Never start smoking

In this interview Frank tells us what it is like to live with COPD and fight it thanks to the love of his family. Frank, a grandfather of 7, was recently diagnosed, and he has a powerful message to share with the younger generation.

Hello Frank, could you introduce yourself in a few lines?

I am a married man with 4 grown up children & 7 grandchildren. I retired from my work 2 years ago due to my COPD. My wife works part time in the nearby town. I see my grandkids nearly every day which is brilliant (I love them to bits). My family all lives locally. There was 14 kids in my family, 1 of my brothers died last year (heart attack) so there are 4 boys & 9 girls left.

When was your COPD diagnosed?

After my heart attack I made an appoint to see a Respiratory Specialist and after MRI scan the specialist diagnosed me with COPD.

Has it been easy for you to cope with your condition? Has it changed something in your relationship with your family?

It is easy to cope with COPD, but can be very frustrating when I can't go for a walk or do jobs in the garden at home. My family understand my situation so nothing has changed.

What has been the most challenging thing you have had to go through because of this condition?

The most challenging thing is being out of breath easily when shopping or walking. I try to disguise the out of breath bit by pretending to be looking in shop windows to catch my breath.

As for today, what medication or treatment you think has worked best for you?

The medication I'm on is Uniphyllin 300mg, Esomeprazole 40mg, Atorvas 40mg, Symbicort 400.12, Spiriva Respimet. I have an appointment with my specialist next month to review my medication.

What practical advice could you give to other people who live with COPD on how to cope with it in everyday life?

Advise any young person in your family to NEVER NEVER start smoking. I know it might look cool to their friends but at the end of the day it's not. I would describe COPD as a blind illness, if you meet someone sitting in your car they might say your grand but in fact you’re not.

I would say to people to understand what COPD is, to explain the illness & what it does to people. I am only learning myself at the moment.


on 9/29/16

Hello Frank, like you I stopped working due to the COPD. I am on oxygen for 16 hours a day at home and have portable cylinders for when I go out. I find that walking with a mobility walker really helps with the breathing as the body seems to like the arms at that position. I get very frustrated with all the things I use to love and can no longer do such as singing, dancing and playing tennis and badminton. Can no longer do anything in the garden which I use to enjoy.  I think people with our condition could help young children a lot by going into schools and talking to kids about the dangers of smoking. I am sure that would impact better than any posters or pictures of damaged lungs. Hope you continue to enjoy life as best as possible. I like you thoroughly enjoy my grand children who help keep me young.

on 9/29/16

Hi Ruth,

Nice to hear from you, hope you are enjoying your grandkids every day as I do & there innocence is great, my youngest grandson calls me ganda (say it as you read it) it melts my heart when he say's it. I didn't get  to the oxygen yet but I suppose it is only a matter of time !. I visited my GP the other day with a chest infection & he gave me antibiotics (as usual) & steroids. While on the steroids I feel great but these are not for long term. I am due a visit to my consultant soon to review my meds & hopefully improving.

Until next time keep in touch,


on 9/30/16

Hi Frank, do not think for one minute that oxygen is your next step as some people with COPD do not need it. My own daughter also has COPD and is actually I would say worse than me at times but she does not have oxygen therapy. I think I have it due to Emphysema being my main problem which has left me with only 22% lung function whereas hers is caused mainly by Bronchitis. I am glad you love your grand children so much, the little ones are such a delight to have around aren't they? My youngest two are a boy of 4 and a little girl of 14 months they are the apple of my eye. I have other much older grand children as well.

Best wishes


on 2/23/18

Can you tell me how long you have had COPD please