A new lease on life

Hilary Monton is feeling great again after treatment for emphysema.
Hilary Monton is feeling great again after treatment for emphysema.

Born in the 1940s, a big part of socialising was smoking, but in 1996 she was diagnosed with emphysema, a chronic pulmonary disease.

Although she did not lose her passion for life, the Yanchep resident contacted a lung specialist when the emphysema started to wear her down and she found she could no longer do things she loved.

The specialist recommended surgery to remove parts of her damaged lung which, along with a rehabilitation program and support from the Lung Institute of WA (LIWA), has her feeling healthy again.

‘I was out of hospital on a Monday or a Tuesday and two days later I was out shopping with my daughter and cooked dinner for a family of six,’ she said.

‘I was so lucky to have all my procedures turn out so well.’

After her diagnosis, Hilary’s health deteriorated to a point she realised her breathing was a disability, and everyday tasks like changing the bed linen and walking were great challenges.

The emotional effects of emphysema also put pressure on her lifestyle, preventing her from engaging in her social circle and leaving her feeling lonely.

‘Doing my housework, hanging out washing because that involves lifting stuff above your head, vacuuming, even something so simple as changing my bed linen proved difficult,’ she said.

‘But I think most of all, because I am quite the social butterfly, it stopped me from socialising.’

Making the most of the life extension she received, Hilary has volunteered at a local school, paints, reads and socialises with friends.

Grateful for LIWA’s support, she is encouraging others to volunteer for clinical trials on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The institute is currently trialling medication that may improve the health of those living with the disease. For more information, visit www.liwa.uwa. edu.au or call 9346 4649.