she was unable to do common chores, like shovelling sidewalks. And as someone who was physically fit, she could no longer jog.

‘Problems breathing’

“I just noticed that exertion just gave me problems breathing,” she said during an interview with The Lung Association March 2.

Bedford had two close calls while giving birth to her two children. When she was 32, she gave birth to a 10-week premature baby boy who, she said, “came out blue” because of a lack of oxygen from her lung health condition that wasn’t diagnosed by doctors.

Then, at 33, Bedford gave birth to a tiny, low-weight baby — the result of a lack of oxygen in her body. That is when doctors realized something was wrong.

“I was diagnosed when (my children) were four and five-years-old,” she said.

Doctors discovered that Bedford had Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic form of emphysema.

From the age of 38, right through to her operation in 2015, Bedford had to be on oxygen, carrying large bottles with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Doctors also added her to a transplant list when she was 48 when her condition became worse.

Breathing_icon1The whole process was a journey for Bedford, as she was once taken off the list because she had resistant bacteria in her lungs. Doctors then gave her antibiotics for four months to fight the bacteria.

Once she was added back to the list on Dec. 9, 2015, Bedford says she received “the phone call” 20 days later.

Nerves rattled after phone call

That was a nerve-racking experience for Bedford who need medication and an ambulance ride because of an anxiety attack — something that is quite common for transplant patients when they get “the call.”

“The whole process was pretty quick,” said Bedford who also supports The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT every year with Christmas Seals and its other direct mail campaigns.

“You have to help out because it is so important to give to research.”

A long journey

Bedford, who is still getting treated in Edmonton to ensure her body doesn’t reject her new lungs, says she now has a new lease on life. She can now run on the treadmill — something she hasn’t done since her early 20s — along with playing sports she loves like slo-pitch, swimming, and water-polo.

As her recovery from surgery continues, Bedford hopes to meet the family of the person who gave her new set of lungs.

“I would like to say thank you — there is no gift better than the gift of life,” said Bedford.

“I am in the middle of writing a thank you card. It’s unfortunate that one has to pass on to save another person’s life, but that’s the organ donation cycle.”

Bedford now has a taste for adventure as she wants to go travelling with her family, along with horseback riding and skiing.

“I just want to do all of these things that I haven’t been able to do in a long time,” she said.

“It has been a long journey.”

—JC—

Kent McInnes’s legacy will live on with The Lung Association

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kent MacInnes, a man who pulled himself off a double-lung and heart transplant list to help protect his family’s financial future in Logan Lake, B.C. passed away March 4, 2016. He was 61-years-old.

His legacy and his story will live on with all of us at The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT as we continue to build a home for lung transplant patients in Edmonton so no one can make another hard decison — like Kent’s — ever again.

Here is his story…

Breathing Together

IMG_0562 Linda and Kent MacInnes.

LOGAN LAKE, B.C. — Kent MacInnes, a 60-year-old resident who lives in this small picturesque town in British Columbia believes he made the right — yet difficult — choice to help protect his family’s financial future.

Despite living with congestive heart failure and a fatal lung disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, MacInnes has chosen to pull himself off the wait list for a heart and double-lung transplant — a surgery he desperately needs in Edmonton’s University of Alberta hospital.

“If something were to happen after my surgery and I didn’t make it, then I would probably bankrupt my family and leave my wife with nothing,” said MacInnes.

Edmonton is the only city in Western Canada that has the expertise, facilities, and resources to handle these kinds of complicated surgeries, including double-lung transplants.

Medical costs are covered for the surgeries, even for patients like MacInnes who…

View original post 325 more words

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Fighting air pollution in China

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 8.39.57 AM.png

Change air pollution before it changes you: PSA from China

 

Air pollution in China has been dangerous in recent weeks.

All 366 cities in China — including Beijing — failed to meet World Health Organization air quality standards in 2015. The survey also shows that more than 90 per cent of residents in China are concerned about air pollution.

Obviously, air pollution in China is unavoidable, but in order to get people to take action against air pollution, WildAid‘s GOBlue campaign created an interesting PSA that speculates what residents might do to cope with the dirty air.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 8.39.40 AMFrom its press release, “‘Hairy Nose’ is an eye-catching and thought-provoking concept that projects the issue of air pollution into the distant future. In this world, nose hair has evolved to filter pollution and has led to activities, fashion and culture centered on the now prominent facial features. In the face of this, one man refuses to accept the pollution and shaves his nose hair in defiance. The message for current urban residents is clear: Change air pollution before it changes you.”

A very important message in China, especially since lung cancer deaths have risen by 465 per cent over the last 30 years.

What is it like living in Beijing?

CBC News: A Montrealer experiences Beijing’s notorious air pollution: Published March 3, 2016

hazy-day-in-beijing-1536906-640x480CBC News caught up with a former Montreal resident who now lives in Beijing. He shared about what life is like in a city that has once reached 423 in Beijing’s air quality index — a scale that is out of 500.

Elvis Anber says on days when it is really bad, he can’t see anything outside his apartment window. Residents in China also check out the air quality as much as they check out the weather reports, he says.

He also raises a very interesting point.

“To let in that fresh air, that’s something we take for granted in Canada,” Anber said to CBC News.

“Maybe when it’s about 100 or below, you can open up the window to let in some fresh air. You really shouldn’t be out when the pollution is this high, especially over prolonged periods of time.”

Pack a mask after an apocalypse to help you breathe: American Lung Association

American Lung Association: Forget the Post-Apocalyptic Setting Killing You – What About the Dust? Published Feb. 24, 2016

blog_madmax_h

© 2015 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

Mad Max: Fury Road cleaned up the 88th Academy Awards last Sunday night by winning the most Oscars with six.

And before movie director George Miller walked on the red carpet that night, our friends at The American Lung Association asked is why those who create post-apocoliptic stories and movies don’t consider risks to lung health.

“Naturally with any scenario like post end-of-the-world, we assume natural resources such as water and gas will be scarce and probably rationed out by a power hungry warlord,” it wrote in this interesting post in its blog.

“What many people probably don’t consider are the risks to lung health. After all, humans need to breathe to survive.”

This is a must read for all lung health fans! And if the world ends, make sure you pack a mask to help you fight through sandstorms.

—JC—