How Breathe Easy singing groups have helped me to look after my lungs during the pandemic
Anthea has lived with Bronchiectasis for most of her life. She shares her story and describes how she has learnt to love her lungs throughout the pandemic by participating in virtual singing sessions with her Breathe Easy group.
I have always had a bit of a cough since I was a very small child. I suffered from Pneumonia and Pleurisy twice, the second time, aged six in 1945, I also developed Whooping Cough. Ever since then I have been diagnosed with Bronchitis at frequent intervals throughout my life.
I also have a physical disability that causes me problems, particularly when lying in bed. I can only lie on my left side, which makes my lungs get much wheezier.
I have always had a great love for singing
I trained as a teacher in the 1950’s, specialising in primary schools, and later worked in education with the National Dairy Council. I was a founding member of the institute for Health Promotion and Education, of which I am still a member to this day. I am also a founding member of Juliet Alvin’s Charity, Remedial Music and Music Therapy in Hospitals.
I have sung in choirs at varying levels, from soloist in school choirs, to bigger societies in Edinburgh, Lincolnshire, and Nottingham.
One day, in 2013, I lost my voice completely
There wasn’t any explanation why this had happened at the time. I was referred first to Charing Cross Hospital, then Hammersmith Hospital, and back to Charing Cross. No one could give me a diagnosis for the loss of my voice. The only explanation I was given was that it was ‘old age syndrome’.
After being passed on to more consultants across London, I eventually returned to Charing Cross where, about a year later, I was referred to the Respiratory Department, where I gained entry to their Breathe Easy Group and choir.
The Hospital Choir has been my saving grace
Through breathing exercises, that I still maintain to this day, I regained my speaking and eventually my singing voice. I was able to perform solos and sing harmonies once again. I have also found that the exercises help me to control my breathing and pain thresholds during physical examinations and minor operations.
During the past year's lockdowns, my breathing has become much worse, and I have difficulty maintaining good levels. However, participating in virtual singing sessions with my Charing Cross Breathe Easy Group once again, has uplifted my morale and helped me to look after my lungs in these tough times.
I always read and try to follow the advice promoted by the British Lung Foundation and my Breathe Easy singing group has been a huge comfort to me during the pandemic.
Do you enjoy singing and want to look after your lungs like Anthea?
Read our information about singing for lung health today!