I'm dancing again thanks to pulmonary rehabilitation

Inge Rau has a serious respiratory disease called COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that makes it hard to breathe. But to meet her you would never know it.  She credits pulmonary rehabilitation for making her life whole again and enabling her to continue doing all the things - including dancing.

I never smoked, but breathing problems run in my family so I’ve always made sure to take good care of myself - eating well and exercising. But there was a point not long ago when I began feeling very badly. I had trouble getting out of a chair and walking and I couldn’t even talk on the phone. My friend made me go see a doctor who sent me off the hospital there and then. It turned out my COPD was getting worse – in addition I had a lung infection and one of my lungs had collapsed.

After I got home from St. Paul’s Hospital, the doctor sent a respiratory therapist to see me, and she suggested I take a pulmonary rehabilitation course.  She told me exercise is really important for people living with breathing problems, like COPD.

Unfortunately, I was so short of breath I was afraid to exercise. But my doctors told me staying still will only make the problem worse. Pulmonary rehabilitation teaches you how to become fitter and more physically active safely and how to reduce breathlessness. Together with the right medicines, it helps you take control over your lung condition and live a more fulfilling life.

There was actually a long waiting list for the pulmonary rehabilitation course so it took me seven months to get in - but once I did, it was a godsend.

After the eight week program ended I didn’t want to stop! I learned how to pace myself and control my breathing properly – and I love the exercises, even when my muscle gets sore it feels good! Best of all, I’m dancing again!

I wish I had known about pulmonary rehabilitation years ago. I feel better — and happier today.

Photos above and right: COPD patient Inge Rau with physiotherapist Michelle Deneghan at St. Paul's Hospital pulmonary rehabiliation lab.

Page Last Updated: 18/07/2019