The tragedy which has unfolded in Ukraine has a personal connection for me. My last name, Zlupko, is Ukrainian. My father and his family were from the Ukraine. They survived the Stalin era when the family was taken from their farm and exiled to Siberia for at least a decade. My father was in America by then, having escaped with his brother at the advice of the grandfather I never met. When my father’s family was finally repatriated, they returned home to their rural life outside of Lviv, a town which has been much in the news. I still must have relatives there and I wonder about their fate. This article is not a political statement. I simply wanted to acknowledge my concern for all those Ukrainians who have suffered under this horrible attack by the Russian government.
I suppose to keep this article focused on lung disease, I will remind all of you that many Ukrainian citizens in the path of this war will suffer from the inhalation of the chemical explosives used in their cities, along with dust from the destroyed buildings. This will all be similar to what happened to first responders and people in New York following the collapse of the Twin Towers. Unfortunately, it is too soon to think about the future. For the current here and now, I just hope my distant relatives are safe and will be able to return to the life they once knew.