Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013 Recap, Pregnancy, and a New Blog

Do you realize that last year I wrote an enormous amount of entries on this blog? Oh, what, you can't sense the sarcasm dripping off that last sentence? I wrote 5 posts people. 5 posts in a whole year. This coming from the girl who gets mad if her favorite bloggers don't have their posts up by 10 am each day.

Well, I apologize for the super awful blogger-ness lately. So let's get down to the important stuff, a recap if you will: 2013 in a nutshell.

1. January: The first year I didn't make traditional resolutions since I think you don't need a new year to change what you want to change, you just need commitment. Kyle also decided to post-pone his PhD qualifying exam until the end of summer.
2. February: Um... nothing rings a bell, must have been an exciting month.
3. March: Went on a 10 day honeymoon cruise where we proceeded to be seasick for 4 days, get the worst sunburns of our lives on day 3, met a monkey, saw & walked in the rainforest, and discovered the deliciousness that is mojitos.
4.April: I guess nothing significant happened this month?
5. May: I built a bunch of things with powertools, and started working on the dreaded porch. I managed to paint the porch ceiling, and start the trim.
6. June: Finished painting the porch including the floor! We had only been working on it for oh, you know, 2 years.
7. July: Helped my family I nannied for move to a different state and said goodbye to my job of the last 2 years. =( Also got sinus surgery for the first time. I CAN BREATHE THROUGH MY NOSE PEOPLE! And yes, all caps was necessary for that statement.
8. August: Healed from surgery started working out regularly in attempt to gain weight & muscle. Kyle passes his Qualifying exams and doesn't get kicked out of the PhD program. Hooray! I got a new job close to my house.
9. September: I start going for acupuncture for 'fertility' while continuing to gain weight via working out and whathave you. I took kyle camping towards the end of the month for his birthday and totally impresses him by making a fire in the pitch dark with nothing but the things we gathered. (After he had taken some attempts and given up!) I also hated my new job.
10. October: I quite my new job.Went into the hospital for a tune up and found out I was pregnant!
11. November:  I only experienced 4 days of being 'sick' in the first trimester but they were of course the days around thanksgiving where Kyle's family came down. His mom wanted to rush me to the ER, so we abandoned the plan and broke the good news a bit earlier than intended to his parents.
12: December: We told all my family, and remaining family on Kyle's side that we were pregnant! We also visited all our friends and broke the good news. I started the second trimester this month too.


I'm writing baby updates on a different blog these days. And by 'these days' I mean I've written 2 posts. You're welcome to follow along if you'd like. Blog link here!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I swear I'm still alive!

My name is Beth, and I have a blogging problem. I used to blog here, it was a long long time ago. Then I stopped.

Eh, what are you really gonna do about it you know? Life gets in the way. There was also the thing of I had nothing meaningful at all to jibber-jabber about into cyber space.

Sure, I could have written posts about sinus surgery (went well), losing 12 pounds that I worked so hard for (I blame the surgery), my husband finally passing his PhD qualifying exams (hallelujah!), or just how in-love with summer I am, and how sad I am to see it go... but, nothing seemed right.

Even this entry doesn't fit the criteria of 'blog worthy'; a hard thing to come by these days. Yet, alas, here it is. I really just wanted to let you- my faithful readers- (cricket cricket) know that I am still alive.

The end.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Afraid of the Dark

When reading my blog title, if you immediately thought of the old Nickelodian show Are You Afraid of the Dark, ten extra points to you.  Unfortunately you lose those ten extra points because this is no way,shape or form, connected to Nic's awesomely perhaps-too-scary-for-a-gullible-7-year-old show. . . bummer right?

One of the bloggers I follow recently wrote a post that I cannot stop thinking about. I often find when Cindy writes that I like to read and reread what she's written because she so beautifully takes a world full of chaos and managed to break it down into it's simplicities at their finest.

She mentions she's a planner, and I think have CF makes all of us planner to some degree. Unfortunately  we just can't up and go on some exciting spontaneous trip. We need to carefully calculate how long we'll be gone, how long we'll be traveling without a fridge, counting pills, trying to plan any unforeseen hiccups just incase we need extra dosages of anything. . . we're natural planners. We plan when to squeeze in treatments and how to spend our few spoons of energy when we're sick. Planning the most appropriate times to head in for a 'clean-out' or tune-up. Like it or not, we plan the heck out of any situation. A lot of the time, our health and lives depend on it.

While Cindy has declared that she's finding peace with letting the future stay dark, I am - have always been- afraid of the dark. Give me light of any source and I will run and cower under it, lest those shadow monsters try to nibble my toes! I'm not sure what it is about not knowing that makes that sea of anxiety creep up, flooding my body until it finds it's escape through my eyeballs. Darn those leaky tear ducts  can't even hold my anxiety ocean back.  While my loving husband has thrown me life-vest after life-vest there are sometimes that even with the life-vest I can't help shake that panic of "Help, me! I'm drowning."

I read so many positive CF bloggers out there and then I sit down to write and all that comes flowing from my fingers is negativity. Anxiety. Suddenly, I'm a too gullible seven year old clutching to my flashlight under my covers because yes, turns out, I am afraid of the dark.  It's something I've struggled with my entire life, and I think I will continue to struggle with my entire life more. Oddly enough, I'm okay with that. We all struggle at times, some more than others. Just like the universe, my natural state happens to be chaos.

While I may feel overwhelmed with options or directions my life could go in, I also feel grateful, humbled and incredibly small. To be experiencing such infinity can be paralyzing. And while I'm still grasping to my flashlight I take comfort in knowing that should my flashlight ever dim, falter or even die; even in the darkest of nights my eyes would eventually adjust and I would be able to find my way (hopefully to a light switch!)  Would it be scary? At first, of course! But given time, I may not need a flashlight after all.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Haikus and Norovirus'

It's been a long time since I've written Haiku's so forgive me if the format is completely bogus. I decided to stick with 5-7-5 mini haiku's since I don't know if you have a bunch strung together if it's still a haiku. If you know feel free to enlighten me.

It's also been a long time since I've thrown up. And coughing till you throw up is sooo much different than your body just naturally throwing up. I forgot how gross it was. I also don't think I will ever pair Indian food with steamed cabbage ever again.

Without further ado the Norovirus Haiku:

Indian food and more
Why is this bathroom so small?
Here it comes again.

Oh norovirus
you now hate even water
bye bye all my food

Being up all night
praying to the porcelain
let this be the last

But surprise, it's not!
the norovirus I loathe
settle down belly

now that it's morning
I've thrown up all that I can
finally resting

slinking off to bed
with a bucket in my hand
sleep? sleep? sleep? sleep?

On the bright side, I've managed to keep my humor. At one point in-between heaves I was chuckling because throwing up cabbage is actually pretty darn funny.

Friday, January 11, 2013

1100 mg of Lithium is 1100mg too many.

A fellow blogger, John, asked about my increase in lung function and what I did to get it there.While I certainly don't have a neat and tidy answer, it did make me reflect on the journey to this point. So here goes, my "So much more than you actually wanted to know" story:

I can still remember the day I went into my new clinic feeling like crap, even though just a few weeks prior I had had a tune-up. I blew a 47. Forty-seven! I was devastated  I was completely heartbroken. All I could picture was my sister strapped to her o2 machine, knitting to pass the time while she waited for a new pair of lungs, and here I was blowing a 47. As much as I loved my sister there was no way I wanted to follow in her footsteps.

I struggled in 2009 with a mis-diagnoses of bi-polar disorder and was put on SO many toxic doses of medications I didn't need. Let me tell you one thing, anti-convulsants as a mood stabilizers are pretty nasty on their own, never mind if you don't actually need them.  I was physically and emotionally ill. Terrifying doesn't even begin to cut it.

My new clinic, they were my savior. Those two pediatric pulmonologists saved my life. I packed my bags and headed in. They managed to bring me up to the 60's again and my lungs felt amazing. They tried to help me sort out my 'craziness,' as I used to call it by having a couple of psychiatric fellows come give me an evaluation. Unfortunately, at such a stressful time, not to mention being slowly poisoned by lithium, all the symptoms I described make it appear that I was indeed, still bi-polar and still needing medical help. They tweaked my dosage and sent me back to the regular psychiatrist who almost killed me. Literally. [That's a whole other story. for sure.]

With healthy lungs I tried to carry on. I had just moved down to Virginia (hence new clinic) to be with my now husband Kyle.  I had no friends, no job, was stuck in an apartment all day because the anxiety of leaving was crippling  Unfortunately  I still have some lingering anxiety problems due to all the complexities that arose because of that silly mis-diagnoses.  I got sick, I got even more depressed and a lot of tears were shed.

It was going home for christmas and sitting in a ball crying while everyone was out sledding that did me in. I had had enough. I weaned myself off with a tapering dose of my anti-convulsants , anti-psychotics and threw away my anxiety pills. (probably not the best call on that one!) but miraculously I started feeling better. Not, "I HAVE MANIA I FEEL AWESOME" better, but better.

When we got home, I packed my bags and went in again. I blew a 53 that time. I let them know what I was doing with my 'crazy meds' and they set someone up to follow me/ monitor the taper: which I rocked at apparently. Go me! Although I did get quite the scolding for starting tapering on my own! DONT DO THIS! GET YOUR DOCTORS PERMISSION! Then they introduced me to Shannon. She also was a vital part in saving my life. She was a grad student working with the CF clinic to get her  psychology masters, or PhD. She was interested in becoming a counselor to those with chronic illness, more specifically CF.

I saw Shannon twice a week, and then once a week. Turns out I didn't need mood stabilizers, I just needed someone to listen to me. She helped me figure out my frustrations and anxiety, all the while, giving me tools to help cope and deal with them in a positive way. I think everyone needs a Shannon.

I left the hospital at 74%, that's 20% higher folks. Twenty! Although, we thought that was a false high coming off a 3 week course of prednisone. But man, I loved life. I made some friends, started exercising, got a job, became compliant. That year rocked. 2010 man; it was a great year.

I managed to find a base line of 68% and keep my lungs there! We managed to figure out that a general/meal/sleep schedule was key, and I couldn't sleep too much or that made me feel sick too! We were on a roll. 2011 carried on the same way and it was great. I continued to improve seeing 70's here and there. --Side note, I also went from a sickly skinny just barely 90 lbs, back to the low hundred range!--

When I moved to Baltimore I knew what had to be done: get a job, establish a routine, find some friends, and get some exercise. I was feeling so optimistic about everything. And then, the worst hospital stay of my life occurred and if I needed any more motivation to stay healthy that'll do it. After that disaster I was determined to stay out of that hospital for as long as sanely possibly. And I did. 18 months or so.

I really kept up my schedule of vesting & doing inhaled meds right in the morning, I picked up my activity level with a dog, gymnastics and lots of DIY projects around the house. And I've been flying ever since. But the biggest contributor to SUCH high numbers, would be Kalydeco. While I managed to get up to 72-74% by myself, Kalydeco really helped push me over the edge and I was that 82% after my first tune-up on Kalydeco.  --side not again, I also think gaining some weight has helped out too! The heavier I weigh, the higher my fev1 creeps--

After reflecting on all of this, while I still hold some bitter feelings towards some medicines *cough- yea I'm looking at you, you anti-psychotics -cough* I feel so grateful that we have modern medicine and that I am blessed enough financially (and I guess genetically too!) to be a part of some exciting new drugs. I couldn't even begin to imagine where I'd be if I didn't have such caring, passionate and dedicated doctors down in Virginia. I am so sad that they can't continue to treat me, but they'll always hold such a special place in my heart.

Phew! This entry was wicked long. (Fun fact, using wicked as an adjective is a RI/MA thing I think, just like coffee milk and Dels. )

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Resolutions, Shmesolutions.

There's this thing about resolutions that tends to really bug me. Everyone is all, "new year, new me!" "totally gonna lose all that weight this year!" or "listen to my outrageous resolutions, wooo!" and I'm all like, "dude, I just wanna keep my room clean."

Can you believe I wanted to start my entry like that? I've written about three different openings and none are sounding right. So I put that entry (above) on hold to look up my last few new years entries. Well, imagine my surprise when I couldn't find a single one! Jeez-  talk about slacking. I could have sworn I wrote one about always promising to keep my room clean last year, but I probably wrote it in April, so I still couldn't find it. No big deal, moving on.

Happy New Year everyone! I've been reflecting on my resolutions this year, or rather the idea of resolutions. People seem to have this idea that with the turn of a new year, they can accomplish everything they've ever dreamed of doing for years. No, seriously, they're gonna do it, it's a new year. Motivation kicks in, they're on a roll and then Valentines day shows up with it's tiny messages printed on hard sugar, and love disguised as chocolate lumps in bright red heart boxes. And then America is all "What? we had resolutions? ARG!"

Wait, what do you mean this is just me?

Well, my point is I work hard every year to work towards some grand vision of what I want my life to be like in a few weeks, a few years  even a few decades, regardless if I say it aloud in January or not. If I'm constantly working so hard to achieve this, why would I want to discredit myself and make a resolution to basically start over, and try to be more awesome this time around? I already am awesome. =) I think we get wrapped up in the idea of bigger,  better, badder things - more more more. When really, this year I want to keep doing what I'm doing because it seems to be working.

In 2009 my goal was to get my lung function out of the 50's. Now, it's 2013 and I have managed to get it back into the 80's. I have never, in my wildest of dreams, thought that would be possible. 70's - yes, that was achievable in my mind, a lofty goal, but achievable. To be sitting here with 80% of my predicted lungs functioning? Well, I'm officially proud of myself. Go me. Whatever path I have stumbled upon I want to keep it up.

For 2013, I want to just keep going, keep living, and keep appreciating all the small things that I think tend to get overlooked. I want to live in the moment and savor the ordinary. I want to trust that by now, I know what I'm doing. I want to support, encourage, and appreciate others and really push myself to be more giving. I have been given so many wonderful opportunities and I am so thrilled at where I am in life for being 23. (Almost 24 at this point, darn, I've gotten start working on a new banner soon!)

For 2013 my resolution is to not make any resolutions. I know there are things I want to keep changing about my life, myself and even the world, but for right now, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. Here's to not feeling guilty when Valentines rolls around and you've forgotten what your resolution was!

What's your resolution this year?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

21 Drafts

21 Drafts! And no, I'm not talking about beer. Although that would be the most awesome bar if they had 21 different types of beer on draft. But I thought it was interesting that over a couple of months I have accumulated 21 drafts that just sit there, waiting.

Such a bummer I can usually never finish something I start. =D

That's all.