Friday, August 31, 2007
A Bright Sunshiney Day
Every day is a good day to be alive, whether the sun's shining or not.
Last night I slept pretty soundly. I was asleep before Brad even came to bed, which is rare. I slept all through the night without any interruptions, and managed to sleep in a bit. Of course this doesn't mean that I'm back on track yet. I was pleased to have such a productive day, but I worry that this burst of energy is only temporary.
I did a lot of writing today. I updated the Understanding CF blog, wrote a few articles that I hope to sell to online content sources, and got caught up on some email. I did a good job of eating well today too. Lots of protein in the diet today. I'm currently on a Corn Pops kick (don't know why) so I'm getting in lots of milk. I hope that the vitamin D in the milk combined with the sunshine exposure over the last few days will have some good nutritive benefits. Lunch was leftover Chinese food, and for dinner I made myself a few burritos. It's odd...I used to HATE burritos or anything that involved a tortilla. Now I can't seem to get enough of them. I suppose that's a good thing since tortillas are loaded with calories and complex carbs.
Health-wise today was a productive day as well. I did the "Body Glider" while wearing my Vest, and did a little bit of weight lifting. I'm going to have to get back on track with that. I was so fatigued last week that I went back to the 5 pound weights instead of the 8 pounders, and I think I may have lost some ground. Oh well. I'll gain it back sooner or later.
Brad was kind enough to fix my computer, so now my "K" is fine. It had popped off and we couldn't reattach it, so we had to request a new keyboard from Dell. I'm so glad I married a computer guy :)
All in all my spirits are up today. I played piano for almost 2 hours today, and that always does a lot by way of improving my mood. I've been working on learning the songs in the songbook that our new church uses. Currently Brad's the only one who is part of the worship team, but I hope to join them soon as well, especially now that I'm in much more stable health lung-wise. One thing I'd really like to do is take organ lessons. I've wanted to do that for quite awhile now, but haven't had the opportunity or the necessity to do so. Our church only has 2 organists and they are eager for someone else to join the rotation. I'd love to be a part of the team in that way.
That's about it for me today. I think I'm going to have one of my freshly baked turtle brownies and a glass of milk before heading off to bed. Tomorrow we're heading up to see my folks and Brad's grandparents. I'm looking forward to it. I missed seeing his grandparents at Christmas since I wasn't feeling well, so we're long overdue for a visit.
Well, off I go to feed my face.
Want to Know More About...
I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a voice of hope to families who are affected in some way by CF. It is my prayer that my experiences will serve to remind others that it is possible to live a full and active life in spite of CF.
As always, you can leave me a comment on any of the posts on this blog. I look forward to hearing from you!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
A Worthwhile Ministry, and a Blog You Should Check Out
No one is safe from temptation, but our God and Father has assured us that nothing is too difficult for us to bear with His help. Some people's temptations lead them into an imprisoned existence within themselves known as addiction. Addiction of any kind can seem overpowering. But there is One who has power to release us from our addictions.
Judith Ann Hillard, author of The Other Woman at the Well is a woman of faith who has overcome addiction. For years she was addicted to cocaine, and by the power of God and the prayers of her closest family and friends has been restored. She now works hard to educate others about the pitfalls and prevalence of addiction, particularly drug and substance abuse among young adults. She is a vibrant public speaker, and exceptionally candid.
Judith is looking to expand her ministry, in order to reach those who battle addiction of any kind. She has recently begun a blog where she posts information about drug and substance abuse. Addiction Overcome. Please drop by and leaving her a comment. She is also available to speak to just about any type of group. God's work as demonstrated through her is powerful. She is a walking, talking example of addiction overcome.
Be sure to order her book, published by Xulon Press!
It's a startlingly honest account of her life as an addict, and the ways in which she was able leave addiction behind.
Click here to place an order at Xulon's website:
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I'm a ROCKSTAR!
Okay, so I'm not really a rockstar, but I did manage to have a surprisingly good clinic appointment tonight. My weight was a whopping 124lbs. In terms of BMI that's 20.6. The National Goal for CF patients is a BMI of 22 for females. If I'm going to reach that, then I'm going to have to put on some serious muscle weight. It'll get there.
My FEV1 was 2.18, which is pretty cool considering that last time (2 weeks ago) it was 2.1. It was encouraging to see a little bit of improvement. It gave me new hope and a refocused view of my goal.
Basically tonight's appointment confirmed that the fatigue, depression, and crazy sleep is not because of an exacerbation, but because we haven't yet hit upon the right treatment for bi-polar disorder. That's okay. I know that in time, that will come too.
So to all you out there in CFland, in the words of Commander Peter Quincy Taggert of the NSA Protector...Never Give Up! NEVER SURRENDER!
(If you need help with that reference, see me after class)
Support and Uplift (and I don't mean lingerie!)
Wow, I had forgotten that there's a 6 AM! I woke up too early, decided to feed my bottomless pit of a stomach, and log in to cysticfibrosis.com to see what's up.
Yesterday wasn't too bad of a day, considering. I've learned that I am a VERY social creature, and my mental well-being is strongly tied to how many people I am in contact with during the day. Yesterday morning our pastor called to check on me. I really appreciated that, since we're still new to the church. It's nice to know we're being looked after.
After that Brad and I went for my "sun walk." My psych. thinks I would benefit from 45 minutes a day of good direct sunlight. I'm not going to argue, but it's sort of funny. It makes me feel like a house plant or something. After our walk it was exceptionally difficult for me not to crawl back into bed. I decided the best way to remove the temptation was to simply make the bed.
I liked how neat the bed looked all made up, so I decided to take a cue from my incredible husband and do some chores to make the rest of the house look good. I got all the laundry sorted, threw a load of whites into the washer, and proceeded to make my grocery list.
Every few days I like to go for a drive. I love our hybrid car, and it gets awesome mileage, so I don't feel guilty driving for the sake of driving. I think it must be in my blood to want to do that. When my grandpa was sick (he had lung cancer) no matter how bad he felt, he always had the energy and interest in driving. So, drive I did. On a whim I ended up driving to our old church (45 minutes away) and visited the pastor there.
I had a nice talk with him. He knows more of my history and what it's like with CF. His niece has CF, so he at least has working knowledge of it and won't say anything stupid like "you should just pray more and you'll be healed." He talked with me for awhile and was really encouraging. I felt very bolstered by our time together, which I think is exactly what's supposed to happen when you bring your spiritual needs to God in prayer with another believer.
Feeling renewed to a degree, I decided it was time to get groceries. Here's the great part: I could carry them in by MYSELF! It's nice to know that even though I feel very worn out and weak, that I'm a little better off than I thought. Usually one of the first signs of not feeling well is my inability to carry a gallon of milk. Small victories, right?
With the groceries put away, the house fairly neat, and the dryer humming along loaded with underwear and t-shirts, Brad and I decided to go to the movie theatre to see The Bourne Ultimatum. For me, going to a movie theatre is a high anxiety thing. It's dark, there are strangers, it smells weird, and there's that darn cinemuck on the floor. I'm SO afraid of catching something icky in there. I swallowed me fears and decided to enjoy the evening with my husband.
I actually had a good time. I know I can't just "wish" myself out of depression, but by doing things throughout the day that force me to make choices that can possible improve my mood, I think I'll be able to get by in one piece.
Of course, as always, I'm in God's grip. He's not going to let me fall. He's putting the right people in my path who can encourage me, pray for me, and ultimately just come alongside me and walk this road with me. I'm thankful for that. My husband does all those things at once on a daily basis, and I'm blessed to be loved that much.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Help Me Up
Based on how I've been feeling and how long, we surmised that I am still in a period of rapid cycling. (That's a bipolar thing, not a CF thing.) We looked at all the options, and instead of just hoping that things would get better on their own, we are going to add medication. This is tough for me not because I hate taking pills (I'm just used to it now) but because it means things are out of my hands. Usually I can get a fairly good grip on the bootstraps and tug myself up.
That's just the problem with bipolar--it's out of my control. Much as I want to I can't just pull myself up. So, with some prayer and a prescription, we're going to do the difficult work of getting me stable on ALL levels--physical and emotional. Getting back on track is expected to take more than a month. That's not exactly the type of news I wanted to hear. But, when I look at it rationally, it makes a lot of sense. Why go back to work before I'm fully at my best? If I did it would only be a matter of time before I'm stuck spinning my wheels in the mud. Again. I am disappointed though because this means I'll have to stay on disability for awhile longer. That makes me feel like a sub-class citizen or something.
Today was one of those days that I had to practically force myself to be thankful for things. Today I'm thankful that we don't have kids who would get crushed in the wake of what's going on. I'm thankful that Brad has the week off (talk about a God-thing!) to keep a watchful eye on me as we ramp up my Seroquel dose. I'm thankful that I have a comfortable bed to sleep in, even if my sleeping pattern is irregular. I'm thankful we have the means to make it work financially with all these expensive appointments and medications.
I'm thankful that I have hope in Jesus and the promise of heaven: without which I would surely be undone.
Please keep me in your prayers as I ask God to help me up. I know He will in His time. I know I'm in His grip.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
As is usually the case with mood altering meds, it takes a couple days for my body to get the hang of the new dose. Saturday-Monday I was in a bit of a brain fog. I felt the fog lifting late yesterday.
Today I was up at a decent hour, even straightened up the bedroom a bit. I moved through my day only a little bit fuzzy-headed. All in all though, I felt like the meds are doing their job.
The bunny and I had a good time during his exercise time. He absolutely loves parsley, and goes crazy when I bring him a sprig or two of it. One of the cute things that Gimli has been doing lately is sitting closer to me and snuggling me with his chin on my knee. It's such a precious little pose! I'm glad he's so much more social than when we first adopted him.
taking an afternoon nap
Monday, August 20, 2007
Never Been Unloved
Okay, self promotion aside, I just wanted to let people know how much my husband means to me. If I sound like a broken record, then you'll just have to bear with me. God's mercies are new every morning, and with each new morning I am reminded of the blessed marriage that I have.
Life is not always hunky-dory. This last calendar year has been full of challenges, twists, turns, some utterly frightening moments, but through it all, God has been faithful. What's more, God has given me a tangible version of His love and compassion by giving me my husband. There are days when I wish I could give more of myself to this man. I try not to let my feelings of inadequacy keep me from enjoying marriage. On days when I'm too tired to put away the laundry, or when I get off-track with my medication schedule and become an insomniac, I don't have to worry that I'm unloved.
It's like Michael W. Smith's song "Never Been Unloved" says:
Sometimes, I have been unwise I've been undone by what Im unsure of But because of you, and all that you went through I know that I have never been unloved I have been unbroken I have been unmended I have been uneasy And I've been unapproachable
There's more to the song, of course, but I don't want to run into copyright infringement issues.
Brad sees me at my best and at my worst. He never expects more than I have to give, and he knows that I give him my all. I'm very much in love with him. To quote another MWS song "I wanna tell the world, if the smile on my face hasn't given me away already!"Check out the smile on my face in today's picture and tell me if that's not the face of a woman in love.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A bunny is cute. A baby is cute. Put them together and you've got cute squared!
Local CFer Raises Awareness
Local San Diego girl, Lindsay Wadleigh recently auditioned for American Idol. In this interview she talks about her personal struggle with cystic fibrosis and how she's making a positive difference by using her voice to increase awareness of this life-shortening disease.
Lindsay Wadleigh is Singing At the Top of Her Lungs
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Working Out: THE PAYOFF!
Today was such a great day. I got a good night of sleep and woke up on time to feed us all a nice healthy breakfast. We had orange sweet rolls, diced melons and milk. It was just the right start to an activity-filled day. My cousin and her 15 month old had stayed overnight. He's a good sleeper! I heard him puttering around this morning, but I really didn't hear much of him other than happy little playing sounds.
I didn't have to cough up much gunk this morning, which was nice. I did my stinky Tazacef neb along with HS, and Xopenex, and it was off to the zoo!
Honestly, I had been worried about whether I'd have enough energy for the trip. I didn't know how hot it would get, or if I'd be able to walk that far without resting much. I'm so thrilled to report that I only coughed a little bit, and that was on an EXTREMELY steep slope. It was so steep it took the two of us to push the stroller uphill. Ooof!
All that working out lately has sure paid off. I didn't feel short-winded at all really. I even carried the baby on my shoulders for awhile. I would have carried him longer except he had dropped a shoe and we needed to put it back on.
Here are some photos from the day:
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I Dare You to Watch This
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Get in Shape, Girl! (Day 5)
You didn't think I was going to bore you all with the play-by-play of making breakfast did you?
A little stretching just to limber up, followed by pectoral flys and chest press. It's interesting to see pictures of myself. It's a good way for me to evaluate my form. Needs some work, wouldn't you say? Curls are my favorite, but they don't give me that good "I just worked out" feeling like the other stuff that uses more muscle groups at once.
Powering up to fight CF!
Sarah Hughes called...she wants her haircut back
Monday, August 06, 2007
Chasing the Wind (David's Song)
Naturally, since I'm a writer, my creative energy and emotional experiences seem to wind up in some written form. I'd like to share with you a poem I wrote in David's memory. Although our friendship had such a brief season, I'm blessed to have met him.
"Chasing the Wind" (David's Song)
He said "I feel like I'm chasing the wind.
I want so much to be free.
How can I have peace? How can I be sure,
God's grace is meant for me?"
I shared with him my own doubts.
but that My faith that helps me run this race.
And somewhere inside him, I know it connected;
a warm smile spread across David's face.
I had only meant to encourage,
to be a friend on whom he could lean.
I couldn't have known that the seeds I'd sown
were nothing compared to Spirit's indwelling.
By his chasing the wind, our paths had crossed,
though only for a season.
The winds of change have carried him away
without explanation or reason.
If he had chased the wind forever
would he somehow be able to find
the holy secrets and the mysteries--
the reason why God gives us life?
All that season his faith grew strong;
He set aside fear and worry.
He knew that God had a plan no matter what,
and that life should not be hurried.
The day that it happened I'll never quite know;
some things are better left that way.
Still the fact remains that I've lost my friend David.
But I know this is what he'd say:
"I couldn't chase the wind forever,
once I was able to find
the holy secrets and mysteries
and the path to eternal life.
I'm no longer chasing the wind.
Breezes are only on earth.
I'm more at peace here than I've even been.
There's a joyfulness I'd never known.
I'm no longer chasing the wind,
the wind has carried me home."
So on these long summer days
when the sun kisses my face
and I feel breezes play with my hair
I'll whisper a prayer thanking God for David,
and that he's no longer chasing the wind.
We cannot chase the wind forever;
there's so much for us to find,
hidden in the mystery of God's great love,
and the promise of eternal life.
Dedicated to the Memory of David Matthieu 1963-2007.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Get in Shape, Girl! (Day 3)
I always start with stretches. I've been excited to see progress here. A month ago I could hardly reach past my shins. Now I can reach past my toes!
Today I tried combining the crunches with the leg lifts. I noticed that my sense of balance is much better than it has been in the past. I can tell my muscles are stronger too because my legs don't wobble as badly as they used to.
But then of course there's my tan...
You'll note that I'm not wearing the vest today while I do my exercising. I did the vest just by itself this morning. I had slept pretty hard, so a lot of gunk "pooled" during the night. I knew I'd get too out of breath if I tried to combine airway clearance with my workout.
This contraption I've had for several months now. It's called a "Body Glide." It has tension bands that connect underneath for variable resistance. Mostly I use this to strengthen my quads, although you can use it for your arms too.
Oh man, my legs are just as skinny as that bar that I'm holding onto!
We need cheeseburgers, STAT!
Now it's back to the exercise bench to do some lifting. I have to learn to keep my back flat against the backrest so that I'm using the right muscles. I have a feeling doing so will help my PFT technique as well.
Pectoral flys? Pectoral flails is more like it. My technique needs a little fine-tuning.
Ahhh...cool, fresh water, with salt added of course, and some mixed berry yogurt. Yogurt has plenty of calories (170, in fact) and is a good source of protein. It also plays an important role in keeping my intestinal flora balanced.
Ahhhhhhhh...cross another successful workout off the list!
I appreciate your enthusiasm, Gimli, but that thing weighs more than you do!
Gimli's a good cheerleader. He also likes to come lick the sweat off my legs when I'm finished.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
My Challenge To You: Help Support CF Research
One of my personal goals is to create articles that are personal and engaging, yet informative and educational for the cystic fibrosis community. I am able to do that to some extent through my blog, http://understandingcysticfibrosis.blogspot.com. However, I want to reach a wider audience, and that means working to be a larger online presence. This is where I need your help:
For every 100 people who read an article I've written, I will donate $5 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In other words, I will donate a dollar amount equal to 5% of the number of hits on an article. For example, the article "Chlorinated Waters and Lung Health" has had 108 hits so far, so I would donate $5.40 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Here's the link to my articles to get you started!
Lauren's Articles on Associated Content
If you don't like to read and would rather just make a donation yourself, please visit My Official Cystic Fibrosis Fund Raiser Page. Remember that donations are tax deductible and 90% of your donation goes directly to funding cystic fibrosis research.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Get in Shape, Girl! (Day 2)
So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to commit to doing the following things this week. How will you know if I'm following through? That's easy--I'll document it! I'm going to photograph it.
I started the following plan on Monday. I didn't photograph it then, but from here on out I will. Not everything got photographed today, since my adoring husband was busy getting ready for work. You're just going to have to trust me that I did everything.
3 days this week I will eat breakfast consisting of:
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs. cheddar cheese
- 1.5 c. whole milk
- 1 pkg. Instant Breakfast
- 1/2 c. orange juice
- 2 Eggos w/syrup
Sounds like a lot, but I'm a bottomless pit, so it's okay.
3 Days this week I will do the following workout, 40 reps each:
- Incline pectoral flys
- Flat pectoral flys
- Decline pectoral flys
- alternating bicep curls
- shoulder press
- incline chest press
- flat chest press
- decline chest press
- Leg lifts
Sweat pants, t-shirt, comfy shoes and most importantly, the inCourage Vest from Respirtech.
While I stretch and tone my muscles, the vest will give my airways a good workout.
It's hard to tell from the angle, but this is the flat chest press (hehehe...flat chest) which was followed by the flat pectoral flys, and then the shoulder press.
Im-PRESS-ive, aren't I?
Alternating bicep curls.
Get your tickets now for the gun show!
Whew! That was an intense 30 minutes.
Now my gear is all packed away and ready for the next time.
Time to refuel and get on with my day.
I prefer to spend more time eating the food than preparing it. Making scrambled eggs in the microwave is a great time saver. The eggs are guaranteed to be fluffy, there's no "egg goo" to scrape off a frying pan, and best of all, it only takes 2 minutes, tops! Perfect timing with the toaster waffles.
Re-hydrating is a MUST. I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a bottle of water to help replace what I lose by sweating. Sounds gross? Just think of it as a "Mountain Spring Margarita."
This photo is horribly washed out, but believe me, there are 2 Eggos on that plate along with a pile of scrambled eggs with cheese. Pine/orange/banana juice is there, but unfortunately there's no Instant Breakfast today. I only had enough milk for 1 c.
Hooray! I'm a member of the "Clean Plate Club."
That big meal should stick to my ribs quite well.