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This weeks HUG is going to create a new level of hope and possibility in your life. Author, Speaker and Pulmonary Fibrosis activist Jerry Smith is an over-comer shining his light of hope and faith on us as you listen to this weeks Hug. So sit back grab your cup of tea (if you are like me 🙂 and lets continue to build on last weeks hug and never give up.
In 2004, I was diagnosed with an incurable lung disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and given a “Death Sentence”. My doctor told me that I had an estimated six months to live, to go home and wait for the end. “According to the National Institutes of Health, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in which over a period of time the lung tissue becomes thickened, stiff, and scarred. The development of the scar tissue is called fibrosis. As the lung tissue becomes scarred and thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and other organs don’t receive the oxygen they need.” In desperation I went home and started searching worldwide on the internet. I found a doctor with a laboratory who analyzed my blood and found a fungus that caused my P.F. and made a serum that killed it in 2008. Today my lung capacity is at 52%. In the fall of 2011, I was diagnosed with asthma and it reduced my lung capacity further. Every day of my life is a struggle to breathe when I over exert and when the weather, temperature and the pollution count changes. I need medicine daily to clear the mucus that builds up from the scar tissue in my lungs which causes chronic coughing. Often the coughing causes severe breathlessness, which causes severe pain, until I can stop the coughing and restore normal breathing. And yet, no one will estimate how long I might live with this disease. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation of America, claims that there isn’t any known cause, medicine, treatment or cure anywhere in the world today and that the expected life span is two to three years from the date of diagnosis. Statistics show there are currently 200,000 pulmonary fibrosis patients in the United States with approximately 45,000 new patients yearly and about 50,000 patients dying yearly in this country. There are about the same number of people dying from pulmonary fibrosis annually as women dying from breast cancer. And while everybody is aware of breast cancer, almost no one has heard of pulmonary fibrosis and there isn’t any funding or practical research being done today.
While this is the focal point of my life, it isn’t the total story. My mother was born a Deaf-Mute, and after her mother died at age 31 during childbirth, Mom was abandoned by her father. She was placed in the School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge, La. When she turned 18, she had no place to go and she found a job working as a live in house keeper. She was raped by the homeowner and put in a home for unwed mothers. When I was born from that rape, no one would take us and mom abandoned me. I grew up in foster care and worked my way through college. I suffered many tragedies, abandonment’s, rejections, the murder of my wife, death of my grandson at 15, my attempted suicide and then after finding true happiness at age 52 for twelve years, being diagnosed with my disease.
My passion now is to make America aware of the Pulmonary Fibrosis crisis in this country and hopefully be able to create a P.F. Foundation, similar to the Cancer Society. I now make speeches, do radio and television shows. I have been written up in the Dallas Morning News & several magazines. I wrote three books with the forewords by Zig Ziglar. This month a screenwriter from Calif. started writing a screenplay about my life.
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