May 8, 2017

Lungs in Action substantially improved my quality of life

 Emma Gainer, Program Manager – Lungs in Action,  Lung Foundation Australia

In this edition, we talk to Brisbane resident Meredith who was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in her 50’s and the path she has taken to improve and manage her health, as well as her new role volunteering at Lung Foundation Australia. Meredith enrolled in pulmonary rehabilitation after hearing about the health benefits from her respiratory physician and care management nurse.

What motivated you to start pulmonary rehabilitation? I wanted to improve my breathing and learn to manage my COPD better as well as helping with my weight loss.

What motivated you to do Lungs in Action once you completed the program? After completing pulmonary rehabilitation, my quality of life improved substantially. My breathing improved and I lost 10 kilograms. I believed Lungs in Action was an absolute must as I had so much benefit from the initial exercise.

What are the motivating factors for attending each week? I love the fact that I can push myself in a safe environment. The group that I am part of is lovely with people of various ages and lung conditions. The instructor is great and like the pulmonary rehabilitation coordinators, he is very aware of our lung conditions and differing abilities.Previously I would avoid walking up hills at any cost and now I feel confident to take on and attack hills as well as to go on long walks.

What does your week look like in terms of your overall exercise regime? I now walk three to five kilometres every day, including a hill and two flights of stairs which I can now run up and down. I attend Lungs in Action twice a week and I also do at least one day of my home exercise program.

Do you have any words of support or wisdom for people thinking about starting pulmonary rehabilitation and Lungs in Action? It’s amazing how much better I feel. Pulmonary rehabilitation gave me the confidence to manage my COPD better and to enjoy exercising again. To me, Lungs in Action is an extension of pulmonary rehabilitation, and a must. You will benefit from both.

Who have been the support people in helping you manage you lung condition? I have an amazing support network including my respiratory physician, general practitioner, care management nurse, and family.

How did you get involved in being a volunteer with Lung Foundation Australia? After completing pulmonary rehabilitation, I wanted to find out as much about COPD as possible and I contacted the Lung Foundation. I realised there was a need to help encourage others to do pulmonary rehabilitation and Lungs in Action. I feel as a volunteer I can help spread the word, and help out in any way that I can.

What is involved in your role? I have recently become involved in Lung Foundation Australia’s COPD Patient Advocate Group (CPAG) which aims to raise awareness of COPD and lung disease and advocate for patients and carers at a local level. I also go into the Lung Foundation office two days a week assisting with administrative work.

What do you like best about being involved with the Foundation? I’m learning more about COPD and the staff are also lovely, so friendly and so very supportive.

If you would like follow Meredith’s positive approach and better manage your lung condition, call Lung Foundation Australia’s Information and Support Centre on 1800 654 301 to find your nearest pulmonary rehabilitation and Lungs in Action programs.