Saturday, January 24, 2009

4 Secrets to Live well with CF

Life with cystic fibrosis is a challenge, and coping with it involves more than just a positive attitude.

Read my full article about these four things here.

#1 Surround yourself with support and encouragement

#2 Be actively involved in your healthcare

#3 Focus on the positive

#4 Live each day to the fullest

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pictures of the Bunnies (aka "the Girls")

Coral (left) and Sandy trying to hide from my camera.

Sandy, peeking out from the recliner.

Coral still has a slight head tilt and a bit of a droopy ear, but she's doing much better following her stay in the animal hospital.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Articles for the New Year

Are you the type of person who made New Year's Resolutions? If so you probably made one or two about changing your lifestyle to be healthier or better in some way. Perhaps you're renewing your spiritual life. If you're looking for a little inspiration or maybe a reminder or two about things you already knew, here are a few articles I've written that may be useful to you as you begin afresh in 2009.

TOPIC: Health and Wellness

Why We Age: How to Turn Back the Clock

How Zinc Helps the Performance of the Human Body

The Healthiest Type of Chocolate

Why Some People Gain Weight While Others Stay Thin

Effective Diets Must Consider the Mind as Well as the Body

Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

Ways to Cope with Stress

Tips for Exercising when you Don't Have the Time

Exposing Fitness Myths

Maximizing Antioxidants in Your Diet

Are There "Healthy" Fats?

TOPIC: Christian Living

How to Live a Life that is Pleasing to God

Putting God First in Your Life

How the Bible Relates to Everyday Life

The Seven Virtues

TOPIC: Finances

Easy Ways to Save Money

Renting Vs. Buying

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Made it to the Gym!

On Friday I finally was able to go back to the gym. I had a valid excuse for not being there in Nov/Dec. I was busy fighting to get better! Now that I am better (and a LOT better to boot!) I was eager for a chance to see what I could do at the gym. I kicked major butt. I had so much energy! I started out with some warm-ups and stretching, then I got on an elliptical for a few cycles just to get my heart going a bit. From there I went to the treadmill where I walked for 5 miles at a fairly fast clip. I hardly coughed at all, which was awesome.

The treadmills at my gym give a readout on the screen of what you've accomplished in your workout. It shows distance, time, average speed, average heart rate and how many calories were burned. I was really surprised that walking that long and that fast consumed fewer than 300 calories. That's like a glass of milk and some cookies. Easily replaced!

When I finished with the treadmill I moved on to what I call the "hand bike." It's supposed to build your upper body. You sit on the bench and paddle with your arms. I did that for several minutes in each direction. I was proud of myself for keeping up the pace for the entire time. I think next time I'll push myself a little harder and increase the tension.

My last segment of my workout was on the bike. I pedaled hard and fast and did 1 mile in under 5 minutes. Then I slowed down a bit and did two more miles. I love that my schedule is open enough to allow me to spend so much time at the gym.

As usual I was relieved to see someone walking around with sanitizer spray spritzing off all the equipment. That's one thing I really appreciate about our gym. It's very clean. I was watching an episode of "The Doctors" the other day and they were discussing the 3 biggest dangers at the gym. They were as follows 1. faulty equipment 2. inadequate training for the personal trainers 3. bacteria on the seats (not the handles amazingly enough) of the equipment, and the hordes of bacteria living in the showers. Since I don't shower at the gym I don't have to worry about that. Also, my personal trainer has a degree in kinesiology or something like that (he's what the gym calls a Master Trainer.)

On another exciting note, my FEV1 and peak flow are up even more. My peak flow was 558 L/min and my FEV1 was 2.13! Can you believe it? For the last 10 years since high school, I think I'd been overworking myself and pushing my body way too hard in the wrong ways. Now that I'm in a more subdued state by being on disability, I'm finally leveling off and feeling okay. These last several weeks have been a much needed reprieve and I am so grateful and thankful for that.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Articles I've Written Lately

Bonding with your Rabbit

GI Stasis in Rabbits

Conjunctivitis in Rabbits

Snuffles in Rabbits

History of the House Rabbit Society

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Something Slightly Sappy

About 2 years ago Brad and I were flown to San Francisco to be interviewed by about our relationship and how CF fits into it. The video of the interview was beautifully done. I think the interviewers and video editors did an excellent job of encapsulating the most important aspects of our marriage. I hope and pray that it serves as a testimony of our faith. I also hope that it encourages people with CF to expect a normal, happy life that can include marriage.

Several months ago we were invited to do a follow-up of sorts to our video. This included writing love letters to one another. Again, we address how we manage cystic fibrosis in our marriage. To watch a brief video of us, please follow the link below.

In Sickness and In Health

After watching the video, if you still have some tissues handy, we invite you to check out our love letters.

Love Letters from Brad and Lauren

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Getting my Baby Fix

Yesterday was such a fun day for me. My friend Kelly drove down with her twin girls, Ava and Julia. They have grown so much in a year! Their first birthday is only 20 days away and I can hardly believe it. Brad and I got to hold them when they were just a day old and I've been a huge fan of theirs ever since.

I was a little worried that my house wasn't "baby proofed" well enough. I kept thinking that somebody was going to fall down or bonk their head on something. I guess I'm just a nervous Auntie. Everything turned out fine. Babies are a lot more resilient than I assumed. No one got hurt but there were a few crocodile tears from Julia. It was hard not to laugh at her because she was being so dramatic, but I took my cue from Kelly and tried my best not to give her the satisfaction of paying attention to her little fit.

As far as toys for tots goes, I only have stuffed animals at this point. Kelly said not to worry, the girls would be plenty happy playing with Tupperware. I don't own any Tupperware, but I had a bunch of those Glad containers that we use for leftovers. Ava and Julia were more than contented to play with those. Ava and I also played a good solid round of "Peekaboo" under my kitchen table. She's just the right height to stand underneath it and not hit her head. I thought that was pretty funny. The more she laughed at me, the more I laughed at her. The day did my heart a load of good.

Health-wise I'm doing well. I'm sleeping better (finally!) and my chest feels nice and clear. My energy level is improving and I'm at a comfortable weight. Tonight I have an appointment at the clinic to be screened for a drug study. It's for inhaled Levaquin. I'm really excited about that, especially if I'm lucky enough to be in the group that gets the real med and not the placebo. Levaquin is often the first oral antibiotic we try when I'm starting to get sick. It would be great if this study turns out to be something that keeps me in tip-top shape for several months.

Oh, and by the way, my little Coral bunny is doing much better today. She's been chasing around after Sandy and her head tilt is far less severe. I'm convinced she's going to make a full recovery. That's tremendous considering her prognosis the other night was so devastating.

Monday, January 05, 2009

How This for Ironic?

Last night around 9:00 I took a trip to the ER. The ANIMAL emergency room. Go figure that I'm finally feeling great and now one of my rabbits is sick. Thankfully I have an open enough schedule that I can take the time to properly care for my little furry friend. Coral has an E. Cuniculi infection. It's a type of protozoan that commonly attacks rabbits. Coral spent last night in the ER, and tonight she's at the animal hospital where her vet is. Sandy is hanging in there without her partner in crime by her side.

I happen to be doing fine. I have more energy than I've had in ages. We're currently a one car family (grrrrrrrr...hit and run to the Prius) so this morning I brought Brad to work. After that I ran a bunch of errands and then spent the rest of the day straightening up my workroom. There's still a lot to be done in it, but it's already a much more usable space for my writing projects. Now all I have to do is get crackin' on them!

Tonight I'm going to try to get to bed a bit early so I have plenty of energy for tomorrow. Kelly and the girls are coming for a visit and I can't wait to see them and give them all hugs!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Feelin' Fine in 2009!

Yesterday afternoon I was in a bit of a funk. I had zero motivation and just felt sort of blah. I'm going to blame it on the gloomy weather. Today I'm in a much better mood and my motivation and energy level were significantly improved. I got so much done today! Brad suggested that I make a list of things that are good about being at home, including things that I can do (not necessarily a "to-do" list, but more of a "can-do" list.) Here are just some of the things that I accomplished today:

1. Cleaned and organized the closet under the stairs
2. Washed the sheets and remade the bed. This is particularly significant because in the past I've been too winded or weak to carry laundry let alone make the bed myself.
3. Made chicken parmigiana for dinner
4. Washed and rehung the towels in the bathrooms

Not a bad little list, eh? Tomorrow I'll help Brad with the laundry which will FINALLY include getting some ironing done.

I'm still having some trouble getting to sleep at night. I hope that works itself out soon. Insomnia is something that really gets me off track when it happens. I'm praying that my days will be filled with enough activity that I will be tired enough for bed at reasonable times. I'm still taking a "lie down" (I lie down but don't necessarily sleep) in the afternoons around 2:00. Maybe that's what's goofing me up? I'm sure it will work itself out soon enough. It usually does.

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