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One phone call changed my life

Denise struggled with bronchiectasis for decades before she spoke to one of our nurses. Now thanks to our helpline, she's feeling much better - mentally, and physically!

Like many people with lung disease, it took me years to get a diagnosis. For 2 long decades, I coughed and coughed.

It started a long time ago when my daughter was only 16. Back then, my cough was only annoying. But then in 2016, over 20 years later, my symptoms suddenly went downhill.

I started to really struggle. I went on holiday to try and relax, but my trip was ruined by how unwell I was.

I was distraught

Things got even worse last year, when a chest infection really knocked me for six. I had only just started a new job and was desperate not to take time off work. But in the end, my boss insisted. He said I looked too ill to be in the office. I was distraught.

As the weeks went by, I became more and more convinced that there was something seriously wrong with me. The uncertainty was horrendous. It felt like my life was on hold.

I finally got a diagnosis

I was told my cough would keep getting worse. I was absolutely devastated. I wish I'd known about the BLF Helpline then

After feeling so unsure for so long, my bronchiectasis diagnosis initially made me feel relieved. But that didn't last long.

I was told my condition was progressive, meaning my cough would keep getting worse, and there was little treatment for that. I was absolutely devastated.

Coughing was ruining my life. People on the bus would move away from me. I even stopped going to church because I was worried I would disturb the service.

My mental health suffered too. I had so many dark thoughts going round my head. What if my company got sick of me coughing all the time? What if I couldn’t find another job? How would I pay the mortgage?

Then I called the BLF Helpline

My life was falling apart. But then, one day, I found the BLF Helpline. As soon as a member of the team picked up the phone, I knew I would get the help I desperately needed.

I told him about my situation and he said he would get one of the specialist nurses to ring me back. When she did, I literally cried with relief.

With just one phone call, that nurse changed everything for me and brought light back into my life

Finally, I was talking to someone who knew what I was going through. She was so kind and compassionate. She was like a star in the darkness. We must have been on the phone for nearly an hour. 

Denise and her daughter Aimee

The helpline made me feel in control

We talked about my bronchiectasis, and the nurse explained things to me in a way that I could understand. She also said that there were support groups I could join, that chest physiotherapy might help and that I should ask to see a specialist.

But perhaps most importantly, the British Lung Foundation nurse made me feel like I was in control of my life. She gave me confidence.

Since then, my health has improved dramatically, I’m being treated at a specialist hospital, and getting the physiotherapy she told me about. My cough is much calmer, and I feel so much more positive about the future.

And if I need to, I know I can just pick up the phone and the helpline will be there for me. It’s so reassuring.

You can help

Everyone living with lung disease should have access to the same help and advice I did.

With just one phone call, that nurse changed everything for me. I’m so grateful she was there for me when I needed her. Now, I want to make sure that everyone living with lung disease has access to the same help and advice I did.

That's why I’m asking people to send a gift to the British Lung Foundation this Christmas, so they can answer more calls from people who need help. 

Together, with your support, we can change this, so no one with lung disease has to go through it alone.

Help fund our support services: donate today


I’m lucky to have a community chest team who are lovely. But it still makes me feel very down. 

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8 November 2018