Life with LAM

maria jose salazar

Sworn Translator and Interpreter | Guatemala City, Guatemala

“I was diagnosed with LAM when I started to feel short of breath. Nothing else had happened to me, but two weeks later the real journey started. In a period of one week, I suffered two pneumothoraces and had pleurodesis performed. My world fell into pieces when I realized what was happening. I had no idea what to expect and felt very lonely because I was the only registered case of LAM in Guatemala. I had the chance to go to a LAMposium several weeks after and it really changed my life. I was able to feel hope when I saw all those scientists working to find a cure, and so many patients fighting a similar fight.

I try to be as positive as possible but sometimes it’s frustrating. Many people don’t realize that there is something wrong with me and that many times I need to slow down. It is also frustrating to see that the numbers on my pulmonary tests are getting a little worse each time, meaning LAM is taking its course and that there is not much I can do about it. My ability to perform several activities is diminishing slowly and it is difficult to accept it. I live a constant fight because I don’t have much energy, but I still want to do many things.

Now I am learning to prioritize the important things and leave all the others behind. I have learned to see life in a completely different way and enjoy so many things that I didn’t even notice before. I have my team of angels making my life so wonderful and helping me fight every second of the day. My three children and parents have been my support all the time, and to see them be strong in turn gives me strength. And I am so thankful for the amazing man God brought into my life because he makes my life simple and calm. I am very blessed to be so loved. I really hope for a cure!”

– Maria Jose Salazar, Guatemala

This excerpt is from Breathe, Just Breathe by Jennifer Fujikawa. Share your own story during Worldwide LAM Awareness Month, tag @thelamfoundation on social media, and use the hashtag #WWLAM to raise awareness for LAM with your friends and family.