COPD patient stories

Sandie Parter – COPD

I’m Sandie Parter. My ancestors come from the Darumbal tribe of Rockhampton and the Tanna, Ambrym and Lifou people from Vanuatu. Both sides of my family had a history of asthma and my beloved dad passed away from respiratory failure due to chronic asthma back in 2008. Even though he stopped smoking in his twenties,…

Jeannette Neil – COPD

At the age of 12 I had sinus problems. The advice I received from the doctor was to not drink milk and not to put my head under water as it may aggravate the symptoms. Many years later in my twenties I was breast feeding my first chid when I unexpectedly experienced my first asthma…

Teresa Watson – COPD

I started smoking at 10 years of age behind the bike sheds at school. At 12 years old I asked my mum if I could smoke, she obviously said a resounding ‘no’, but I replied ‘well I’m going do it behind your back anyway’. After that there was an understanding between me and mum that…

Mark Thatcher – COPD

My name is Mark and I live with COPD.  My message to others is to be careful in your workplace and protect yourself if you are working in an environment with occupational dusts and chemicals. I am only 53 years old. I was first diagnosed with COPD nine years ago when I was suffering severe…

Mike Watteau (COPD)

I quit smoking 20 years ago but unfortunately I still live with the consequences.  I was diagnosed with emphysema and chronic bronchitis three years after quitting and, at last count, I have had over 30 visits to hospitals with exacerbations during this time.  My COPD continued to progress over the years until in the last…

John Ruttle (COPD)

For as long as I can remember, I have had Asthma.  I am now 70 years old and living with COPD.  I was first diagnosed with Bronchitis 15 years ago.  Then three years later I was diagnosed with Emphysema and two years later, further diagnosed with COPD.   At the time I was given two years…

Mary Kirkwood

Hi, my name is Mary. I would like to share my story about how COPD changed my life for the better. I am 56 years old, divorced and a mother of three. Until recently, the only time I had ever been in hospital was when I was having my children, 27 years ago.  Having said…

Ian Garvie

Ian’s Story: I started smoking when I was twelve or thirteen and I smoked for forty years. I can honestly say I enjoyed every cigarette.  Despite smoking, I lived a very active lifestyle and participated in various sports always celebrating a victory (or loss) with a cigarette and a drink or two. Throughout my forty…

Norman Smythe

Use the incredible power of your mind to quit smoking Norman Smythe used to smoke. Then one day he decided to quit and, remarkably, he quit overnight.  “I sat myself down one day and put all my cards on the table. I drew a picture of two roads – a dirt road and a bitumen…

Patricia Smareglia

Exercise can have life changing impact for people with chronic lung conditions.  Ask your GP about referring you to see an exercise professional who specialise in chronic lung disease.  Patricia tells us about her experience…. My name is Patricia Smareglia and I have been coming to the QUT Health Clinic for over three years for…

Ken’s Story

My name is Gina and I have been married to Ken for 35 years.  We live in the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne with two cats, chickens and finches (we have no children).  I have never voluntarily smoked, but I’d been a passive smoker for 25 years living with Ken, and 15 years working in…

Norma’s story

As a carer for my COPD suffering husband I didn’t know whether his disease or his change in mental attitude was more concerning. I needed help as I was unable to cope with the anger I saw in my very gentle husband. Firstly I spoke to our GP and following a joint consultation he listened…

Roy Martin

  My name is Roy Martin; I am nearly 55 years old and live in Plumpton, an outer western suburb of Sydneywith my wife Debbie and our two teenage children Lauren (18) and Daniel (17).  Fortunately I am still in reasonably good health which enables me to work full time in a purchasing position. I…

Sue Summerhayes

THE CARER’S VIEW OF ‘LUNGS OF STEEL’ ARE NOW ‘LUNGS OF MUSH’   In an earlier story Darryl wrote of his problems in coping with COPD. His wife Sue has now provided us with a full time Carer’s view of living with a COPD sufferer and how she feels that both Darryl and herself are…

Virginia Harrison

MY STORY Struck down with COPD at the age of 14, Virginia has coped with health problems for many years but still enjoys life. She has been an active member of the ‘Better Breathers Group’ in Rosebud, Victoria, for over two years and is a good example of a strong spirit overcoming indifferent health. My…

Frances Merson

KNOWLEDGE IS THE KEY says Frances, an 80 year old War Widow who has lived at Mornington on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria since 2002. She writes: I have a very supportive son and daughter also living in Mornington. I was a smoker of 20 cigarettes say from  the age of 15 to 50 when I…

Jo Ventura

MY JOURNEY THROUGH OLD AGE WITH COPD   Recently bereaved 80 year old Joe lives on the Central Coast of NSW, and describes how he finally came to cope with this debilitating condition: I was diagnosed with emphysema a long time ago. The doctor told me if I valued my health I should stop smoking…

Kenneth Hodgson

SMOKING LED TO COPD   Kenneth of Bateau Bay, NSW, started smoking when he spent three years serving with the British Army in Germany. He describes how this led to COPD and also offers some positive, practical advice to COPD sufferers: My time spent in the Army was the start of my going downhill with…

Barry Hyland

A VETERAN’S CAUTIONARY TALE Barry was a former heavy smoker, and is now 67 years of age living in Windang NSW, with his wife Robyn, who is also his carer. I have been retired for 17 years and I am on a Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs pension. During my working life I served in the…

Barb Prime

MY LUNGS SAY ‘NO’ BUT KEEP SMILING A typical tale of a smoker who developed emphysema and then COPD, Barb’s story is one of slow decline until oxygen has become part of her daily life.  This is my story. My name is Barb Prime and I am 61 years old, diagnosed with emphysema in 1991.…

John Baddock

TRY TO RETAIN A REALISTIC BUT POSITIVE OUTLOOK Even if smoking does not kill immediately the long-term effects mean an inexorable decline in health.  Having been a veteran smoker John was finally diagnosed with COPD. He is now a keen participant in self help breathing groups and urges others afflicted with COPD not to give…

Margaret Devine

MARGARET’S WORRYING STORY   Margaret is 72 years old and she lives with her husband in Primbee, on the South Coast of NSW and talks earnestly of her now limited future following the diagnosis of COPD.  I am independent with all my self care and am not a carer for anyone. I have had various…

Daryl Rogers

SMOKING WAS NOT THE ONLY CAUSE The combination of tobacco smoke, agricultural fertilisers, dust and industrial chemicals can be a deadly combination as Daryl found out when he was told he had emphysema. His approach to his condition is to ‘make the most of what you have, and make my lungs work’. Hi, I am…

Mary Clement

A LIGHT SMOKER’S TALE Mary, now aged 75 lives at Oak Flats, NSW. Although only a light smoker for 20 years, she acquired COPD with its associated limitations on life style. My occupation was Telephonist at the Wollongong Telephone Exchange for several years. I have been married for 53 years to my husband Keith. I…

Megan Rushton

(Carer) MY FRIEND PHYL: ALWAYS THE LADY My friendship with Phyl began some forty years ago when I started my first job as a legal secretary in a Sydney city law firm.  In those days Phyl was already the most senior of secretaries in the firm, working for one of the two senior partners.  She…

Trish Miller

I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG How many COPD sufferers have said “I knew something was wrong?” Diagnosed with COPD, Alpha 1 – Anti-Trypsin Deficiency and GORD changed Trish’s life. But from being absolutely shattered in 2002 and being unable to do even basic chores, through a series of remarkable medical interventions, she has been able to…

Jeanette Rogers

LIFE AS A CARER Jeanette is the wife and carer of former farmer Daryl who was diagnosed with emphysema in 1997 and told he would no longer work. The realization that life would not be the same after this diagnosis is vividly retold by Jeanette. After hearing the diagnosis I felt our world was ending.…

Dinah Taylor

HOW DO I LIVE WITH COPD? Dinah’s story is typical of the many ex-smokers who contracted COPD. She describes her journey to diagnosis and then how she copes with the trials of everyday life. Like many other sufferers Dinah has found reassurance and support by joining her local self-help Breath Easy group. Hello my name…

Darryl Summerhayes

LUNGS OF STEEL ARE NOW LUNGS OF MUSH Too often thought of as a condition that only affects the elderly, Darryl found out that a diagnosis of chronic asthma, COPD and Vocal Chord Dysfunction was to dramatically change his lifestyle. Now 55 years old he has successfully adapted to the necessary changes to his lifestyle.My…

Hayden Ventura-Chase

(Carer) BEING A CARER FOR MY GRANDFATHER Hayden Ventura-Chase is only aged 19 but acts as a carer for his elderly grandfather Joe Ventura. To have the views of such a young carer provides a new and welcome perspective on the issues of caring for people suffering from COPD. In my experience as a carer so…

Chris Collins

WE CAN HAVE AN ENJOYABLE AND FULFILLING LIFE IN SPITE OF COPD Chris is a 74 year old retiree who lives on the NSW South Coast. A long term smoker, he acquired emphysema and tells of his hazardous journey since that diagnosis which led to a lung operation. He and his lovely wife Pat still…

Colette Beeston (nee Prause)

THE NEED FOR EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF COPD A common story among COPD sufferers is that for years they were unaware of their slowly deteriorating health. Collete is now 46 years old but was not diagnosed with COPD until 22 October 2009. Over the years I went to different Doctors about other health issues but never…

Bryan Clift

Hello! Bryan Clift is my name, the whole of my working life was spent in private enterprise toiling in manufacturing and consultancy, in both wholesale and retail fields until 1991 when I was diagnosed with severe angina followed by heart surgery, and the end to working in gainful employment. I was then in my 64th…