My name is Russell Winwood, I was born in 1966 in Brisbane, Australia. I’ve had a good life thus far but have had a few health issues along the way. I decided to take to blogging to share my experiences with other people in the hope that it can help others with similar health issues.
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was young, but managed to have an active childhood playing sports and doing what most kids do. In my late teens I started smoking socially, I’m not sure why as I knew it was bad for me but continue to be a social smoker until I was 36.
Christmas Day 2002 I collapsed , too many years of not looking after myself had caught up with me in the form of a stroke. Time to change my habits , I gave up the cigarettes ,cut down drinking alcohol and started eating better, at the time of my stroke I was 88 kg about 15 kg over weight . My son had just started cycling and talked me into taking it up, best thing I ever did . The weight started coming off and I started feeling like a 36 year old should.
A friend of mine suggested I should do a triathlon, and after a little hesitation because I wasn’t a great swimmer I agreed. So for the next eight years I competed in varying distances of triathlons from sprint to Half Ironman as well as a couple of ultra marathons.
In 2011 after noticing my training times were getting slower, exercise was getting harder and I was constantly short of breath, I took myself off to the Doctors. Spirometry and lung function tests confirmed I had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with a FEV 1 <30% of predicted. That basically means my lungs are operating between 22-30% of there predicted capacity. I was told that I would possibly need a double lung transplant at some stage in the future. Surprisingly the scan showed that there was no damage to my lungs from smoking. My airways had become very narrow due to years of chest infections, causing a build up of scar tissue.
In May 2012, six months after diagnosis I completed my first Full Ironman event, hopefully my blogs will give some insight on the benefits exercising has had in combating COPD and respiratory disease in general.