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Because of Active Steps, I have renewed confidence

Lesley has lived with lung conditions her whole life, but since joining Active Steps she's noticed a huge improvement in her health. 

Lesley, who is taking part in the active steps programme.

All my life I have had problems with my lungs. When I was younger, I was known as a ‘chesty child’ because of my regular bouts of bronchitis. This continued during adulthood, but it was not until I was 40 that I was diagnosed with asthma.

After that, the problems with bronchitis did decrease, but then they gradually got worse. It was only in my early 70s that was I diagnosed with bronchiectasis in both lungs, which I had probably lived with for many years.

Living with bronchiectasis has been difficult, but I have been fortunate to have had good support from my GPs throughout. Despite this, more than half of the year has been taken up with a series of exacerbations and I am now waiting to see a consultant.

Living with bronchiectasis

When I am ‘well’ I can cope with day to day tasks and walk regularly. However, when I am not feeling well, I find it very difficult to get much done and become fatigued very quickly. It’s really hard to motivate myself to stay active.

The constant coughing all day and night, and not being able to sleep lying-down, takes its toll. It also plays havoc with my social life. I’ve had to give up some hobbies because I am unable to attend regularly, and many times I’ve had to cancel arrangements my with family and friends.

It was during one of these ‘down’ periods that I saw the information about Active Steps on the British Lung Foundation's Health Unlocked forum.

I got in touch with the team and they were all very helpful! I went through a questionnaire with Abi (one of the Active Steps team) so that we could track my future progress and a pack of helpful information was sent to me including plans, an activity chart and a letter for my GP.

The benefit of Active Steps

One of the best parts of Active Steps is the way the team personalises your support to suit you. A member of the Active Steps team calls to you at regular intervals - you can choose how often you want this to happen and it is the same person you speak to each time.

This has been really helpful. Although my family and friends are aware of my lung problems, they find it difficult to understand the impact it has on my life. Speaking to someone who does understand, and whose focus is on my needs, is a treat.

Active Steps has also motivated me to tackle the weight I had put on over four months of exacerbations – now I’m almost back to where I should be!

I used to rely on my Fitbit to remind me to keep active, but the Active Steps programme has helped me realise that I can do even more to stay fit. The ‘stay active, stay well’ DVD reminded me of the little exercises that I could do while sitting down or on the move. I had lapsed from doing these exercises after a pulmonary rehabilitation course some years ago but they are now incorporated in my routine.

I’m feeling confident again

I am sure there will be ups and downs to come but thanks to the Active Steps team I have more confidence. I feel like I have more tools to use to get the best out of my life.

Do you have a story to tell? It could be about your lung condition, a friend or relative you know who lives with one, or how caring for them impacts your life. We'd love to hear what you've got to say!

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16 December 2019