Getting active changed my life
Linda has COPD. After a period of inactivity, she decided to turn her life around by getting active.
I was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) around 15 years ago. I’d had asthma for a long time and thought my symptoms were down to this. Despite using my inhalers, I struggled with everyday activities because of my breathlessness. For a long while I didn’t go out of the house much at all.
Setting up a BLF support group
One day, something changed. I thought to myself, why am I staying indoors? I knew I needed to get out and do something to and change my life.
It was at a general meeting at my local community centre that I first heard about Breathe Easy groups. There wasn’t anything for people with lung conditions in my area and so I thought to myself, how do I set a group up? With the help of the British Lung Foundation, I set up a Breathe Easy support group for the area and it’s been going for over 13 years. As secretary of the group, part of my role is to arrange the different speakers for our meetings.
Taking the first step
I also decided I wanted to try and be more active. My asthma nurse had mentioned a pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) course, and I decided to go along. I found PR really useful. I learnt exercises that I could do myself at home and soon started to see an improvement in my breathlessness. I’ve now done the course 4 times!
I’m doing things I never would have thought possible. Recently, I was given a GP referral for an exercise course at the gym! I’m aiming to go twice a week. I also took a computer course and have started a voluntary job there, helping others to pass the course too. I’ve gone from always being in the house, to hardly ever being in!
Learning how to adapt
My symptoms are still there, but I’ve learnt how to manage them so much better. I use a stick or a walker to get around and have a mobility scooter if I’m going anywhere far. My daughter and son-in-law moved into my house earlier this year. There are a few things I need help with, such as making the bed, and so they’re there to support me.
Getting active has changed everything. To anyone who’s in the position I was, I’d say find something to do that’s outside of the house, even if it’s just popping round to see your neighbour. It’s so important to keep going and not give up.