Friday, January 26, 2007

Read What I Write, Help Support CF Research

Things are fairly uneventful over here. I'm still not doing much of anything besides writing.

Speaking of which, if you have the time, please visit these articles that I have written. Every linked article that gets viewed by my adoring public helps put a bright shiny penny in my piggy bank. But that's not all! I will donate a portion of the earnings from my highest ranked articles to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Get clicking and get reading! (I welcome your comments too, by the way)

Preventing Indigestion

Are Dandelions Safe To Eat?

Bananas and Their Many Benefits

What is Fermentation?

Keeping Your Brain Fit

Treating Cyanide Poisoning

Why Gums Bleed After Teeth Cleaning

Distracting Yourself From a Job You Hate

Finding Your BMI

How to Control Asthma

Why Some People Gain Weight and Others Stay Thin

The Qualities of Watermelon

Maximizing Antioxidants in the Diet

Causes of Migraines

Treating Diarrhea in Children

The Key to a Good Haircut

Tips for Reducing Trans-Fats Consumption

Lactose Intolerance

About Geothermic Energy

How Much Water to Drink in a Day

Why is the Sky Blue?

What Is Rust?

When You Believe in God But Not Church

Sin and God's Laws

Appreciating that Marriage is Forever

Jealousy: Love or Insecurity?

Pets and Allergies

How To Suppress Bad Thoughts

Poetry: A Wedding Song

Spiritual Burnout

View my COMPLETE list of articles here (150 total)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Writing Helps Pass the Time

Today I'm once again doing precious little other than sitting on the bed in my pajamas with my laptop in front of me, a tall glass of milk on the nightstand, and a brain full of ideas that need to manifest themselves as written words. My fingers have been flying across the keyboard as I've responded with my 2 cents on a variety of topics on Helium's website.

I'm glad that I have writing as a creative outlook. Without it I'd certainly be going crazy. Sitting at home is NOT my idea of a good time, but since I'm still so worn out, there's precious little else I'm able to do. Also, the whole point of taking time off work to rest is that I actually sit back and REST. This is against my nature, and I'd be lying if I said that all this idle time wasn't eating away as my psyche.

Some people (myself included) have a hangup about the word "depression." It's hard for me to even admit that I am in a depressive mood lately. Part of me thinks that I'm weak or a failure for giving in to that feeling. I've had to be reminded that depression's roots are in the brain's inability to function properly. Although a depressive episode can be triggered by an emotional event or circumstance, ultimately it's bad biochemistry that prevents a person from feeling "okay."

I'm learning a lot about different health issues as I've been generating short articles for Helium. I like learning new things. Here are a few things I've written today.

Possible Harmful Effects of Fluoridation

Creative Writing Exercises to the the Pen Moving

Mental Health and Diet

Different Forms of Depression


Why Gums Sometimes Bleed

How To Distract Yourself at a Job You Hate

Exercising When You Don't Have Time

Understanding Body Mass Index (BMI)

How To Clean Your Toothbrush

Liver Health

What Are Diuretics?

Treating Fevers

Economic Benefits of Hybrid Cars

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Showing Off A Little

I have been invited to speak at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundations' Spring Gala. It's a very elegant black tie event. The theme is "Reach for the Stars." Not only will I be talking about my own experience with CF, the goals I have set for myself and the means by which I've achieved them, but I'll also be playing my horn! That's the part that really excited me. I haven't played my horn in quite awhile. I've been practicing like crazy to get my chops back up. The last time I played anything was Christmas of '05, and even then it wasn't a solo piece--just a little accompaniment to a male chorus singing "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming."

Like I said, the event is black tie, which means pretty dresses! My mom brought over a variety of styles for me to try on, and Brad helped me pick the winner. The one we both liked initially on the hanger paled in comparison to the one I'm wearing in the picture. I can't WAIT to wear it for the Gala. When I tried it on I immediately felt like I was at the Oscar's or something. I strutted around the house like I was walking the red carpet! Even though the dress is sleeveless, I have a feeling it will be nice and warm since it's long.

Now all I gotta do is keep working out with those little weights so that I can put some more muscle meat on those scrawny arms of mine! Maybe I'm vain, but wearing this dress actually made me feel attractive--even with my fuzzed up hair! The last dress I liked this much was my wedding dress. Which, by the way was REALLY REALLY pretty.

Of course, even the most darling dress in my closet is utterly plain unless I'm wearing it while standing beside my attractive husband. We're one of those couples who just looks like we belong together. We've even had strangers say so.

****Updated just for Ruth! As you requested, here's a picture from our wedding!****

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Insomnia Anyone?

Are you the type of person who looks up articles in Wikipedia just to kill some time? Looking for a little light reading? Not quite ready for sleep but not exactly in the mood to tackle an entire online news article either?

What better way to bore yourself silly than wasting time reading what I've wasted my time writing!


The Qualities of Watermelon

Valediction (a poem)

Keys to a Successful Haircut

Tips for Reducing Trans Fats Consumption

How to Handle Rejection as a Writer

Top 10 Greatest Inventions of All Time

Why the Sky is Blue

How To Clean Out a Goldfish Bowl

Defining Family

Cystic Fibrosis Explained

Trying to Gain Weight

I lost a lot of weight. I'm thin as it is, but I was probably 50 pounds lighter; and if you're that skinny, your head starts acting sort of funny.

--Kevin Bacon

Ah, the dreaded CF topic of weight gain/loss. This is a never ending struggle for me. It seems as though I never have enough weight on my bones. Right now I'm so scrawny that my bottom hurts if I sit for too long. It would seem as though the simplest solution for weight gain would be to eat like crazy, but that's not as easy as it seems. Ever since my bowel obstruction in the hospital, eating is not exactly a source of enjoyment for me.

I used to be able to pack away a 2 cheeseburger meal and chicken nuggets and call that a snack. Junk food hasn't totally lost its appeal, but I don't crave it like I used to. I'm learning that food should be thought of as fuel, and not fun. That's not to say that I don't eat fast food anymore. Yesterday was an example of when the convenience of fast food makes the price seem reasonable.

I slept most of the day, which means I wasn't awake long enough to really do some "grazing" around the house. By the end of the day I was severely low on my recommended calorie intake (which, incidentally is upwards of 3,500) so I asked Brad to pick up some stuff from Jack in the Box for me. 2,200 calories later I was stuffed to the gills. I was glad I didn't have to prepare all that food myself, but I wish there was an easier way to pack on the pounds. I'm working on it though. (and by work, I really do mean's a big effort and a frustrating one.)

Since I've got food on the brain lately, I've taken an interest in writing about it as well. Here are some links to articles about food nutrition and diet.

How Much Water in a Day?
CF and Nutrition
Vitamin Supplements and CF

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Do You Think?

Here's the ponderable of the true love blind? How you answer certainly depends on your definition of love, and how your own experiences have shaped you.

Below is a link to my answer regarding love. I'd be interested in hearing what others out there think about this particular topic.

Is True Love Blind?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Can't vs. Shouldn't: Setting and Meeting Goals

I was never told that I couldn't do something. Despite being told by doctors that I might not live to see my 10th birthday, my parents never discouraged me from doing things based solely on what "might" happen because of cystic fibrosis. At the same time, they encouraged and guided me in the process of learning to make good decisions. In doing so, they taught me that although cystic fibrosis has a decidedly prominent place in my life, it does not define who I am.

Read the rest of my thoughts on the matter here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Feel Like a Woman

I feel like I'm turning into more of a woman...It's an exhilarating time.

--Claire Danes

I like doing "girly" things. I especially like fulfilling a traditional role in the home as my husband's wife. I don't know exactly why that is, other than it gives me a lot of joy to know that I am meeting my husbands needs and loving him as he wants to be loved. He doesn't "expect" me to do things around the house, especially since I'm still not quite feeling perfect. The fact that doing little "woman's work" type things are not requirements around here makes me all the more willing to do them anyway. It's amazing the sense of reward and accomplishment I get from something as simple as ironing a few shirts or balling up some socks.

Yesterday was a great day. For the first time in months, Brad and I went to church together. Even though we had only visited that particular church a few times since we moved to the area, are overwhelmed by how quickly we were able to make some connections with people there. One young couple in particular made us feel so welcomed! While I was in the hospital they were a great source of encouragement to us.

At first we were hesitant about letting people in the new congregation know that I had CF. My usual policy is that I prefer people get to know "Lauren" and not "that gal with CF." God has worked a lot in my heart to help me overcome the adolescent fears about what people might think of me. My husband has been really great at keeping me from getting so uptight about such things. Although I'm sure that being an adult has a lot to do with how I incorporate CF into my social arena, I know that it's more than just maturity. It's about feeling safe and having a secure identity. My identity as a follower of God is strong, as is my identity as Brad's wife.

Life is good, even when my health isn't. Knowing that I have an incredibly supportive spouse, encouraging friends, and a God who provides for me-- each makes life worth living.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Laugh With Me (no really, go ahead!)

I finally got the guest room (aka "Lauren's craft room") straightened up. I've got myriads of pictures in those cute little photo boxes just begging to be properly archived for posterity. I came across some real doozies, and thought I'd share at least one of them with you. Maybe I'll even have a contest to see who can come up with the most clever captions for them. Submit your suggestions via the comments.

Allow myself to present...myself

This is what happened when Mom
let me dress myself for 2nd grade.
Holy pinkness Batgirl!

Some Reading Material from Yours Truly

I don't do a lot these days (as I mentioned yesterday) other than read and write. If you're feeling particularly compassionate about my plight, please humor me by reading the articles I have written on the topics below. You'll be amazed at how knowledgeable I am!

Most of these are very brief and have been written mainly as a creative writing exercise. I take a topic suggested by someone else, and write on it quickly and briefly. Some of them are a little out of the norm for the things I usually think about, but that's what's nice about this exercise--it forces me to stretch beyond that which is comfortable or familiar. Enjoy!

Christian/Religious Concepts and Theories

God and Temptation
Christ's Death on the Cross
Christians and Christmas
Contemplating the Existence of God
Contemplating the Purpose of Life
Life after Death
What Happens When We Die?
Knowing God
Thoughts and Ideas that Have Influenced My Life
To Be Holy or to Be Happy?


Avoiding Communication Disasters in Marriage
How To Get Your Significant Other to Marry You
My Definition of "Cheating"
Teens and Safe Sex

Creative Writing/The Writing Process

Guide to Writing Term Papers
Getting Poetry Published
Waves (a Poem)

Diseases, Conditions and Mental Health

Cystic Fibrosis Explained
Taking Precautions Against Asthma
Remedies for Eczema
Using Spacers with Inhalers
Getting Rid of Bumps on Your Tongue
Continuous Sneezing
Coping With Stress
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Financial Matters

5 Ideas for Saving Money


Getting Kids Involved In Helping the Environment
Life on Other Planets

Total Randomness


Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Real Slug-Fest

One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honor or observation.
--Sir Walter Scott

Today was another day filled to the brim with...nothing! The best part is, I didn't mind. I spent most of the morning just resting in bed, doing a lot of reading. Yesterday when my mom was here she jokingly asked what I was reading these days, so I told her; Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Moore's "Utopia". How's that for a little light reading? Just because I can't run a marathon doesn't mean I'm not exercising my brain.

Then of course there's the brainless sort of activity such as surfing the web. I don't like to be completely idle, so even when I'm sitting in front of the computer I'm attempting to use my creative juices. I've written a handful of articles now for Associated Content, and I'm practicing the fine art of writing to a topic thanks to Helium. Here are links to what I've written. Nothing too spectacular, but hey, it's better than posting all over myspace or something. (*shudder*)

Associated Content Articles
Helium: Where Knowledge Rules

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So Far, 2007 Rocks!

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream.

--James Allen

The new year is shaping up quite well. I'm gaining strength each day and I'm feeling the urge to nap less frequently. My appetite is improving (though not yet back to ravenous), and I seem to have put on just enough weight to wear real clothes again instead of sweats and pajamas.
Being at home every day is a little weird, and I haven't quite settled into a routine. Most of my creative energy goes into writing or playing the piano. Having those two things as an outlet are really keeping me sane. The life of a homebody is something of a foreign concept, but I'm adjusting.

I have a feeling that even once I return to work in a couple months, I won't be doing much traveling. I'll miss that, but I know it's for the best. Maybe I'll still have a chance to do the semi-local stuff, like the project with the Army Corps of Engineers. But that's getting ahead of myself. Right now I need to continue resting because so far it's working.

Here's a fun little tidbit: so far I have not been hospitalized at all in 2007! Woohoo! (yes, that was lame, but humor me anyway...)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Quality Improvement in CF Care

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) continues to make a difference in the lives of patients with CF and their families. In order to facilitate excellence in health care and increase the level of involvement between patients, their families and the cystic fibrosis team clinic, the CFF has provided care center data via their website.

CFF Care Center Data

" Reporting data from our nationwide network of centers is part of a comprehensive quality improvement effort by the Foundation. Our goal is to help people with CF live longer and better lives. In fact, the Foundation is one of the first health organizations in the country to provide health outcomes data to the public, demonstrating an intense commitment to raise quality of care to an even higher level." --Robert J. Beall, PhD, President CFF

This effort has been more than 6 years in the making. The CFF hopes that this data proves beneficial to the CF community. By publicly reporting Care Center Data, everyone involved with CF can be encouraged and inspired to raise the bar to new heights. As the president of the CFF puts it "Quality CF care is more than numbers."

As a person with CF I have a unique perspective on quality being about more than numbers. Some of the numbers that I think about are my weight, body mass index, lung function, the amounts of medications I take and the number of days I have to put life on hold when exacerbations occur. Even as those numbers change, my overall quality of life is excellent, and that is, at least in part, due to the excellent care I receive at the CF Adult Clinic.

Currently, there is no cure for cystic fibrosis. The precious lives of children and young adults are being lost every day to this devastating disease. If you would like to help support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in its ongoing research to find a cure for CF, please consider making an online donation here. Approximately $.90 of every dollar is used effectively to fund research and provide many tomorrows for those who battle CF.

If you would like to read a brief description of cystic fibrosis, please follow this link.
If you are interested in learning what a typical day is like for an adult with CF, you can read my article here.

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