1 EAGLETON NOTES: Bronchiectasis

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Thursday, 5 June 2014

Bronchiectasis

Not very long ago a doctor asked me what the scar on my back was from. The answer was a the removal of half of my right lung when I was 16. I had suffered for several years from bronchiectasis. It's a very debilitating disease allowed to get a hold, in my case, by cross country running and playing football all winter when I had bronchitis. I went to a school where a note from your parents did not excuse you from any school physical activities.

The doctor seemed quite perplexed and made a rather odd remark but I didn't think anything more about it.  Until, that is, a few months ago when I was watching Seven Sharp a TVNZ programme akin to the UK's One Show when it showed this footage of Esther-Jordan Muriwai: a name which, until that moment, had meant nothing to me.

Today I was about to write my Thankful Thursday post and mention my bronchiectasis.  I decided to see how Esther-Jordan was.  I was taken aback to discover that she died yesterday - my birthday.  The  anniversary of our son, Andy's death and of the father of one of my closest friends.   


The TVNZ news article reads:

Inspiring young woman Esther Jordan Muriwai - Source: Te Karere

Young Māori woman’s legacy lives on

For 14 years Esther Jordan Muriwai was in and out of hospital battling a respiratory disease called bronchiectasis. Last night her battle came to a heart-rending end, she was 24. Having founded the Bronchiectasis Foundation and the Northland Bronchiectasis Support Group, Esther dreamed to help the few in NZ who are suffering from the same illness that took her life.

Until that programme made me look more closely at the disease I had lived for over 50 years in blissful ignorance of how near I had come to being in a similar situation.  I had worked in the hospital but until I saw that programme I had only come across one other person with the disease and he was operated on on the same day as I was.  He died a few days later.

I, on the other hand, have never had the slightest sign of any respiratory problems since I was discharged from hospital with a clean bill of health all those years ago.

Since the original programme I have become aware, however, of the extent of the disease in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands' communities.  I have also developed an admiration for the positive attitude and hard work that Esther-Jordan has put into bronchiectasis awareness and support to sufferers and their families.

I shall continue with my Thankful Thursday post separately but I shall also be thankful for the life and work and positive attitude that Esther-Jordan has brought to this world.

8 comments:

  1. What a brave lady to have fought so valiantly against this disease.....I too will always remember Esther thanks to this post of tribute to her life.

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    1. She was quite inspirational Virginia.

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  2. Happy Birthday, though it must be a very mixed day for you. I never realised how serious a disease it is. I am thankful that I've never had it. It is bad enough having a life threatening condition but being unable to spell it it would be the last straw.

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    1. I'm not sure, Adrian, that I can remember when I last had to spell it. It had been so lost in the annals of my memory that I actually had to Wiki it to find out exactly what it was. It came as quite a shock.

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  3. So sorry to hear that Esther has died, I missed that news. And how lucky were you that it was picked up when it was still operable!

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    1. It was an incredible coincidence Pauline. I feel so sad for her family. She was quite special.

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  4. I can well imagine those coincidences stirring up mixed memories and emotions, Graham. Perhaps just as well that until recently you remained ignorant of the seriousness of the condition. (?)

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    1. Yes Monica I think it really has been a case of ignorance is bliss.

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