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"I have no idea if I'm going to die next week"

BORROWED TIME: Shanay Skinley, 24, has stage-three emphysema. Stage four could come at any time, and she fears she wont live to see her 2-year-old daughter, Mia, grow up.
BORROWED TIME: Shanay Skinley, 24, has stage-three emphysema. Stage four could come at any time, and she fears she wont live to see her 2-year-old daughter, Mia, grow up. Patrick Woods

SHANAY Skinley is 24 years old, and no-one can say how long she has left to live.

The young Nambour mother is in the third stage of emphysema, and is warning smokers that just a few cigarettes a day is still deadly.

Both her lungs are affected, and any day she could deteriorate to stage four, when she will need an oxygen tank and a double lung transplant - if she can secure one.

There is no other treatment or cure for the disease.

"There's no stopping it, or helping it," Ms Skinley said.

 

Shanay Skinley, 24, has stage-three emphysema. Stage four could come at any time, and she fears she wont live to see her 2-year-old daughter Mia Skinley grow up.
Shanay Skinley, 24, has stage-three emphysema. Stage four could come at any time, and she fears she wont live to see her 2-year-old daughter Mia Skinley grow up. Patrick Woods

She had never heard of a young person with emphysema, and never thought it would happen to her so young.

"It spun me out, it completely took me by surprise," she said.

"It just makes me think how many people out there my age have it, or are getting it."

At first glance, Ms Skinley seems like a normal young woman.

 

Shanay Skinley, 24, has stage-three emphysema. Stage four could come at any time, and she fears she wont live to see her 2-year-old daughter Mia Skinley grow up.
Shanay Skinley, 24, has stage-three emphysema. Stage four could come at any time, and she fears she wont live to see her 2-year-old daughter Mia Skinley grow up. Patrick Woods

The emphysema makes her feel faint and short of breath, and comes with a constant croaking cough.

She wasn't diagnosed until last June, when she had scans for blood clots that formed as a side effect of the contraceptive pill.

"That's when they saw the air pockets in my lungs, and I was diagnosed with emphesyma," she said.

"I wasn't that heavy of a smoker. I smoked four to five cigarettes a day."

She said hearing from a real person with emphysema was a better deterrent to smoking than the graphic warnings on packaging, and she hoped sharing her story would keep others from making the same mistake.

"A lot of my friends have stopped smoking because of me," she said.

"I see all these people putting out a cigarette and lighting up another, and they're unaware of the damage that they're doing."

What scares her the most is missing out on her 2-year-old daughter Mia growing up.

"I'm absolutely scared as s***," she said.

"I have no idea if I'm going to die next week, if I'm going to see my daughter's future, if I'm going to see her graduate, if I'm going to see her turn 16, or any of these big milestone that are going to happen in her life.

"I don't want her to grow up not knowing who I am."

Topics:  editors picks emphysema health smoking


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