My Grandfather’s COPD Diagnosis

COPD real life story Image by Pasja1000 at Pixabay

My advice

Don't keep your fears bottled up within yourself. Keep communication open, voice your fears, seek support for the person diagnosed and for yourself and family.

My recommendations

NICHS "Breathing Better" Group

British Lung Foundation

COPD Foundation


 My story

I always had my doctor's letters arrive at my grandparents' home as I visited often. When I saw an open letter in their kitchen I began reading it without checking who it was addressed to - stupidly.

"CONFIRMATION OF DIAGNOSIS: COPD" I read.

COPD?! Isn't that the lung problem with no cure? I realised it was my grandfather's letter, set it down, and walked away.
I was terrified and I couldn't tell anyone what I had found. I started researching the condition and the diagnosis. I didn't realise how intense it was, or that they had probably been keeping it from me for longer than a month. I was so afraid. I didn't know what to do. I didn't even want to tell my friends. I've always been an anxious person but my anxiety went to new levels.

Eventually, my 68 year old, 20-a-day smoking grandfather stopped me and asked what was going on. I told him I had read his letter and he nodded. I told him my fears and how I didn't want to lose him to cigarettes or to an incurable lung condition. We got in contact with the COPD Foundation and Northern Ireland's Chest Heart & Stroke "Breathing Better" Group so my grandfather could join a support network.

He's off the cigarettes now, and he's as healthy as can be.

My grandfather isn't suffering with COPD; he's living with it.