Monday, 27 February 2012

Day 12 - Adversity Adshmersity

So I know I promised a long winded and overly wordy dissertation on my pros and cons of the PICC line vs IVAD ports.  However, that was before I found out that I would be visited by a lovely virus for the past few days.  It came on at some point on Saturday.  At first I thought it was just general lethargy so I decided to ignore it and push on with my daily bike rides I've been doing ... that may not have been the best idea.  As a result I felt Saturday evening and all of Sunday with a headache that left me feeling somewhere between the guy that Michael Ironside decided to pick on in Scanners, and the scene when Schwarzenegger gets sucked out onto Mars surface.
Ok, ok, maybe I'm taking a little creative liberty with just how bad the headache was, but considering I'm already on this lovely cocktail of IV antibiotics I'm not exactly running at 100%.  That and I watched Total Recall yesterday and seriously, Schwarzenegger made some seriously awesome faces in that movie, I'm so tempted to do a weird Schwarzenegger faces montage but I promise, I'll resist.

So back to the point, the final damage as a result of this little virus means I lost two days of exercise as I also took today off to make sure I was totally over it.  The good news is the outside of losing those two days of exercise, the damage was relatively minimal.  My cough seems to be up a little bit, but I don't really feel any new congestion points.  I'm also sporting an awesome husky whisper as I seem to have completely lost my voice.  Other than that though I managed to force myself to keep my eating up and the rest of the bug seems to have run its course.

Now, since at first the only symptoms present were headaches, a little virus is better than the alternative.  Let me explain, this is one of those times where home IV can be a bit more difficult than a hospital stay.  You have to be very good at noticing warning signs and reacting appropriately.  This is what led to two firetrucks and two ambulances outside my parents house on a Saturday night when I was on Home IV and staying there alone 11 years ago, as well as one of the more entertaining times I've had hanging out at an inner city ER, but that's a story for another day.

One of the meds I'm on is Tobramycin.  One of the side-effects is elevated creatinine levels.  Creatinine is a waste molecule that is created in the blood and filtered out by the kidneys.  If these levels get too high it can lead to complete renal failure.  Obviously, this would be bad.  Now here what they do for patients on Tobramycin doing home IV is that we go in twice a week for blood work so that they can monitor these levels.  Depending on what this blood work shows thy will adjust the dosage amount they send me.  In the past I've had elevated levels as a direct result to being on Tobra and one of the main symptoms that shows up is dehydration.  Now class, all together, what are two of the top signs of dehydration ... lethargy and headaches.  Needless to say when my sore throat showed up and I lost my voice late last night, I was strangely happy.  Had the headaches continued into this morning and no other symptoms had shown up, I was going to be making a few phone calls to some medical professionals.

All in all though, I'm still determined to keep the progress going.  This is just the first little bit of adversity thrown my way in my fresh start to try and get fit.  There will be plenty more in the weeks and months ahead I have no doubt. I'm as focused and determined as ever to keep my progress going.  I've managed to gain 10 lbs in the last two weeks, this means I only have 15-20 lbs to go before I hit my ideal target weight.  Tomorrow, provided I feel as good as I did today, I'm back to the gym for some solid cardio and a circuit of weights.

Thanks again to everyone who keeps reading and offering the encouragement, it's your feedback and support that allows me to take any adversity in stride and have the strength to not let it faze me.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Day 8 - Weigh-in day

Just a short update today.  I was talking to my wife yesterday about how today was weigh-in day and both of us were struck by the same mental picture.  We just couldn't help seeing me as one the people on biggest loser every time I step up to the scale, but unlike them I hope the number goes up, not down.  Now, I've been working bloody hard the past week on both weight and exercise.  That being said, it's nice to see some sort of tangible result.  Now with exercise it's hard to have tangible results, other than feeling better each time you do it and pushing yourself to do a little bit more.  Usually it's only after extended period of consistent exercise that you can look back and realize how far you've come.  With weight, it's a lot easier to track progress in the short term, either I gained weight in the last seven days, or I didn't.    Now it should have gone up since I've been averaging over 5000 calories, but when fighting an infection that burns through the calories I eat, you just never know.
For those curious my exercise is also going really well, I took yesterday off and I just felt weird. Back at it today though with another half-hour bike ride and got the lungs going really well. Also did a second trip to the gym.
Later this weekend I'm going to do a big update on the pros and cons of getting a IVAD port or sticking with PICC lines.  It will be a bit long winded but, hopefully helpful for any other CFer's trying to make the decision.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Day 5 - Curious Todd Goes to the Gym

So it's been a while since I graced a gym with my presence.  I did the actual figuring and I think it's been about three years since I last lifted a weight in anger and at least seven years since I was working out with any real regularity.  Now in that time a couple things seem to have changed that I feel some one should have told me about.  It is clear that one of two things has happened, either:

a) They have made some changes to the metric system
2) They developed some sort of gravity enhancement machine that increases the force of gravity in the gym

These are clearly the only two possible explanations.  All kidding aside, it felt great to be back in the gym.  Really for anybody who hasn't been for a long time and are worried about trying to get back into it, as cliche as it sounds, it's just like riding a bike.  I only did a basic workout, Bench Press, Lat Pull-Downs, Shoulder Press, Bicep Curls, Tricep Pull-downs and Squats and I kept the weights low in order to avoid looking like this guy:

Normally I'd have done sit-ups of some kind, but since I'm still waiting on my surgery date for my hernia repair, I figured that may be a bad idea.  The bike cardio is also going well, I managed 30 minutes a day for the past 3 days.

Thanks again to everybody who's been sending positive thoughts my way, it's really helping to inspire me to keep pushing.  Also, if anybody has suggestions or topics that they'd like me to address feel free to let me know.

Pet Peeve of the day - Anyone who knows me, knows I sometimes tend to move, well ... quickly and maybe a little bit clumsy.  Add in tubes, and well, I think you can see where this is going. Luckily I tend to double bandage my injection site give myself a little more leeway, but I'm getting so tired of catching my damn lines on every little thing.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Day 2 - So far so motivated

Well, here's the update for day two.  First off I want to start by thanking everybody for the awesome encouragement I got after my first post the other day.  It's always a bit nerve wracking putting yourself out there for everybody to see, so to have as many people look at as they have and to comment back as they did felt really, really great.

Now onto the news.  Got hooked up to my old familiar friend the CADD Prism Pump.  This means I'll get to be looking like I'm ever so stylish carrying around my man murse.  I may just have to go out and pick up a pair of capris to finish off the outfit just so I can try and say I'm following the latest in European fashion.

On second thought, no.  Capris are out.  I have bony shins and they may get cold a little bit nippy, what with it being winter and all.

Now for a little update on my progress.  In my last blog I talked about wanting to avoid shortcuts.  From the way I can see it daily CF care for me breaks down into three elements:
1) Medications
2) Food and Diet
3) Physical Exercise

So far it's going pretty well, yesterday I managed go for 20 minutes at a pretty good clip on the Stationary Bike and then topped that today with 25 minutes.  Ok so maybe after I finished I felt less like this:
and more like this:
But regardless of how I felt at the end, the key is, I did it.  I got my butt moving and my lungs flowing.

A great blog that I've been using to help get me motivated is Ronnie Sharpe's, a fellow Fibro from Arizona.  He's been throwing down the daily exercise challenge from his hospital in Tucson and I've decided to try and do my best to match him step for step.  His blog by the way is @

I've also been doing my best with eating for the past week and hitting my meds with 100% accuracy.  Now admittedly, I don't entirely trust my scale upstairs but in theory, since it's digital it should have some semblance of accuracy (geez, could I fit the paranoid weight watcher stereotype any more, yeah ... it's the scale, that's the problem). Anywho, so when I weighed myself last week, I was coming in at 130.5 lbs, last night in the same clothes and at the same time I weighed in at 134.5 lbs.  Now even if the increase is off by 50% I'd still have managed to gain almost a Kilo in a week.  My minimum target goal is to get my weight back to at least 150 lbs.

Now, so far, it's all roses and puppydogs.  Things are going well, but right now I'm motivated.  Admittedly, the early results with the weight gain has me really stoked.  I am tempering my enthusiasm though.  The real test will be a few months from now when I maybe start to slip back into some of the old habits.  That's going to be the purpose of this blog and hopefully the more people that follow and offer encouragement the better it'll go.

Pet peeve of the day - Damn itchy skin under the opsite bandage for my port. OMFG, I just want to itch it so freeking much : ).

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Day 0 - It's time to start

Ok, so, here goes.  I’ve decided that today will be ground zero.   Last December I let my PFTs drop to 48%.  This just 5 months after last being on IV antibiotics.  Now some people will look at this and say, that’s really not that bad.  Even at my worst that wouldn’t even qualify me onto the list for transplant.  Others would point out that I’ve had a pretty remarkable and magical year and so it’s understandable if I’ve been distracted and things have slipped a bit.  Any slip could even be somewhat attributed to  yet another Hernia (that’s number 7 for those of you keeping score at home, I may have seen this surgery enough times that I can do it from home next time).  All of these are true.  Truth is, as often as other people have told these things to me, I’ve told myself all these things as well.   So now it’s time to do something about it.

The last few weeks I’ve been laying the ground work to try and start approaching my health head on.  Doing everything I can to make my health as good as I can.  This means no more shortcuts.  Lord knows I’ve got a few pretty good reasons to put the effort in.

In the next few days I'll be posting on just what things I haven't been doing and what I'm planning to do about it.  Hopefully by showing my own little foibles some others out there may see some similarities and be inspired to make some changes themselves.

Now, onto the blog, the purpose for the blog is that it’s going to be something that:
1)     1)  Allows me to track my progress from this point on to see just were my health can be if I do all the things I that will help it.
2)      2) Allows others with CF to see what I’m trying to do and how I manage to deal with the obstacles that came my way in trying to accomplish this (and hey any pointers along the way will always be appreciated).
3)      3) Finally to try to provide an example of what can be accomplished with CF regardless of what supposed limitations are said to exist.

This first post has been kind of serious in tone and that really isn’t my intention for my blog.  As a result, there is no better way to end this then the following …