Tuesday, January 31, 2006


The sea, shrouded by a thick haze
Beats an uneven cadence on the shore.

Water tumbles over itself, anxious to erase the still-fresh footprints of the seagulls.
Sea breezes toss the salty spray upward
As breaking waves continue.

Forever moving forward.
Forever pulling back.

The rolling waves chant a monotonous, lulling song.
A lullaby of a whisper.

Each wave is its own shape
Its own length
Its own beauty.
Forever moving in.
Forever moving out.
A lullaby of a whisper.

I see myself reflected in the character of these waves.
Yet consistently so.

I hurry toward the shore.
Only to find myself pulled back again.
My soul hears your voice in a monotonous, lulling song.

“Rest here with me.”

Your lullaby of a whisper comforts me.
As the haze around my heart lifts
I sense that it is your love that is burning the haze away.
My heart pulses a love song to you.

In you I put my hope.
In you I put my hope.

Psalm 33:7-8

Monday, January 30, 2006

Slow Progress

"Did not I direct thee the way to the little Wicketgate?"

"Yes, dear Sir," said Christian.

"How is it then that thou art so quickly turned aside? For thou art now out of the way."

"I met with a Gentleman so soon as I had got over the Slough of Despond, who pursuaded me that I might...find a man that could take off my burden."

--From John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"

Not unlike Christian in the Classic allegory, I have felt myself trudging through the Slough of Despond lately. And, just as Christian is informed by Help, I know that it is not the Maker's desire that the Slough should even exist. However, just because I am one of God's beloved children, does not mean that I do not get to escape the perils and trials of this fallen world in which I live.

Right now I find myself looking at the steep slopes of the "Hill of Difficulty". My heart is filled with trepidation as I realize that there are no shortcuts. There are no easy outs. Yet even in those moments where my heart catches in my throat and my stomach starts to sink, I am comforted to know that the same One who enables the deer to scale the heights (as the Psalmist says) is the same One who who be my ever-present strength in times of trouble.

Trouble comes in many forms. For me it often manifests itself as a battle not only against my physical health, but my emotional stability as well. My physical resources and stamina are not that far removed from my spiritual/emotional stamina. When one suffers, they both suffer.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by a tremendous support system made up of my family, friends, doctors and even co-workers who genuinely want what is best for me. On the days when I am too mired in the Slough of Despond to keep my eyes focused on the light that lies beyond yonder Wicketgate, God sends me help in any variety of forms. For this I am grateful.

Right now my progress is slow (spiritually and emotionally speaking), but I am moving forward. Each day is a pilgrimage for me, and a challenging one at that. This pilgrimage gives me purpose, for it is only in serving something or Someone greater than myself that I find meaning and happiness in life; it's just not always an instantaneous thing.

Current mood: listless
Current snack: glass of milk
Emotional weather: overcast
Health-o-meter: 40% of emotional baseline, 80% of physical baseline

Saturday, January 28, 2006

He Must Love Me

Trouble is part of your life, and if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you enough chance to love you enough.

--Dinah Shore

I've spent the better part of the afternoon and evening contemplating my navel. Some days I really get quite down about having CF, and it seems like my depressive mood follow hot on the heels of some over-stimulating activity.

Today I went to a baby shower for my friend Liz--the first baby shower I can recall ever having been to. I had a wonderful time, and it was awesome to see so many ladies from multiple generations within our church come together to honor Liz and celebrate the incredible change her life (and her husband Clay's!) is about to take.

When I got home I was truly overwhelmed with emotion. Many of my friends are now having babies, and although I'm not really experiencing jealousy over it, I think I'm experiencing more of a sort of grief about my own loss in that department. Don't get me wrong, I am very thrilled for my friends who are new mommies and soon-to-be mommies...I just don't quite know how to process all of that, especially when juxtaposed with my own thoughts and feelings about whether or not Brad and I could or should be parents at some point.

For about an hour or so I launched into your basic female over-reaction to my own emotions. There are some days when I feel like I'm walking around with a big sandwich board sign that reads "I have Cystic Fibrosis and some days just suck because of it". I constantly feel like I have to give additional effort on certain things in order to make up for the times when CF slows me down. I've even wondered what in the world could possibly be so worthwhile about me that Brad would commit his life to me, without giving it a second thought.

Brad patiently and assertively reminded me that even when I feel like I'm nothing more than a walking science project, he loves me for me. CF is just something I have--like red hair and that goofy little freckle on the bottom of my right foot.

This evening I found the following, entitled a letter to my husband. It was written a few years back by a woman who married a man with CF. I cried as I read it, and it finally sank in that how she feels about her husband must be how Brad feels about me. He must love me. He didn't marry a science project. He married a human being who is every bit as worthy and capable of a fulfilling life as anyone else.

Below are the words to "You Must Love Me" from the musical, "Evita". Eva sings this song as her husband helps her home from the hospital after she is told that she is dying of cancer. I think of this song often when I realize that Brad is by my side voluntarily. God certainly picked out an incredible man for me.

Where do we go from here?
This isn't where we intended to be
We had it all, you believed in me
I believed in you

Certainties disappear
What do we do for our dream to survive?
How do we keep all our passions alive,
As we used to do?

Deep in my heart I'm concealing
Things that I'm longing to say
Scared to confess what I'm feeling
Frightened you'll slip away

You must love me
You must love me

Why are you at my side?
How can I be any use to you now?
Give me a chance and I'll let you see how
Nothing has changed

You must love me

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Rip Van Winkle

People who say they sleep like a baby,
don't usually have one.

--Leo J. Burke

I slept quite a bit this weekend. I think I must have been getting caught up after being so wound up about my work week. Brad and I were talking about the difference between how we process things mentally and how that affects our sleep. For Brad he is able to "log off" in his brain at night and pretty much shut down all his thoughts in order to sleep. He said he waked up each morning with a fresh slate that is relatively untouched by the previous day. This is NOT the case with me. My brain is constantly processing things. There are nights when I wish I did have an "off" button. Instead, my thoughts are like a movie that never ends. I can put it on "pause" for long enough to get some sleep, but even in my sleep I'm still thinking about things. When I wake up in the morning, I pick up right where I left of the night before, still thinking about a dozen things at one.

There was a time when my thoughts throughout the night were unordered and repetitive. I would get a single phrase stuck in my head and it would repeat itself over and over ad infinitum ad nauseum. Once I was diagnosed with obsessive/compulsive disorder, I was finally able to get a handle on that thanks to medication. There are times when I still find myself stuck with a repeating phrase or thought, but it isn't nearly as frequently as it used to be.

Sleep is still tricky though. I try to go to bed at the same time each night, but I almost always feel tired well into the next morning. Today hasn't been so bad, although I coughed a lot first thing when I started moving around. I still have a sinus headache too, but that's because of this icky dry weather. It's been so dry that I've shocked myself on every doorknob I've touched at work. Ouch!


Current mood: displaced
Current snack: raspberry yogurt
Emotional weather: slightly breezy
Health-o-meter: 87% of baseline

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Has it Really Been That Long?

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.
--Faith Baldwin

It's been awhile since I last posted to this blog. Part of that is because I've been particularly busy at work, but also because I've been more tired than usual and haven't really done much in my free time other than rest. I was starting to get really concerned about how much I was sleeping, but apparently my body needed the extra rest. I feel so much better now, and my congestion is practically gone! This morning was the first time in weeks that I didn't need to cough for several minutes to clear my lungs before being able to walk across the room.

Time is a funny thing. The more I try to plan my schedule and be meticulous about it, the more I find that I must be flexible. I'm very glad that the flexibility I needed to have over the last several days was used to incorporate some fun things into my schedule.

Brad and I went to a going away party on Saturday for one of his co-workers. That was pretty low key. We didn't end up staying for more than a couple of hours though because we were both sneezing so much from the cats, candles, and incense at the hostess' apartment. Sunday morning we spent much of the day recovering from our "benadryl hangover", Brad more than I. Sunday evening we went to the community group our church has for young couples. We hadn't been able to join that group before because of our other commitments on Sunday evenings. We really like the group and are very excited that we will get to participate more this year.

Yesterday we finally went on our long awaited date to go out to dinner and see a movie. We saw "The Chronicles of Narnia". I was a bit disappointed, but not enough to make me think it was a waste. I enjoyed being out of the house doing something entertaining with Brad. All in all, a good weekend--time well spent, even if it didn't include getting the laundry done or the dishes washed. I'll save that for another day!

Current mood: restless
Current snack: pretzels
Emotional weather: slightly hazy
Health-o-meter: 87% of baseline

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


The world is but a perpetual see-saw.
--Michel de Montaigne

I haven't posted in a few days mainly because I've had computer issues, but also because I've wanted to spend my energy elsewhere. I think I may have spoken too soon when I was singing the praises of getting over the flu. I'm not down-and-out sick, but I'm not quite myself either. I've really been having a lot of trouble falling asleep at night. Not just falling asleep, but staying asleep. I've been napping here and there to try to offset the exhaustion, but that only disrupts my sleeping pattern even further. Maybe I should get back into doing yoga in the evenings to calm myself down.

On another matter completely, I hate the weather right now. It's January, and I'm wearing my summer clothes. I don't want to wear the summer clothes. For crying out loud, let's have some good, dreary, winter weather! I think it's Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw who said it best: "bring on the rain." But I digress...

The mornings have been getting progressively better in terms of airway clearance. That goop has gotten thinner and isn't as colorful as it once was. I don't dread getting up in the middle of the night to walk to the bathroom in fear that I'll have a "hack attack" on the way there. My appetite isn't too remarkable though. I'm getting plenty of calories since I'm drinking lots of milk lately, but there isn't much that appeals to me.

Aside from health things, life is pretty good. Work is sort of hit and miss as far as productivity goes. I'm trying to remember if it was like this at this time last year as well. Tomorrow should be interesting--I'm attending the S.A.M.E. (Society of American Military Engineers) luncheon where I'll get to hear about the engineering efforts during huricane Katrina. I'm looking forward to it as a chance to learn more about a professional field that shares similarities to my chosen line of work. Besides that, it will a great opportunity for "networking" which is something that will look good for my upcoming performance review at work.

Current mood: slightly out of sorts
Current snack: Kudos bar
Emotional weather: slight fog
Health-o-meter: 80% of baseline

Friday, January 06, 2006

Gee Whiz, Pop

My parents were Ward and June Cleaver
crossed with Billy and Ruth Graham.
Their lives revolved around their kids and church.

--Kathie Lee Gifford

These days it seems more and more difficult to find people who have good relationships with their parents. When I was growing up, I was never able to relate to the kids in school who claimed they hated their parents and were always bad-mouthing them. Even now when I hear people (particularly teenagers) whine or complain about one or both of their parents, I just want to slap them silly, particularly if I know that the parents in question are really good ones.

Granted, not everyone has good parents. It makes me sad that there are some adults out there who are really nothing more than selfish teenagers in a grown-up body. Just as much as I want to slap some sense into disrespectful teenagers, I also want to pinch the heads off (to use Dr. Laura's phrase) of idiot parents who don't know how to set a good example, or who don't care to involve themselves in their kids lives.

Certainly there were times when I was an arrogant teen who thought I could make decisions on my own. I made mistakes, I got in trouble, and it's because I had parents who cared enough about me to discipline me and correct me. I didn't get away with much of anything. My parents loved me enough to take a vested interest in helping me grow up in one piece, and I'm so thankful for that. We weren't a perfect family; we weren't without our problems and trials, but our family dynamic was dramatically shaped by the faith my parents professed, and the way they lived it out. It was truly a privilege to grow up in a Christ-centered home.

Last night my folks came down and took us out to dinner. Although they are still my parents, it's really a blessing to have reached a point with them where my husband and I can go out to dinner with them and feel like we're all on relatively equal footing. It's not so much a kid-parent relationship anymore. It's an older adult-younger adult relationship. Spending time with them is fun, and dare I say it, I consider my parents and my husband's parents my friends. I'm not entirely sure when that happened, but I like it. I'm pretty sure that this is the way things are supposed to go when you leave the nest and cleave to your spouse.

Current mood: edgy
Current snack: pretzels
Emotional weather: light fog
Health-o-meter: 90% of baseline

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Our Current Obsession

We're adults. When did that happen?
And how do we make it stop?

--Dr. Meredith Grey on "Grey's Anatomy"

It started several months back when I was stuck in the hospital, forced to endure late nights in an uncomfortable, narrow bed, and only a television (bolted to the wall at an incredibly obscure angle) to pass the time between fits of insomnia. I happened across a show on ABC called "Grey's Anatomy" and have been hooked ever since. I had never really been a fan of hospital drama shows--they all seemed too intense. Besides, why watch a show about hospitals when I was right in the middle of one? "Scrubs" was probably what eased me into this particular genre.

Grey's Anatomy lies somewhere closer to "ER" on the intensity scale, but more on the humanity side of things like "Scrubs". Of course, there's enough scandal and back-biting competition taking place on the show to make it appealing to viewers of "Desperate Housewives" (which airs in the hour immediately preceding Grey's Anatomy.) Throw in some phenomenal actors, a very attractive cast, and you've got the makings of our current television obsession.

One website for the show sums it up as follows:

"Grey's Anatomy focuses on young people struggling to be doctors and doctors struggling to stay human. It's the drama and intensity of medical training mixed with the funny, sexy, painful lives of interns who are about to discover that neither medicine nor relationships can be defined in black and white. Real life only comes in shades of grey."

I think what really won me over was the show that had a Cystic Fibrosis patient who was an adult. Very rarely do you see CF anywhere on primetime, let alone have it be displayed by someone older than 16. The show's official website contains links to additional information about the diseases and diagnoses on the show, and I was pleased to see a link to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. A big round of applause to ABC for that one.

Like most shows on television, "Grey's Anatomy" has relatively no moral compass, if any. Some of the characters are continually conflicted and anguished because of their bad decisions. Unfortunately, the conflict arises from their professional ambition rather than any moral obligations, but at least the show doesn't sugar-coat the reality of consequences and danger of foolish behavior.

The show is something of a guilty pleasure for me and my husband in that respect, but mostly we enjoy the tamer, down-to-earth aspects of it. Personally, I like the frequent use of medical terminology and the fact that I can follow it without needing to reach for a dictionary. I don't think I'll ever want to own a boxed set of DVDs of the show, but for now it's nice to have found something to watch together on one of the only 2 channels our antenna receives in our neck of the woods.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Typical Flu: Lessons Learned

The triumph can't be had without a struggle.

--Wilma Rudolph

Despite having the flu over the holidays, from a health perspective, 2005 probably goes on record as one of the best Christmas seasons I've experienced in quite awhile. I can't say that it was perfect. There were a couple of rough patches that made me wonder if I would get better on my own or if we'd need to bring in reinforcements (i.e. do a "tune up"). Plenty of down-time, plenty of high calorie foods, and the right combo of OTC and prescription meds did the trick.

Because I was on minimal meds to keep my CF in check, I was finally able to do some experimentation to see what OTC meds would work best for me. No, this was not self-medication. I didn't take a bunch of stuff just to see what it would do to me or to knock myself out. I only treated symptoms according to the instructions on the medication and followed dosing quite accurately. The following is a list of the meds I tried and what I observed as my reactions to them as well as their overall success.

1) NyQuil
Purpose: Taken to reduce coughing, coat my sore throat, and and induce sleep

Observations: Coughing was reduced throughout the night, however, because of the alcohol induced sleep, all of the gunk in my lungs seemed to "pool" by morning. This resulted in a substantial increase in the amount of time and effort taken to clear my lungs upon waking. Furthermore, the sleep was fitful. I never felt like I was fully asleep--just medicated. I Suspect that NyQuil may in fact be Absinthe.

Conclusion: Next time I'll try Dimetapp or some sort of cough suppressant/congestion relief that does not contain alcohol

2) Chloraseptic
Purpose: taken to relieve sore throat

Observations: Barely worked at all to cool my sore throat. The menthol actually made me cough more. Suspected allergic reaction similar to asthmatic symptoms associated with my Eucalyptus allergy.

Conclusion: Sipping hot tea with lemon and honey worked far better to sooth my sore throat.

3) DayQuil Tablets

Purpose: Taken to control congestion and aches during the day

Observations: No problems. Cough was suppressed sufficiently, sinus pressure reduced.

Conclusion: I'll keep some of this on hand just in case.

4) Ibuprofen

Purpose: Fever Reducer, pain reliever

Observations: Reduced fever, relieved pain--even the sore throat pain. Also seemed to help control the frequency of chest tightness and asthma symptoms.

So, there you have it. Some things worked better for me than others, and some didn't work at all. I think the biggest shocker was how poorly NyQuil performed for me. That was disappointing. In the future if I'm falling behind on my sleep because of the coughing, perhaps I'll try a Tylenol PM or something. However, I'm not anticipating being sick again any time soon! I'm optimistic that 2006 is going to be a banner year.

Current mood: content
Current snack: tortilla chips and guacamole
Emotional weather: sunny, clear skies
Health-o-meter: 89% of baseline

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