Lung Foundation Australia sat down with Peter, who lives with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) to chat about his experience as a secondary peer in Lung Foundation Australia’s Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) Peer Connect service.
What is your connection with IPF?
I was diagnosed with IPF in 2016 by chance after I collapsed with no warning and broke my collarbone in the fall. Medical tests failed to reveal a cause for the sudden collapse, however a scar was revealed on my lung. After some appointments with a local lung specialist, he referred me to the Respiratory Ambulatory Care Clinic at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney which I now attend three times a year. Without the collapse, IPF may not have been discovered. I was prescribed Ofev medication for the condition and participated in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program twice a week for two months. This was to teach the necessity of exercise and also provided some lectures on understanding the complaint as well as practical ways to cope. There, I first heard about the Lung Foundation.
How were you first connected with the PF Peer Connect Service?
I feel I heard about peer support through one of your education seminars at North Ryde and someone from the Lung Foundation gave me a call to discuss the Peer Connect service.
Was there a reason you wanted to connect with the PF Peer Connect service?
I’ve learned through my work that if you’ve got someone to run with, it encourages you to persevere in what you’re supposed to do. You hold each other up to it.
What has your experience been with the PF Peer Connect service so far?
What I like about it is, you’ve made a good match. I think it’s good to get in touch with someone and we have great conversations. I must say it does encourage me to keep on track. It’s like a checkpoint in a way. That’s why we’ve be in contact.
What do you enjoy doing?
I retired in 2018 and have enjoyed traveling to Europe and the Middle East. I also play golf each week and try to read often and enjoy a few nights away here and there. I also enjoy meeting people and going out for meals.
What do you like to do to take time for yourself?
I try to walk every day to increase my exercise, although my knee injury can limit this. I find I can get tired which may be a side effect of medications – I found some useful information on side effects in the Life with PF resource. I also like to make sure I wind down at the end of each day.
What motivates you every day?
As a Catholic Bishop, my faith, prayer, and the exercise of a limited parish ministry motivates me.
What would you say to someone who is interested in connecting with Peer Support?
I would recommend it. It’s a very important thing to do. If I was more isolated in my own life and didn’t have someone like my peer to talk to from time to time, I feel I’d be worse off.
For more information about Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Lungs in Action classes, please click here.
To access the Life with Pulmonary Fibrosis resource, click here.