For Michelle, research means being able to control the progression of lung disease, and hope of a better quality of life.
Michelle, a 55-year-old sales and marketing manager, describes herself as a very lucky wife and mother of three wonderful, a adult children and three chihuahuas – a healthy, active, and sporting family.
But from birth, Michelle battled eczema, chronic asthma, recurring pneumonia, and various chest infections that often led to hospitalisation. In 2008, when her condition worsened with no response to medication, she knew something wasn’t right.
“I suffered a dramatic weight loss for my small frame in a very short space of time, plus chronic fatigue and rib/back pain, massive night sweats, weakness and a debilitating shortness of breath just walking around home.
“Being unable to complete normal daily activities with three young children was very frustrating and upsetting. No one could give me an answer or reasoning.”
But Michelle insisted on further testing and, after many months, she was diagnosed with bronchiectasis and Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC). The diagnosis brought relief after so many years with no answers.
Despite heavy treatment over 18 months, there was no change in the MAC infection and Michelle was left with no choice but to have surgery to remove part of her lung and, shortly after, a full hysterectomy.
“I knew that my lung health and life quality would continue to decline with no cure or reversal. The most difficult thing was telling my husband, family, close friends, and children, who were early teens. I could see how this worried them and I didn’t have all the answers.”
While the prevalence of bronchiectasis continues to increase worldwide, there are still so many unknowns about diagnosing and treating the debilitating condition, and there is no cure. But data collected through Lung Foundation Australia’s Australian Bronchiectasis Registry is supporting ground-breaking research projects to help create a clearer picture and provide hope for people like Michelle.
“I know only too well what funds can do for not-for profit organisations,” Michelle said.
“Research brings clarity for patients and doctors in diagnosing, treating, and stabilising the effects of lung conditions, which in turn improves life quality.
“My future hope is that we all better understand the symptoms and cause so that we can reduce lung disease numbers and increase awareness.”
Research saves lives and gives hope for a cure.
Give hope. Give to research today.
About the Australian Bronchiectasis Registry
Lung Foundation Australia’s Australian Bronchiectasis Registry (ABR) systematically collects data on people diagnosed with bronchiectasis, currently 1,380+ adults and children, to provide researchers around the world a critical source of rich data to fuel their studies. The ABR is nationally and internationally recognised for contributing data to a number of ground-breaking research projects. However, in order to continue this important body of work, funding support is needed. Find out more about the ABR and how you can help give hope for a brighter future.