British Lung Foundation
35,362 members42,733 posts

I'm surprised you're still working!

Saw my consultant on Monday. I knew I was stage 2, think the results were 54% or something like that. No real concerns, start PR next week.

During the "conversation", I do have a bit of a problem completing a longish sentence without stopping for a gasp of breath, he asked for my medications list. Pulling it out of my pocket I dropped my business cards. He (very kindly) bent and picked them up as I apologised for dropping them. He asked "Are you still working?" and was surprised when I said, "Yes, full time. I've called in on my way back home from a meeting with a client".

He couldn't get over that I still work - but I don't want to stop!

While ever I can crawl out of bed, shower & dress (albeit I need a while to recover from each task) I want to continue to work - am I wrong?

I guess I am extremely fortunate that my employer is brilliant - yesterday asked if I can sort an issue at a location about 60 miles away. Told him that I can't do it on Wednesday because I have a hospital appointment. His response? "Oh, fine. When you can, how is your health anyway?"

I enjoy the buzz, the meetings, the contact with colleagues just everything about it. Yes, it's embarrassing when I run out of air mid-sentence and when, a few weeks ago, someone said "Have you been out for a fag 'cause your breathing is really bad?" and I have to explain that I had a "bit of a chest problem!" [Stopped smoking 4th November 2011].

Is it wrong to want to work?

16 Replies

I was working part time before I was diagnosed with very severe emphysema and I'm still doing the same job and enjoying it. They'll have to carry me off before I'll stop ! :) If you can still work I say go for it.


Not at all. I am also Stage 2 and work for myself. In fact, I am working in Leeds the next 2 days and will be off there in a few minutes.

I have no intention if stopping and can do everything I need. I make some adjustments by telling people I need to use the lift rather than stairs etc. I have started to be much more honest in telling people I have lung problems.

Lynne xx


Yes I do this too - not explain all my problems but just ask politely if we can get the lift!


When I first saw a locum consultant re the transplant she seemed horrified that I was still working. I love it. I get to travel. My employer is v understanding and allows me to work from home if the weather is bad or more likely the office is full of people coughing and spluttering.

I sometimes get a little tired towards the end of the week but I think I'd go mad if I couldn't work.

More power to your elbow. It's vital that if you are fit and well enough that you carry on as long as possible - well I think so anyway.

Marie x


Couldn't agree more - working is one of the things that keeps me sane(ish).


Hi i think its good to work as long as possible, i dont work well not in the paid sense but i am a full time carer for my disabled son, although has to be said we care for eachother now!

I think having something to get up for each day makes alot of difference to how we cope with our illness so i would carry on for as long as you are able and lucky you to have such an understanding boss xx


I am stage 4 and worked full time until 18 months ago then part time until last summer. My consultant and nurse were amazed but I so enjoyed my job I had no intention of giving up until I could no longer physically manage. Good for you. x


If you feel you can do it then keep going. I hav'nt worked for over two years now as my breathing won't allow it, believe me It gets a little boreing . I still go back to the garage where I worked for 30 years to see the lads and wish I was still there. The one good thing that came of it is somebodyelse gained a job when I finished.


I run a business with my wife and I intend to go as long as I can. I could never work for anyone else as they would never put up with me stopping for my little rests between tasks, sometimes can take me 2 hours to shower and get dressed. If I never done this I think I would just give up and vegetate.


I am retired but sometimes (rarely if I am honest :) ) I wish I was still at work because it certainly gives you a purpose when you are not working it is so easy to just give in. I am of course only speaking for myself here and I need no excuse to be lazy but sometimes I can dream



It's good to realise that so many of you feel the same. I'll hit 60 later this year and the idea of retiring and then sitting round waiting to die just doesn't appeal.

The phone's been going constantly this morning, I started at 5:00am (don't sleep too well) and will leave soon for the hospital.

Able to work from home, attend head office about once a week and really look forward to the buzz of a busy office.

Guess when the time (eventually) comes to put me in a box I hope they remember to put the PC in as well - I might get to fire off one last email!

Great to hear all your thoughts - thanks for sharing.


I was still working when my FEV1 was around 30, in a sedentary job though. The longer you can carry on the better it will be for you in every respect - for me, the hardest part of this illness was having to eventually give up work. Keep the good work up! Libby


NO its not wrong - my husband is still working full time and his last FEV1 reading was 28! We are lucky sounds like a similar job to yours - but what the hell would he do at home all day!! If you can keep your job, keep going. Brilliant TAD xx


Good for you and long may you continue




Hi y not

Just took a look at your old posts. Didnt

realize you were an old timer on here. I thought you were new. I too still work. I clean a busy pediactrics office. Takes me about 4 hrs. a day. What a wonderful workout it is! Has your fev1 remained stable in the past 3 yrs.?

Rubyxx 😊


**Gulp** - I just checked my profile - Jan 2013. I didn't realise it was so long ago.

My COPD, arthritis & Psoriasis have all remained fairly constant over the past three years but, as you'll see from the posts, I was diagnosed with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) at the start of this year so, for me, things remain pretty good and I'm mostly upbeat about life.

Workwise, my employer (Recruitment business) know about my limited mobility so I work from home, visit sites all over the UK, get booked into disabled rooms in hotels (if I want them) or they pay the fuel for return journeys. I have regular hospital/doctors appointments which, because I am left to manage my time, I can attend then, if needed work later into the day to complete the work.

As employers go, they are really good but, unsurprisingly, they are VERY demanding of work output |(I work at computers most of the time) but they do pay fairly well - makes complaining very difficult (and I've worked for them for a dozen years so they can't be all bad).

The dog walking etc. is all intended to keep me fit enough to carry on working into my retirement (I've already had conversations about cutting my working week at some point in the future and they are happy to look at that as and when I broach the subject with them; see they really are that good!

Reading some of the posts reminds me how fortunate I am and, if I can help, advise or share stories that make others feel a little better then that makes posting worthwhile.

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and comment - much appreciated


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