Healing My Scarred Lung with Food and Exercise

I have been living with lung condition called Lung Fibrosis or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, assume to be caused by Systemic Scleroderma since 2012. The symptoms including.

* Dry coughing

* Chest discomfort, shortness of breath and chest pain

* Fatigue and weakness.

It can be scary living with a lung condition because I tend to get viral and bacterial infection very easily. Therefore, staying in a clean environment is one of my top priorities.

Lung is one of the most important organs in human’s body. We need healthy lung for our body to properly function. It is our lifeline because lung has the role to bring oxygen into body to feed heart, brain and entire system. It protects body from allergens and fights off viruses and bacterias .

I was officially diagnosed with Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis six months after I was diagnosed with Systemic Scleroderma. I was always fatigued and as the result lost my abilities to work.

Once my lung was given the name tag, the disease claimed 20% of my lung. I was prescribed methotrexate and presnisolone to suppress my immune and stops body tissue to attack itself (I was told). Besides these medications I also took high dose of cymbalta and Endep to help managing pains and aid sleep. Nexium was also prescribed for severe acid reflux. However, after 5 years of taking those medicines, I realized they just suppressed the symptoms and didn’t stop the progression of lung fibrosis or eliminate the pains. 6 years later my lung capacity reduced from 80% to 65%. I can only breathe in 1.9 liters of oxygen instead of 6 liters. Due to less oxygen in the body, I often have dizziness and become exhausted easily.

The Rheumatologist told me I am one of the luckiest Systemic Scleroderma and Lung Fibrosis patients who has a better condition.

I definitely was not excited to hear the news but I am grateful that my efforts and experiments with food and exercises paid off. I knew why I am one of the luckiest among those lung fibrosis patients. I believe I have been working very hard in looking after my health and well-being. On other hand, I simply don’t have any choice but do whatever it takes to survive the illnesses so I can live longer with my family and friends and travel the world to see new places. Traveling makes me feel alive and appreciate the life I am living.

Generally, lung function of a person declines as we aged. But if a person has lung conditions the lung function declines very rapidly.

Lung Function Test Machine
Lung Function Test

When I was young and healthy I thought physical heath and appearance was very thing to a person’s well-being. Obviously, I was naive. The good health and well-being of a person involves all elements of a person’s life. When a person is unwell it needs a holistic way of treatment, especially for those with chronic diseases. I wish I knew this 7 years ago.

After years of struggling with deadly diseases, I turned to holistic healing approach to gain my health back. I started my healing with 360 Degree Cleansing.

I quickly realized that body cleansing reduces inflammation in body. As the result, I become more energetic and able to do more exercises and archive daily tasks easier. I can even hike but in my own pace.

After discovery about food and body healing, I am very excited and continue to do researches and gain understanding more about natural healing. I experiment and apply what I’ve learned daily.

I believe natural health care is the most affordable health care. It’s in our food, our daily activities and environment. It’s in our CONTROL!!!

It’s true that in many cases modern medicine saves lives. However, it’s also very expensive and inaccessible to those who have disadvantaged social-economically. It’s also true that every medication has side affects. Modern medicine to date isn’t able to cure chronic diseases such as Diabete, Rheumatoid Artistics, Lupus, Scleroderma and Lung Fibrosis. I am the living proof of such examples. However, I consider modern medicine and medical technologies as valuable tools to optimize my healing. It provides me clearer picture and extends my time to learn about natural healing. It’s a safeguard for the unforeseen, especially my lung condition.

I used to fully rely on modern medicines because I was brought up around my father who was a medical doctor. He dedicated his life to his work of saving lives with his skills and so I trusted my father and his knowledge, no questions asked. At the same time, I was raised and looked after by my grandmother who believed in self-sustainability. She was brought up during World War II, when money meant almost nothing. Due to poverty and war along the Laos-Vietnam border, grandmother and her family moved from place to place, surviving on wild vegetables, roots, insects, wild animals and bamboo-shoot. Some time they went to bed hungry. Grandmother and her family were forced to immigrate from Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam to resettle in Laos.

In Laos, grandmother had a piece of land to farm and it was the best thing in her life. Growing her own food was a very serious business.

My grandmother and her peers used to tell us, the next generation, that we shouldn’t simply eat any food if there’s internal injury. They said some food would slow down body’s healing or in worst case it even causes death.

My mother gave birth to 3 daughters, myself and two younger sisters and my grandmother looked after her diet and well-being all those times. She would only allow my mother to eat grilled ginger with salt, rice and drank herbal tea, taking herbal shower in the morning and be seated on warm herbal salts for the first week of child birth, then food were gradually added back to her diet. After 3 weeks, my mother could eat her usual diet again and the warm herbal salts sitting also stopped. My mother was healthy young mother until after she had my youngest brother.

After my father graduated from a medical school in Russia. We moved with his job away from grandmother. Therefore, my mother was under my father’s care during the birth of my youngest brother. She was allowed to eat whatever she want and given antibiotics and pain killers. Over the years mother’s health was deteriorating. She became over weight and eventually developed diabetes with a heart condition. Mother passed away aged 63 from health attack. Grandmother lived a long healthy life. She died aged of 93.

Why am I telling you the mortality of my respected beloved ones?

After two years living with Systemic Scleroderma and Lung Fibrosis, I couldn’t help but reflect on myself and my family’s history, especially my grandmother’s. Because I believed I have an incredibly short life as there’s no cure to my illnesses. There’s no medication could take away my pains. I was living a hopeless life. Although I am very grateful and I don’t have any regret, I do have concerns and worried about my young family. My young son needs me, the functional me!

I begin to ask myself a lot of questions
  • What could I do to slowdown the progression of the diseases?
  • What kinds of food causes inflammation or heal human’s body?
  • What else can be done beside of modern medicine interventions
  • Are there scientific reasons behind grandmother’s food protocol?

It took me years to find answers to my questions. I studied all diets that claimed to eliminate some illnesses like Paleo, Low FODMAP, low fat, low calorie and GM diets. I started experimented each of these diets one by one. The first goal was to lose weight I gained during those years from side affects of medications. Unfortunately, none of these diets alone actually helped me, not for long term.

In May, 2017 during my Japan trip with one of my best friends. I learned about Ketogenic diet from her because she wouldn’t stop talking about it. Ketogenic diet is high fat low carb moderate protein diet. It’s proven to help people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar level and reduces inflammation. My best friend started the diet when she found out she was at borderline of getting diabetes. It works very well for her. I was thrilled for her! She lost a lot of weight and became a healthier happier and more beautiful version of her. Her blood sugar level is normal again.

Kooi Hoon, my best friend

21 May 2018, on my flight back home from Tokyo I started Ketogenic diet. It’s easier for me to do so on the flight because plane food was boring. I fasted for more than 12 hours to cleanse my body and kicked start the Ketogenic diet.

After two weeks of Ketogenic diet, I felt very energetic. The inflammation in my body drastically reduced. At the same time I also learned that not everything in this particular diet is good for me. So I did food elimination in the limit of Low/FODMAP which I have been doing for years and the Ketogenic diets. The experiments paid off! Inflammation in my body almost vanished and I was able to stop most of medications. The diet also helped me lose 12kgs of my weight. It helps me live quality life with lung fibrosis and combats inflammation in a big way.

What causes my lung to scar?

According to medical explanation, my lung scarring is caused by the Systemic Scleroderma, a form of autoimmune diseases. Lung Fibrosis can also be caused by other factors such as viral infections, smoking, inhaling metal dust, wood dust, agricultural products and dangerous chemicals substances.

How I look after my lung and slow down the scaring?

As I mentioned above I have turned to holistic approach of healing my body. Because there’s no one size fit all treatment for Scleroderma patients. Everyone is different and our body reacts differently to the same food and medicine.

Diet. I believe through my diet interventions, I am able to control most of the symptoms caused by scleroderma. As the results, it reduces inflammation in my body including lung and other internal illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, brain fog, muscle pains and arthritis. Diet is the first and most important element in healing my body, especially my lung.

These vegetables are wildly consumed in South East Asia

Exercise. It helps to stabilize my lung’s capacity. Exercise such as yoga focuses on breathing and stretching improves body movements, joint stiffness and ability to breathe much comfortably during daily activities.

I am still working on how to increase my lung’s capacity through singing which I would like to share with you in near future.

Music. It has positive impact mainly on my mental and emotional health. Music lifts my mood and stimulates me to sing along and dance any time of the day. I also believe it helps with my breathing, especially the slow melodies music and songs.

Meditation. I include meditation in my daily routines. Meditating 5 to 10 minutes daily has great benefits on body and mind. I feel the sense of calmness and it provides me peaceful time to be present within myself. The prayers I am chanting every day is also helps with my breathing and lung condition.

It’s scientifically proven that chanting particular Hindu words has healing power on human body and mind.

I believe holistic healing is the most effective method to treat chronic illnesses as it has proven to me time and time again in my experiments and experiences that it works instantly and in the long run.
I am focusing on healing my body naturally, using science and modern technologies to determine of where my health is at. I need to be mindful, thoroughly understand my body and health condition so I am able make the healing methods that are suitable for my body and conditions.
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