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Bob B.'s Story

Connective Tissue Interstitial Lung Disease (CT-ILD)

Robert (Bob) B. and his wife, Nancy, both 79 years old, have been dancing together for more than 50 years. Growing up in Scranton, PA, Bob was president of their high school marching band and Nancy was captain of the twirlers. Nancy says Bob was always more fun to dance with because his background as a musician meant he could “feel the music better than other guys.”

Between dance classes at the local YMCA and their four grandchildren, Bob and Nancy continue to stay on their toes. But last year, Bob suddenly found himself unable to keep up while playing outside with his grandchildren. He experienced severe shortness of breath that shocked the entire family. 

After several tests and a biopsy at his local hospital, Bob was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The sharp downward turn in his health led doctors to believe the only way to save him was a lung transplant, although they told him not to expect to live more than six months. They suggested he start to get his affairs in order.

Bob is happy to be able to keep dancing with his wife Nancy.

As a long-time volunteer emergency medical technician, Bob says at first he wasn’t too scared by the diagnosis. “I knew everybody’s machine breaks down sooner or later,” shares Bob. But when he went on the transplant list, he grew apprehensive. His doctor told him to go to Temple for a second opinion.

The doctors at Temple carefully reviewed Bob’s medical information and collaborated with his previous care team to conduct a thorough evaluation, which revealed he actually had Connective Tissue Interstitial Lung Disease (CT-ILD) due to rheumatoid arthritis. The new diagnosis was less life-threatening, so they developed a new treatment plan centered on an immunosuppressive drug as well as oxygen support. 

With pulmonary rehabilitation, Bob began to regain his strength and return to daily activities. “There’s no question I’m glad I got a second opinion,” says Bob. “When my doctor referred me to Temple, it was a blessing.” 

In May 2017, Bob was healthy enough to slow dance with Nancy at a friend’s wedding. In August of the same year, his name was removed from the transplant list. Today, Bob no longer needs the oxygen support and he has high hopes of hitting the dance floor at the Y again soon: “I want to get back to dance medley classes with my wife!”

See more stories including:

Interstitial Lung Disease Program Oxygen Therapy Pulmonary Rehabilitation Erin Narewski