A keen gardener, diagnosed with aspergillosis

I am an 80 year old lady, new to this site but not to the British Lung Foundation. A life long asthmatic, I was also diagnosed with COPD. However, this diagnosis has recently been changed to bronchiectasis/asthma, with allergic broncho pulmonary aspergillosis.

I am used to living with breathing problems but this diagnosis has made me depressed as I am a very keen gardener, along with my lovely husband. We sometimes sit in our garden, (59 years married) and say, "This is our little bit of heaven" People say, " Get someone in to do the garden," but that isn't the point - it's my hobby and my pleasure. This diagnosis means that I cannot be near compost grass cuttings, even soil, so it seems I must spend the rest of my days watching tv or doing jigsaw puzzles. I have sent for some filter masks and am due to see my GP soon but is there any solution? At present I am on Fostair, two puffs twice daily plus Ventolin. Neither of these is very effective. I guess it has to be steroids but what a life! Count my blessings? I do that all the time.

9 Replies

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  • Hi maybe22, I am sorry about your diagnosis.....I was just wondering if you had a blood test or a skin test which showed the allergy.

    I had both tests and they were negative, but I am very careful when using compost now.

  • Thank you knitter. My diagnosis was by sputum test, blood test and CT SCAN. i think the sputum and blood tests show the allergy.

  • i too am a very keen gardener and have copd and asthma and cronic sinus.

    i have cut back on the watering of the garden now (my wife does it) as i know that when the soil gets wet it burns my nose.. i also dont go in the garden when it started raining..i wait for a bit then its ok.

    hope the masks work for.

  • Thank you. I think you have a good point. It's a good idea to 'time' when i go in the garden when there are less spores about. Will see how things go.

  • Hi May, in 2015 my sputum tested positive for Aspergillis twice. We had lots of pots in the garden with old and new compost in them and one day my husband went out, cleared out every pot and hosed down all the surfaces. Now he plants far less and I go nowhere near, while he's doing it. The Aspergillis hasn't returned in my sputum and I was told that it was just a once-off thing that required no treatment. But I'm very wary of soil now and avoid compost, grass cuttings etc. The thing that bothered me most was avoiding autumn leaves, as I really love waking on them. Sad as it is, it seems you will have to let someone else do the planting and gardening May. I understand how hard this must be for you and sympathise with your plight. But surely it's still okay to sit in the garden and enjoy it ? I certainly spend a lot of time sitting in mine. Hopefully someone with ABPA will be able to give you some helpful advice.

  • Thank you for your reply which gives me hope, especially as the aspergillis in your case, hasn't returned. yes, my husband can take over some of the gardening but I will keep away from the compost, grass cuttings etc. Yes i can still sit in the garden and enjoy it. it's still hard for me though, as I long to get 'stuck in'.

    All the best and thanks again.

  • may-be could you possibly have like a little cultivator on your patio or something similar so that you could bring on seedlings,small plants etc that would still give you that hands on approach and enjoyment of your garden.best wishes to you.

  • I have ABPA, also with asthma & bronchiectasis. When diagnosed at the Brompton, I was told it's impossible to avoid the fungus, as it's prevalent in so many environments, not just soil, e.g. dust, air con, trees. You could walk past someone else's front garden & breathe in the spores from their dead leaves. I wouldn't go rummaging in a compost heap, but that's about the extent of my avoidance 😊

  • Thank you Hanne62. Your comments are sensible and correct. Those fungal spores are everywhere so in a way, unavoidable. I have to live my life and apart from avoiding the obvious situations, ie. compost heaps, I have to get on with it.

    Thanks again for your post.

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