Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.
Photo by Emily Pérez Long / Photos taken on location at The Chattanoogan Hotel
Erica Honeycutt, Chattanooga
What is wrong with me? Why do I have to keep catching my breath with every step? Why can’t I breathe? Why do I feel like I am suffocating from within? How did I go from being a perfectly healthy 26 year old with zero health problems to being oxygen-dependent with scarred lungs?
I never had any previous health problems and was an active and thriving adult until I came down with an interstitial lung disease known as Non Specific Interstitial Pneumonia (NSIP). NSIP is a very rare lung disease and is thought to be autoimmune-related. Basically, my immune system is overactive, and it attacked my lungs. My lungs were steadily declining when I was first diagnosed.
As you can imagine, this monster of a disease changed my life drastically. I have had to make many hard decisions and face many challenges regarding this disease. However, I have the satisfaction of saying that I have overcome a lot of obstacles because I refuse to give up.
After mentally processing my diagnosis, I felt like I had two choices. I could either sit around feeling sorry for myself and wondering why this happened to me, or find it within myself to be strong and accept this disease and learn to regain my happiness and fight for my life. Now, I am 33 years old and happy to say after finally finding the right regimen that works, my lung function is stable for the most part. I still do have flare-ups that keep me in a constant battle with this disease, but one thing I will continue to do is stay focused on moving forward and living life to the fullest.
With my book Breathless: My NSIP Story, I hope to bring awareness to NSIP. I hope that people out there battling this disease can find comfort and encouragement and keep pushing forward with life. Giving up wasn’t an option for me, and I want to show others that they don’t have to either.