Sean with a rugby ball

Actively choosing how to live with COPD - Sean's Story

Father of five, restaurateur and fitness fanatic Sean talks about how COPD has impacted his life and how he keeps up the exercise. 

“I was diagnosed with COPD nearly four years ago. I was an active runner and as I was training for one particular half marathon, I would experience this terrible wheezing.

Around the same time, I was playing in an indoor soccer team and found that I was needing to be subbed out as I simply couldn’t breathe. It didn’t make sense and I knew something was wrong.

Every doctor I saw would say ‘you’re way too healthy to be getting this sick’ – I quit smoking more than 20 years ago – but I was drastically losing weight and I seemed to be going further down hill.

But in 2012, I visited a lung specialist, who diagnosed me with COPD. My doctor worked with me to put together a plan to help control my symptoms.

Daily exercise has been a part of my life for a long time, and so I was determined to get back on my treadmill. It wasn’t long before I was able to run up to three miles.

Getting moving can be the hardest thing, but I strive to do 10 per cent more exercise than the previous day when I work out.

I’m a chef by trade and like to cook, so I look at food as medicine. I will go to the library and look up the maximum amount of protein and nutrients for someone with my body and my condition.

I think the biggest thing I’d tell others living with COPD is that if you do need to feel sorry for yourself, then give yourself 15 minutes and set the timer. When that 15 minutes is up, get up and do something.”