What is wrong with me?! Why do I have to keep catching my breath with every step I take?! Why can’t I breathe?! Why do I feel like I am suffocating from within? How did I go from being a perfectly healthy 26 year old with having zero health problems to being oxygen dependent with scarred lungs?!
Well, unfortunately, this happened to me. My name is Erica Jackson Honeycutt, and I live in Clarksville, TN. I never had any previous health problems and was an active and thriving adult until I came down with an interstitial lung disease known as Non-Specific Interstitial Pneumonia (NSIP). NSIP is a very rare lung disease and thought to be autoimmune related. Basically, my immune system is overactive, and it attacked my lungs. My lungs were steadily declining when I was first diagnosed.
As you can imagine, this monster of a disease changed my life drastically. I have had to make many hard decisions and face many challenges regarding this disease. However, I have the satisfaction of saying that I have overcome a lot of obstacles as well because I refuse to give up. After mentally processing my diagnosis, I felt like I had two choices, it was either sit around feeling sorry for myself and wondering why this happened to me or find it within myself to be strong and accept this disease and learn to regain my happiness and fight for my life. Now, I am 32 years old and happy to say after finally finding the right regimen that works, my lung function for the most part has been stable. However, I still do have flare ups that keep me in a constant battle with this disease, but one thing I will continue to do is stay focused on moving forward and living life to the fullest.
I wrote a book called Breathless: My NSIP Story and it is now published on Amazon. The book tells my raw, candid, and courageous story about being diagnosed and living with NSIP. My hope is to bring awareness to NSIP and for people out there battling this disease to find comfort in my book and encouragement to keep pushing forward with life and never to give up.