Natalie Williams 38 Years Old
I have always been healthy and fit doing regular exercise and eating healthy. I have mild asthma which has always been controlled. 18 months ago I took really ill and was diagnosed with a windpipe infection. After recovering from the infection I seemed to have a continuous cough. I then started to get chest infections which triggered my asthma off. I was in and out of the doctors with regular prescriptions of antibiotics and steroid tablets. I have spent 18 months having chest infections resulting in regular time off work. Which is something I have never had. I am a college lecturer which involves lots of talking and I am active all day. I had to start reducing my lectures down as I was struggling to talk and breath.
My doctor was great and sent me for lots of test to try and see what was wrong. She started to consider Bronchiectasis but needed confirmation from a specialist. She referred me to the hospital and I was put on the very long waiting list. After a while I was so fed up with being ill and feeling so terrible I decided to pay to see the specialist. I was seen straight away and after 2 sessions costing me £300 I was diagnosed with uncontrolled asthma and my asthma treatment changed.
Following this appointment I continued to get chest infections and each time they were getting worse. I often ended up in bed for days. My doctor suggested I revisit the specialist but I couldn’t afford to pay again so again was put on the 18 week waiting list. However, at this point I was so poorly that my doctor contacted them and I was seen. This time the doctor suggested I go for a CT scan. He was still convinced I didn’t have Bronchiectasis as I was young for the illness and had no history of whooping cough or such illnesses as a child.
Finally after 18 months of illness, the CT scan confirmed that I had Bronchiectasis! It was a strange appointment really as I was so relieved to finally know what was up but I was upset that I had this illness now forever and I am only 38. Following the appointment I was really positive as the doctor said we can work with the illness and I can live with it no problem. However, nothing really happened which was really frustrating. I continued to get sick. I then got put on a waiting list for the physiotherapy!
I met with the physiotherapist and he gave me two options, I could visit him twice a week for treatment or I could visit him and actually go into the gym with him and try to get fitter and strengthen my chest. He believed that health and fitness were a key factor in controlling my Bronchiectasis. I have now been visiting him for 2 weeks and already I have tripled my times on the machines. I am feeling much fitter, more positive and more importantly I have been infection free for nearly a month which is promising. I am now about to start increasing my exercise and fitness. So it is really stages but I just pray that I am starting to control the Bronchiectasis and get my life back.