It was a typical weekend for Sharon and Eric Pederson when Sharon suddenly felt like she wasn’t getting enough air in her lungs. That Monday she made a doctor’s appointment and learned that her oxygen level was dangerously low. Sharon was immediately sent to the hospital and went home that night on oxygen.
“I remember being really ill and debilitated,” said Sharon. “I hardly left the house and I couldn’t breathe without the oxygen [tank]. I was essentially told by [that healthcare provider] that I had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and that I had permanent damage on my lungs that would never get better.”
After getting treatment, Sharon started to get frustrated that her health wasn’t getting better. She was on oxygen 24/7, wasn’t put on any medication, and felt that she didn’t have a real treatment plan in place.
“When I was told it wouldn’t get any better, I was really in despair and couldn’t believe it,” said Sharon. “I just kept thinking ‘there has to be other options,’ and I wanted to get a second opinion.”
Sharon started asking around in the community and talked with other patients, friends and healthcare professionals and resoundingly people referred her to Dr. Marcela Abuid from Delta Health Pulmonology. Sharon decided it was time to make an appointment and started her path to healing.
Dr. Abuid worked closely with Sharon and after reviewing her records told her that what she actually had was asthma, not COPD. At 61 years old Sharon didn’t know that she had asthma, but was thrilled to hear that it wasn’t permanent lung damage.
“Dr. Abuid immediately started treating me for asthma and it has been very successful,” said Sharon. “Now, I no longer wear oxygen except for at night time, and I can exercise without oxygen. Dr. Abuid helped treat me using a very systematic treatment plan that introduced new medications targeted to my lungs and put me on multiple inhalers – all to get me better. She has been patient and has worked great with me and has monitored and tweaked my treatment to help get me to my best place. Now I can live a normal life.”
Sharon says she remembers that within just a few weeks, and it had gotten better. She goes to a pulmonary rehabilitation exercise class for an hour a few times per week and is happy to not have to carry oxygen tanks around with her all the time.
Part of what helped Sharon’s success on her health journey was her willingness to advocate for herself and her health needs.
“I encourage people to be assertive and to follow your gut,” said Sharon. “If you get told the news that you don’t believe of that you don’t want to accept – it’s OK to ask for another option. It’s OK to keep searching because the bottom line is that it’s your health and that is important.”
Going through any variety of health challenges is difficult, and Sharon said that what helped her was having a good support system. Her husband of almost 45 years played a large role, as well as surrounding herself with people who cared.
“Once I met Dr. Abuid I felt like, ‘OK,’ this woman is sharp and I am in good hands,” said Sharon. “It was a great feeling. I would absolutely recommend Delta Health to friends and family. It has been so successful for me and again it really was talking with a lot of people and hearing Dr. Abuid’s name come up again and again in a positive way that made me reach out to Delta Health.”
Sharon’s new health has brought with it more adventure. She and her husband just went on a vacation that, she notes, was much simpler when not having to worry about oxygen tanks. She says she is, “looking forward to more of that – it’s just freeing.”
Sharon is originally from the Western Slope, but moved to Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband for 4 years before moving back. The two take care of Sharon’s mother who is 99 years old, as well as her husband’s elderly stop mom.
The couple loves to travel and enjoys spending time with their newest dog. Sharon enjoys exercising and staying active and spending time with her family.
Delta Heath Pulmonology provides a variety of services for patients. Physicians evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment/management of adult patients with common and uncommon respiratory diseases including asthma, COPD, sleep apnea and sleep disorders, pulmonary hypertension, lung cancer and more.
To schedule an appointment or to learn more, call 970. 399.2635 or visit deltahealthco.org/dcmh-pulmonary-clinic/. The Pulmonology Clinic is located at 70 Stafford Lane in Delta.