Hvthyvtke means morning in Muscogee. The first day of the new month brings rain and the launch of Stecate Woman, an online publication of the voice of the Red Person Woman.
In March of 2019 I was asked by Ange Bunner to paint a Native version of Rosie The Riveter with arm flexed and butterfly tattoo on the bicep. She wanted Pulmonary Fibrosis Warrior Woman written on the painting. I invite you to read Ange’s words and be inspired by this woman of courage.
“My IPF Story”
By Ange Bunner
Last year, I began to notice with little exertion of energy, my breathing became labored. Initially,
I attributed it to being out of shape, I had begun to participate less and less in physical activities such as
playing basketball, softball, and running 5Ks. I began to notice walking slight inclines or stairs caused
extreme shortness of breath. This is when I began to think there could be more to it than simply being
out of shape. I made a doctor’s appointment in April 2018, thus, initiating a series of tests that would
eventually lead to a diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
IPF is the most common type of pulmonary fibrosis. It is a progressive disease characterized by
scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs that thickens the lining of the lungs making it difficult to breathe. The
word “idiopathic” means it has no known cause. There is no cure, and eventually the progression will
lead to the need for a bi-lateral lung transplant for me.
Today, I take medication to help tolerate the IPF and use oxygen to complete activities that can
be strenuous for me, such as light chores and exercise. As the disease progresses, there will be a need to
use oxygen full-time as breathing becomes more difficult. It’s unclear as to when that day will come for
me as the rate of progression differs for each individual.
Although the diagnosis was shocking, and there will be many challenges ahead in my battle, I’ve
determined to maintain a positive outlook. I have done my own research to learn more about IPF and to
have a better understanding of the disease. I have also joined an online IPF community where others
share information and offer support. But most importantly, I have the encouragement of my family and
friends. I am truly blessed by their unwavering support to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me in this
journey. I have learned throughout my life that many of our greatest accomplishments are on the other
side of perseverance. I plan to keep on, keepin’ on.