My History with IPF
(Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis)
Andrew K. Hall D.C.
I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in October of 2004.
My pulmonologist sat me down and told me that the prognosis was not good. He explained that he likely would have me on supplemental oxygen in 4 years, and if typical, I would die in 5 years or shortly after.
Because I use a Class IV laser in my office, I decided to try it for my lungs. Being an expert in Class IV laser technology, having credentialled other doctors, and having taught classes on laser therapy for my state association, I knew of all the benefits that laser had to offer. I searched for any studies on laser for IPF. I found nothing at the time. So, I figured what have I got to lose, if it helps, awesome, if not, well I tried and I guess I would just have to die an early death. Using my professional judgement, I formulated a treatment plan for myself and followed the plan. What happened was that when I went back for a PFT (pulmonary function test) months later it had improved! My pulmonologist was shocked and surprised. He said that IPF never improves. I told him I was using therapeutic laser. Many more months went by and I had another PFT and CT scan, and the PFT had improved again! There was no additional honeycombing fibrosis on the CT scan. My pulmonologist said he had never seen anything like this in his entire career. Again, he said IPF never gets better. Again, I told him I was using a therapeutic laser. He shrugged his shoulders and just said “huh”. After the 3rd PFT, again showing a slight improvement he asked about details of the laser admitting he knew nothing about it. We had a very long talk about the photochemical processes that take place and he said that now he understands. At the time of this writing, 4 and a half years have passed. My resting blood oxygen is usually about 97, was 99 at the pulmonologist’s office last October. I continue to hike with my dogs at 5,500 feet elevation with no difficulties. I live at 4,500 feet. My lifestyle has not changed at all due to my IPF. I do still have a cough, and it is aggravated mostly by cold air/weather. I am not ‘cured’. I still have IPF. The honeycombing is still there. But I’m no worse and in some ways better years after diagnosis.
I posted my story on Earth Clinic, and started getting calls and emails. IPF patients wanted to know if laser therapy would work for them. I told them I don’t know but it is working for me. I found them a doctor with an appropriate laser and later when I heard back from them, they told me that they too had improved. Some were rather dramatic, and some were subtle. To date, I have not heard of anyone that did not benefit in one way or another. I knew then that this could not just be coincidence anymore. So, the question was no longer does it work but rather would it work for everyone with fibrous lung disease? How much improvement can one expect? I don’t know and I don’t think you can go by just 15-18 IPF patients. But, as I say, each has improved at least in some way.
I knew a study needed to be done to answer so many questions. I contacted the NIH, the American Lung Association, and several other lung organizations about a study. NONE were interested. I felt a moral and ethical responsibility to do something as far as a study. I have since semi-retired and I am now devoted to doing a study. We can’t wait 10-15 years to have a study done. Current IPF patients will likely all be dead by then. How can one morally and ethically wait for someone else to do it? I simply can’t and won’t.