Courage, community and hope - Lynne's Story

Lynne Briscoe, living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

When your 10-year-old granddaughter throws her arms around you…

I had no idea, back in my 20s, that a devastating house fire would have such a lifelong impact on my health.

I was in shock, I guess and just stood there, looking around me, and breathing in that awful black smoke.”

At risk of lung collapse, I was rushed to hospital.

It wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). I'm 70 now. My oxygen-depleted lungs have played havoc with my health and my quality of life. I've been on oxygen for more than 10 years and was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. 

Being on oxygen 24 hours a day is pretty confronting.

I don't know how I would have coped without Paul, my amazing husband of 35 years by my side. 

When I started the Peer Leader volunteer training for the COPD support group I thought 'Lynne you're going to need to lead by example'. So, I bit the bullet and started some gentle exercising. It was just armchair exercises at first. I found it really challenging, but I've added more as I'm able. 

I hadn't showered or washed my hair alone for around five years. In fact I didn't do much at all. Even making a cup of tea was such an effort. Then one day, a while back I said to my husband, I think I'm going to shower myself today'.'He was shocked but so supportive. 

Now I'm doing a little cooking and have started going back to the shops. It's not easy but WOW! The exercise has made such a difference. 

When your 10-year-old grandaughter throws her arms around you and squeals how proud she is, it is so worth it. 

This Christmas I will be able to be more involved with my family and cook some things and help get things ready which I couldn’t do last year. My husband and daughter did it all.

I’m looking forward to being able to be a bit more active with my grandchildren which will be very special for me this year.

I truly feel that being involved with Lung Foundation Australia’s peer support network has given me my life back. I’m incredibly privileged to help encourage my group to do what they can to live their best life.

P.S. Your support for Lung Foundation Australia means the world to me, and to people throughout the country who are part of this amazing peer support network. If you can, I do hope you will support their Christmas appeal. 

Lynne’s story isn’t just about her struggles with breathing or the emotional challenges of lung disease. It’s about the uplifting power of finding the right support and connection.