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Sally's story

Martin Paul Spicer led an active life; he loved football and often went to Wembley.

He particularly enjoyed going to his son Tim's football matches and rarely missed a game.  Martin was also an excellent swimmer and enjoyed long walks on the beach. 

Martin was diagnosed with IPF in April 2010 at the age of 50, he passed away on the 2nd August 2012 aged 53. Martin first noticed something was wrong when he and his wife, Sally, were walking back from their beach hut on Bournemouth beach up a zigzag path. Sally explains:

“They're quite steep and Martin was really out of breath.  We put it down to his getting old, he had just turned 50 and we laughed and thought that must be it”.

But concerned, Martin decided to visit the doctor who examined his chest and immediately referred him to a specialist after he heard 'crackling' in the lungs.  The specialist diagnosed Martin with IPF after a lung biopsy and CT scan. 

At a regular check-up six months later an x-ray revealed a tumour on his left lung and Martin underwent an operation to remove the tumour and upper part of his left lung and he was sent home.  No other treatment was offered.  He returned to work full-time until the end of June 2012. The family were scared:

“We had never heard of IPF or anything like it.  We didn't know anything about it and weren't given any information.  We were just told, its terminal, there's no treatment or cure”.

Sally, who works as a marketing assistant, reduced her hours to part-time to be able to be at home with her husband after his lung removal operation. She describes:

“It was really hard on the family, when Martin was first diagnosed our daughter Emma was living abroad in Cyprus and expecting our first grandchild, Alfie.   I was overwhelmed by everything and the stress just took its toll”.

Shortly after Martin had his lung biopsy operation Sally suffered a mild heart attack, which caused the family even more distress. Sally explains that the only information they got was from some leaflets that were sent to them and the BLF website:

“The website was really helpful; we were able to find out more information about Martin's condition”.

Despite the information the family managed to get, they were still unable to come to terms with what was happening:

“I don't think we realised just how serious it was, we were really naïve in that sense.  It was all so quick; I think we all still thought he'd get better.  Perhaps if we'd known it would be so soon we'd have done things differently, that’s why I wanted to share my story; I want to help raise awareness about this devastating disease”.

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22 September 2013