Lockyer Valley man Paul Palin had a lung transplant in March.
Lockyer Valley man Paul Palin had a lung transplant in March.

Well on road to recovery six months from lung transplant

AFTER a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and a lung transplant earlier this year, Paul Palin thought his days of showing dogs were over.

But just four months after his transplant, the 54-year-old engine driver and dog breeder was back in the show ring and keeping pace with one of his Brittanys.

The Lockyer Valley man worked with the transplant team at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane and the West Moreton Health Pulmonary Gym Rehabilitation team in Ipswich.

“Getting back into the show ring so soon was me proving to myself I could do it,” he said.

“You have to have that mindset.

“You have to be determined to get through the recovery phase and be able to take some of the setbacks.”

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After four years of coping with a worsening auto-immune disorder, Mr Palin is looking positively to the future with World Lung Day held on Friday.

“I suffered from IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis), which is a genetic disease,” he said.

“It attacks people in their late 40s and early 50s, as a lot of auto-immune diseases do.”

He was celebrating his 50th birthday in Hawaii four years ago when he first noticed a slight breathlessness while walking.

Mr Palin went to see a doctor when he returned to Australia and was referred to the Prince Charles Hospital.

When a transplant looked inevitable, he was referred closer to home for strength training at the West Moreton Health Pulmonary Rehabilitation Gym.

“One of the conditions of the transplant is that you have to have leg strength,” he said.

“I was on the bikes and treadmill to increase my strength and it worked.”

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The gym offers tailored workouts for people recovering from illnesses of the heart or lung or preparing for major heart or lung surgery.

The holistic approach to heart and lung health is available by GP referral.

By the time Mr Palin completed his final round of sessions on Christmas Eve last year, his lung capacity was at 40 per cent.

Just a week later, he was officially on the list for a lung transplant.

In March, Mr Palin was told there was a donor and the next day he got a new set of lungs.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but I was within weeks of not being a part of my family,” he said.

“Now everyone tells me how good I look.

“I feel good too, and I go to the doctor every six weeks rather than weekly.”

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.


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