A Tribute to Lawrence Matz

Lawrence with his wife, GloriaOur dear friend, Lawence Matz, sadly lost his struggle with Pulmonary Fibrosis in the early hours of Wednesday, 17th August 2011.

A month ago, we had asked him to provide us with an article, ‘A Day In The Life Of Lawrence Matz’ for our summer newsletter and, as a sincere tribute to Lawrence and all that he did for Breathing Matters, we attach his story here. 

My name is Lawrence Matz and I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in October 2009. Since then, I also now have Scleroderma, Pulmonary Hypertension and Sleep Apnoea.

I was quite stable for the first 15 months, but this year I’ve gone rapidly downhill.  I’m blessed with a wonderful family, especially my wife Gloria, and the most amazing friends.  My fantastic Consultant, Dr Joanna Porter, who is now also my friend, has also made this journey easier to deal with.

A typical day for me at the moment would be to get up about 7.30am and head off to the bathroom to shave and brush my teeth….that takes a lot out of me even though I’m on oxygen 24/7. Then it’s into the shower. Gloria won’t allow me to go alone and she washes and dries me and then helps me to get dressed … sounds fun, but I wish I could do it alone … if you know what I mean.  All this, even though assisted, knocks the stuffing out of me and my sats can go down to about 65 even with the oxygen …not easy!

I then go down to my car with my portable oxygen tank and at least one spare (again, if I’m feeling too breathless, Gloria will come down with me).  The lift is right outside my door and it takes me to the underground car park where my car is in the closest bay to the door.  I’m always breathing a lot heavier by this time but, once I’m 10 minutes into my journey, my sats come back up to about 93-96.

I only work about 3 days a week at the moment.  I am usually at the hospital for some test or another one day a week.  I try and relax on the other days.  I also still try and play golf once a week in my buggy with oxygen attached … the oxygen only comes off for the shot and then it’s straight back on.  I still go out for dinner or lunch a couple of times a week as that is one of my great pleasures.

Daily life is very frustrating at the moment, but my attitude is ‘onwards and upwards‘ – one has to be positive.  Between Gloria and Dr Jo, I’m in wonderful hands and they certainly help me to keep positive.

Next week, I’m off to Papworth for a lung transplant assessment as that’s my only hope of survival … I’m staying focused and positive, and maybe the next time you hear from me, I’ll be running a mini marathon …

Sadly, this was not to be.    Lawrence was accepted on to the lung transplant list, but a donor lung was not available in time.

We will miss you, Lawrence.