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I think I turned my anger into something positive. I’m grateful to the course. It gave me back my confidence.

I’m not an invalid anymore. I have a condition that I have to find a way to manage, and I’m pleased with myself.Going to Co-creating Health was a very positive experience because here I was, a person who’d lived a pretty healthy life, walked a lot, so on and so forth, overweight, and I was absolutely furious when he diagnosed emphysema. I’ve never smoked and I shouldn’t have had it. When I came to Co-creating Health there were all these people who were very much worse than me. I wasn’t firing on so many cylinders. I was quite humbled by their way of coping and struggling.

They were such nice people. It was really nice to be with them. It galvanised me. I think I pulled myself out of a hole and decided that I was going to do it – like the lay tutor, she’d obviously taken charge of her illness, and I thought I can do that, I’m not a wimp. I thought I’m going to start up at the gym again; it had suited before. They gave me a programme – a gentle programme to start with which I built on and over the year I lost two and a half stone and it’s made a lot of difference. Well you’re carrying that around, if you think about picking up bricks or shopping bags or something. And also the other thing they said, which was terribly helpful, they said it’s perfectly healthy to puff. I go to the gym three times a week and I’ve kept my weight down. This was really something that was mobilised at Co-creating Health. I suppose it would have been helpful if the doctor had said, ‘I really think you’re jolly overweight, and it would help you to lose weight.’ Would I have listened? I don’t know.

I think I turned my anger into something positive. I’m grateful to the course. It gave me back my confidence. I think if I was diagnosing myself I think actually I was depressed. I was angry and depressed, and I think a lot of people there were depressed, you know, probably angry. I think I’m not an invalid anymore. I have a condition that I have to find a way to manage and I’m pleased with myself, chuffed actually is the word, that I’ve found a way to help it, and that was because of going to Co-creating Health with a little flick from the doctor.

I went on holiday to Albania with a friend and we climbed hills and went to look at Roman ruins. We went in a group. It was quite hard but we did what we felt we were able to do, and once or twice we said that we’re not going right up there and we stopped halfway up but, you know, I don’t feel I have to closet myself. If you were to categorise me for my age I’m pretty active really because I’m 80 you see. I think the most important thing about the self management programme was the fact that we all met and that we were a family and we got on very well together. You didn’t feel alone. It was a sort of warm encounter and people were able to talk about the condition and I think that’s positive.