“Learning about L I F E was a lifeline for me,” said Brenda. “Tara noticed I was stressed about learning about my diagnosis and handed me a leaflet on L I F E and said they’d been running for a very long time and many patients had found them beneficial. She said it would be helpful for me to join as the members provide you with a lot of support and talk about their own lung disease experiences.
“I’ve learnt a lot by joining L I F E. Experts in lung disease come and talk to the group. On one day we actually heard from three professors. I want to be able to lead a good life so hearing from the experts has been great and it’s put me at ease, I feel less worried about it and much more confident.
“At one session a speaker came and spoke to us about writing your own eulogy. I thought this was a bit odd at first, but after listening to the speaker it made total sense. After all you don’t want to leave a stranger, or someone who doesn’t know your whole life journey well, to write about the special person who is you. I’ve already started working on this – it was great advice.
“Prior to learning about my lung disease I was quite active and was a belly dancer for over three decades. I started to notice that I felt tired and couldn’t do all the things I used to, I just thought it was because of my age. However, I’ve since learnt that the tiredness is caused by the lack of oxygen to my lungs. I still belly dance, but have slowed things down quite a bit.
“The L I F E members meet once a month. Anyone out there who is struggling and has a lung disease should come along. There’s great friendship and support and you get to talk to people who know exactly what you’re going through – it’s like having another family.”
Bronchiectasis is a long-term condition in which the airways in the lungs are damaged, causing the airways to become permanently widened and susceptible to frequent infection.