Tony's care story

Tony Lamb was diagnosed with COPD nine years ago and during that time his illness has taken its toll on his health and wellbeing. Last year Tony’s symptoms worsened after he caught Covid-19, and he was later diagnosed with stage 4 COPD after being in and out of hospital.  

It was a difficult time for Tony as he went from being an active gas fitter to struggling to simply drive to the local supermarket to do a weekly shop and as a result his mental health suffered.  Tony was referred to St Margaret’s Hospice for physiotherapy support and one of our physiotherapists, Amanda, worked with Tony to help him to find ways to better manage his symptoms of breathlessness and pain and enhance his quality of life.   

“When my doctor first mentioned St Margaret’s Hospice I thought, oh no, its bad news and I’m on my way out,” Tony said.  

“In the last year I’ve been feeling quite depressed as I’ve been feeling so unwell and out of control of my life so I thought I should give it a go, anything if it could help me feel better.  

“It didn’t take long for my worries to melt away! I spoke to Amanda and she arranged for me to come in to the Sunflower Centre and  and it’s honestly been completely different to what I expected.

“As well as daily struggles to go to the supermarket or take a short walk I hadn’t seen my family in around 3 years due to Covid and as soon as restrictions were lifted, I had assumed I would be able to visit. But by the time I visited the Sunflower Centre I was quite resigned to the fact it was a trip I wouldn’t be able to make.   

“On one of my visits I mentioned that I’d love to make the trip and so they made that my goal. The staff and volunteers in the Sunflower Centre focused on rebuilding my confidence while Amanda gave me some exercises to get some strength back into my legs and control my breathlessness. And after just a few weeks my wife could see the difference and so we set a date!  

“The trip up to Essex was the best trip I’d ever had! My fear had been that we’d have to stop at every service station, and it would take all day but actually the exercises and the advice they had given meant I took the trip slowly but surely and only stopped once! It was wonderful seeing the family and feeling like I had my freedom back again. It may only be a 4-hour drive for most people but for me it had felt insurmountable. I felt like I had my life back. 

As well as the practical advice and support received at the Sunflower Centre Tony also had some complementary therapy which helped him to relax, helping with the physical pain and emotional toil his illness had been taking. 

“The team were also wonderful at explaining how I could plan for the future, understanding that my making decisions or letting people know my wishes it was a way of me having control of my life again. 

“The team at St Margaret’s have helped me to look at life in a different way. I used to be so depressed about my condition, but all the advice, the support, it made me realise I wasn’t alone and that I could take back some control. 

“With Amanda’s physio techniques I’ve learnt to take every day as it comes, taking the pressure off that I have to be 100% every day and learning which exercises help me on my bad days. 

Laura from the Complementary Therapy team was amazing; she gave me a massage every week and I left feeling like a new person. Laura was so attentive; she asked where I had been struggling with pain and worked on that area, so I left feeling much better. When I’m truly relaxed like I am when I am with Laura, my breathing just settles, it’s amazing.  

“I was so worried for the future and what it meant that I had forgotten to live, now I’ve learnt to relax. I can’t thank the team enough I feel like a new person, I feel like I’ve been given extra time because I’m more me and able to enjoy my days rather than worrying about the days to come.” 

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