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Respiratory Health 2019

Living with emphysema: the story of Con Power

iStock / Getty Images Plus / sergio_kumer

Captain Con Power

Ex-International Showjumper and Emphysema Patient

Ex-international showjumper, 66-year-old Con Power, led an active life, but his 40-a-day habit finally caught up with him and he faced an unhappy diagnosis.

Con Power led an active life, surrounded by the Irish hills of County Meath. Each morning he climbed up and down the hills attending to his four horses but, seven years ago, he noticed himself struggling for breath. “I would always go down to muck out in the morning but be out of breath halfway back up the hill,” he said. “I knew I needed to get my lungs checked out.”

Con smoked two packets of cigarettes daily for 44 years, and spent most of his time in dusty stables. It was an interview for a radio station that prompted him to quit the cigarettes and go to the doctor about his shortness of breath. He said, “I sat in my car and had one last cigarette, and I’ve never smoked again since.”

When Con was told he had emphysema it was initially a shock, but the consultant was keen to stress that the condition can be managed. There have been some lifestyle changes, Con has given up competing and mucking out the horses although he still teaches. And he now enjoys a daily 20-minute walk in the morning to keep up his fitness. Most importantly, he never leaves the house without one of his inhalers.

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