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Sister Dorita’s pulmonary function tests showed lungs operating at under capacity

Published on Saturday, November 28, 2015

Respiratory Therapist Jeanne Klaver conducted several pulmonary function tests on Sr. Dorita to determine her baseline lung health. They discovered her lungs were operating at only about 60 percent capacity and polyps on her right lung.

Sr. Dorita underwent 36 weeks of intensive pulmonary rehabilitation, designed to build up the muscles in and around her lungs. Sr. Dorita says it really helped. "My lung capacity has increased, so the treatment has been at least partially successful."

Klaver says much of that improvement can be credited to not waiting too long seek treatment. "People tend to adapt to whatever stage they’re at in their lung disease, so a lot of time we don’t see people until they’re quite far along," she says.

Klaver adds when it comes to lung disease, identifying the problem and finding ways to slow lung deterioration is key to quality of life. "A lung disease isn’t necessarily cured. We simply try to get people into the best baseline that can help them live a near normal life."

For Sr. Dorita that meant slowing down somewhat and keeping the faith. "I know my lungs aren’t going to get better...in fact, they may get worse. All I can do is continue to exercise and remember I could be a lot worse off."