Sharing my COPD Journey!
For those of you who don’t know me, I’d like to use my first article for COPD.net to introduce myself and how I arrived at this point.
Over 7 years ago I was diagnosed with severe COPD
My FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in the first second is the FEV1) was as low as 22%. I was only 45 years old and couldn’t believe my health had spiralled so badly out of control.
I chose to fight
I had two options, I could sit in the corner and let COPD devour me or I could come out and fight! I chose to fight. Exercise has come and gone out of my life since childhood, but I knew it was a way of strengthening and conditioning the body. I knew that it worked for healthy people, so would it work for someone with lung disease?
It a nutshell, yes. Since my diagnosis, I have completed, very slowly, 3 Ironman events and many marathons. I have conditioned my body to be able to function with limited lung capacity. Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t been easy and has taken years of training to achieve what I have.
The events I have done have two purposes, one is to raise awareness of COPD and the other is to raise funds for research into lung disease. So far, I have managed to raise close to $60,000 for lung disease charities.
Exercise is just one piece of the puzzle
Please don’t think I’m encouraging everyone to go out and run marathons. Marathons are very hard on the body. I do them as I enjoy the challenge. The message I share with my fellow patients is that exercise is good for COPD patients but is just one piece of the puzzle.
In 2012 I started a blog called COPD Athlete where I share my experiences in the hope it may help other patients. Since the beginning of COPDAthlete, I have written hundreds of articles on my site as well as other sites. In 2017 I started a podcast series where I interview experts and healthcare professionals on different topics relating to respiratory disease.
I live my life on four pillars
While exercise has been a significant part of my rehabilitation, I don’t believe it is the most important. In 2016 I wrote an article for the European Medical Journal titled "The Four Pillars of Living Well with COPD." In this article I talk about the importance of incorporating knowledge, medication, nutrition and exercise as the pillars I live my life by. Many patients have asked me how can you run marathons when you have severe COPD? My answer is the four pillars.
I'm excited to join this community
I feel privileged to be invited into the COPD.net community and I hope my articles will in some way help in your everyday challenge of breathing. I will be discussing everything from the four pillars to the psychological battles COPD patients know all too well.
Feel free to comment and give me feedback as I believe that to become a better writer, it’s important to take on the views of others. If there are topics you would like to see discussed, fire away as I’m here to learn from you as well.
How do you stay active with COPD? Share your tips here!
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