On his blog, Doctor Fate writer Steve Gerber reveals he has pulmonary fibrosis:
I also have a disease called pulmonary fibrosis. It’s a progressive condition which, over time, essentially turns the inside of the lungs to scar tissue, rendering the patient unable to breathe, resulting in — well, you know, that thing that never quite happens permanently in comics anymore. In about 40% of cases, the cause of pulmonary fibrosis is unknown. I’m one of the 40%. (Irony of ironies, mine has nothing to do with smoking.) There is no cure. Detected in its earliest stages, some forms of pulmonary fibrosis can be slowed by medication, but the doctors think mine, which was diagnosed in September of ‘05, has been working its nasty little magic for at least seven years. Though it’s now in its final stages, it’s remained fairly stable since it was diagnosed. It may continue to progress very slowly, or it may suddenly become much more aggressive; there’s no way to predict which course it will take.
Although the condition is incurable, some pulmonary fibrosis patients make good candidates for lung transplant surgery. The folks at UCLA’s Lung Transplant Center seem to think I’m one of those. I’ve passed all the tests so far. I need to get some dental work done before I can be put on the transplant list. (I know. That sounds like a joke, too, but oral infections can be extremely virulent, and any transplant procedure involves severely damping down the immune system to prevent rejection of the foreign tissue.) After that, of course, it becomes a waiting game.
Gerber also thanks the Hero Initiative, who are helping him out. Our thoughts are with Gerber; hopefully he can get on the transplant list soon.