How Bill Odom Got a New Lease on Life from National Jewish Health

When Bill Odom saw the X-rays at his doctor’s office in Texas, he was afraid he was going to die. But a decision to drive to National Jewish Health gave him the right diagnosis, an effective treatment plan and a bright future.


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Bill Odom

I’m Bill Odom.

I’ve always been very active, I’ve had a friend of mine tell me one time, he says, “you’re nothing but a serial entrepreneur,” and it’s true.

There was always something in the works for me.

I just couldn’t get my breath, was just gasping.

Kind of felt like a fish out of water, it’s just they take those gulps, but they’re not getting anything for themselves.

I was having trouble walking up the stairs.

When I saw the x-rays of my lungs, my knees buckled.

I thought, “oh my god I’m going to die.”

My doctor said it was an interstitial lung disease.

I didn’t know what to do so I started researching it.

I kept seeing this one word, idiopathic

If I only have one leg, I can either sit in a chair or I can figure out how to walk with one leg.

After I got over feeling sorry for myself, I told my pulmonologist, “I’m going to National Jewish Health.”


Dr. Evans Fernández Pérez

Here at National Jewish, we have a vast experience in diagnosing and treating patients with interstitial lung diseases and we have been doing this for many years and we're good at it.

We see thousands of those patients.


Bill Odom

When Dr. Fernandez came in he looked at my hands.

I thought, “ what do my hands have to do with my breathing?”


Dr. Evans Fernández Pérez

Looking at the hands, he had what is called mechanic’s hands so I knew right away that this was not IPF.

Then we tested his blood and found his immune system was attacking his lungs and his hands.


Bill Odom

He looked at me and said, “It’s treatable,” and that I can expect to live a long, active life.

Thank goodness I was fortunate enough to know where to go and that was National Jewish Health.

And thank goodness National Jewish Health was smart enough to know to pair me with Dr. Fernandez.

He saved my life.

So scared.

I came to National Jewish two years ago and I thought it was another nail in the coffin.

Well you know what?

We ran that coffin through the wood chipper.

Coffin is gone.

It’s history and we’re on to the next chapter in our life.

When we got home from National Jewish Health we decided to start by building a new home.

It’s going to be fantastic.

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