Sunday, 29 April 2012

Tomorrow Started Today

In my last post on Tuesday I talked about how I was going to get back to exercise the next day.  Well, that didn't quite happen.  I started this blog under the auspice of being an honest account of the ups and downs of CF.  A record that, when I look at it I can give myself a pat on the back or a kick in the butt as necessary.  In the case of the sun run, pat on the back, in the case of the last 6 days, well you know where this is going.  Also a way for those around me to spur me on a bit if I'm allowing myself to slip in the motivation or progress aspect.
In the past week I've meant to go to the gym, left the house with the intention of going there among accomplishing some other errands.  I blew it off not once, but twice and the one time I actually did go, I cut my work out short because I felt guilty as I had come from the dog park and my puppy was still in the car (It wasn't particularly warm out, I just felt bad that she was lying in there by herself).  I have done some cardio a couple times this week, but only for 20-30 mins and I know well enough that that's not nearly enough to help cut through the normal daily buildup in my lungs.  Now granted my stomach isn't feeling 100% yet.  But that has absolutely nothing with what has been keeping me from exercising.  Laziness is the only real reason.
So, tonight I started things again, for real, no more talking about tomorrow.  Tonight I got out and did my normal Cardio walk with the dog.  It didn't feel great, there was some coughing, but it's done, and tomorrow I continue.  I don't know about you, but for me it always seems easier to continue something, then to start.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Fresh Start

I'll be honest, it's been a week since I last posted, and I have been a lazy bugger for that time.  Sleeping between 12 and 13 hours a day, lazing on the couch for the remainder.   No cardio, no gym and since my baby girls are visiting their grandparents, not even daddy duties.  Now I guess some might say that since I had Hernia Surgery last week I was technically behaving.  Piffle.
All that being said, there's not a whole lot of stuff to update people on since there hasn't been a whole lot of daily excitement in my daily ritual.  Honestly though, I am seriously suffering from a severe case of cabin fever.  I definitely have a new appreciation for the 4 months of bed rest my wife got to "enjoy" before she gave birth to our girls.  Although, really it must of been much easier for her because at least she had me around to annoy and pester her for a few hours in the evening when would I get home from work.  Really, I'm sure it helped to make her feel grateful for those day time hours when I wasn't around : ).  So obviously, on top of uncomfortable and inert, I've been kinda bored.  Not so bored that I've resorted to playing with my kids Fisher Price Farm, but lets just say that today it started looking way more entertaining then I'm comfortable with.
Good news though, all in all the surgery itself seems to have been successful, now hopefully it will hold for more than a couple years this time.  And better news, tomorrow is when I get off my lazy hump and get my butt back in gear.  I've only got a couple days of IV antibiotics left, and if I go off them having not done any sort of exercise for the previous 10 days, I'm definitely going to regret it.  My stomach feels, well, mostly mended, enough so that I feel pretty comfortable with starting to get my exercise back on track.  Slowly, of course, but steadily increasing.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Day 60 - Todd 1, Sun Run 0 : )

The thing I've decided on in my attempts to get my health on a consistent path of goodness the last two months is that if I look at the end result I'm just going to get over-whelmed or lose interest.  I've already noticed a few little bad habits already creeping in over the past couple of weeks.  Not sanitizing my nebulizer mouth piece with the regularity I should.  Perhaps not forcing myself to have that last little snack before my big pre-sleep gorging.  I'm still doing a ton of good things, things I wasn't doing before.  And these are by no means massive lapses in my care, I'm just illustrating how easy it is for these little concessions to creep back into our daily habits.  But by setting little goals that are a month away, a month and a half away, it helps because that gives me a definitive target to work towards that's on the horizon, but not too far in the distance that I just decide to forget about it.  The most recent target date came yesterday.  Yesterday was the Vancouver Sun Run, an annual event where 60 to 70 thousand runners decide to torture themselves for an hour or two early on a chilly April morning.  Admittedly, as I stood there with my Father and Brother-in-law shivering away for the half hour before the race, I wondered for a moment why the heck I was bothering with this when I could be at home comfortably snuggled under my covers.  Once the race started though, I just set to it to give it my best effort.  I made no delusions of being able to run the whole thing.  In my training leading up to it, I'd never really managed run for more than a half mile at one time.  No, I was planning on walking, but walking at a good pace.  And I made a promise to myself that at the end of the race, I wasn't going to have left anything on the table.  In my opinion, I kept my promise.  I managed to run the first kilometer before slowing to walking, and pushed myself to run as often as possible throughout and finish by running the final kilometer to the finish line.  As for my result, I'd hoped to at least do better the 1h30min.
As you can see, I more than met my goal.  I generally try to stay even keel on things, not get to high or too low.  If it's bad news, I find the good, if its good news I temper it with how it could be better.  I'm not going to lie though, I'm really happy with this result.  I couldn't have seen myself performing any better, especially considering I did this while awaiting Hernia Surgery!  Now I'm just going to have to try and improve on that next year.  I'd also like to thank my Dad and Brother-in-law for being there with me, even though once the run started I told them to bugger off and not worry about staying with me, it was really nice knowing they were there.  And I'm pretty proud at the time my dad put in who was in the top 100 for his age bracket.
Well tomorrow is my much ballyhooed hernia surgery so I can finally get that bad boy repaired.  This means I'll have to take a step back from the exercise for the next couple weeks, but I've already set my next mini target date.  May 27th is the great strides walk, now it's only a walk and not a run and its only 5km, but it'll be 5km of me pushing a twin stroller so I'll need to have myself in pretty good shape : ).  I'll also be fundraising for it so if there is anyone out there who wants to chip in to the cause I'll have info on that later.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Day 56 - But it was only two days ...

Saturday night was a pretty good night.  I've been preparing for the Sun Run that's coming up here in a couple of days.  Saturday I wanted to try and extend the distances I'd been going so that the 10k wouldn't be too much of a shock.  I managed 7k in about an hour.  Not too shabby.  Then I kinda let the wheels fall off the bus a little bit.   First, because I was so happy with my efforts on Saturday, and the fact that Sunday and Monday were going to be pretty busy days with Eastery stuff to do, I decided to give myself a couple of days off Cardio.  The only problem with this is that, because it was a long weekend, my Gym's hours were all wonky and as it turned out I couldn't manage to find a time to get in when it was open.  As a result I didn't really do a whole heck of a lot in terms of exercise from Saturday Evening thru to Tuesday Night's walk.  Now this may not have been so bad, but in the chaos of Easter Egg hunts I made a real booboo.  I forgot my enzymes with my morning Shake on Sunday which then led to two or three days of my Intestinal Tract being completely turned upside down.  Needless to say, when I went to go and do my Cardio on Tuesday evening after week ... I got my butt absolutely handed to me.  I was winded within a block, hacking up a storm and had zero energy because my stomach had been so upset in the previous few days.
It's really amazing how quickly things can slide, even when you've been on a great roll.  But then that's kinda the point of this blog.  To keep myself accountable, to document and celebrate the things I'm doing well AND show when I screw up too.  I let my foot off the gas for a few days, now it's time to hit that accelerator again. I only have 5 days left before my surgery, when i won't be able to exercise even when I want to.  I've got to try and do as much as can in the meantime.  Anyways, next update will be following my 10k, My target time I'm aiming for is to finish in under 1 hr 30 min.  Here's hoping, fingers crossed.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Day 51 - How CF affects everyone BUT me.

To say that I bear the brunt of the physical effects of Cystic Fibrosis would hardly be an earth-shattering revelation to anybody.  However, when it comes to the emotional impact of CF I would say it's those around me, and especially those who are really close to me, that really have to carry that burden.
I remember a couple of years ago a friend of mine got in touch with me.  It turned out that her one year old son had just been diagnosed with CF.  I offered to come by and talk with her and her husband about just what my life with CF entailed and hopefully attempt to ease some of the doom and gloom they might be feeling after receiving this megaton bomb of news.  Their concerns were pretty normal given the situation.  They were worried about just how there son would be able to deal with this bit of news as he grew older.  What I told them is pretty much what I tell everyone who asks how I deal with the mental side of CF.  It's my normal, being diagnosed at 3 months of age I've never known anything other than living with CF and the very fact that one day it might get me is something I came to terms with almost at the same time as I developed the ability for cognitive thought.  To be honest, the amount of thought I give it in your average day is probably the same amount of time I devote to just what Kim Kardashian is up to.  The way I see it, it's way harder to be diagnosed with something like cancer when your in your 20's or 30's because suddenly your life is changing and changing drastically.
If you were to ask those around me, however, I guarantee you they spend a whole lot more time thinking about it, especially when I'm sick.  Before I talked to my friend, I asked my Mom how she dealt with and came to terms with my having Cystic Fibrosis.  Understandably, her way involved a lot of tears in a lot of different places.  Now, people who know me, know that I can be a bit of a crier at times.  Happy times, sad times, movies, weddings, seeing my girls in their first ultrasound, well, you get the picture.  The number of times I have shed a tear over having CF ... still sitting at 0.  I don't hate it, I don't love it ... I nothing it.  It's hard for those around us because they are forced to sit by helplessly and watch.  All they can give is their love and support, which, from my perspective helps immensely, but from their perspective, I'm sure at times it must seem almost hollow and meaningless.  The hard truth is, they can't breathe for me, they can't run for me and much to the chagrin of many, they can't eat for me.  Even harder for them, is in those times when I really have to hunker down, I don't usually have the time, energy or wherewithal to notice and ease the angst they're feeling.  The other hard thing, is that like many CFer's I've met, I'm really good at putting on the brave face.  Even on my worst days I greet everyone with a smile and a bright hello and after they ask how I'm doing I'm always "ok". It's a habit, the truth is there's a lot of days when things aren't 100% ok.  There are actually very few days when everything is 100% ok and usually things vary between different degrees below ok.  However, it's just easier to say I'm ok then trying to explain exactly what I'm feeling.  Now, while this makes it easier for me, it makes it tougher for them to get an idea of just how things are really going.
Now that I think about it, in all honesty I probably spend way more time worrying about how everybody else is doing with how my CF is going, than the actual facts of how my CF is going.

Now one last thing before I sign off for the night.  That same friend of mine whose son was diagnosed with CF has done an amazing job of organizing a film fest fundraiser for CF for anybody in the lower mainland.  So, I wanted to help get the word out.  For anybody who can come, Cinema For a Cure; a double feature in support of Cystic Fibrosis research is happening on Saturday May 5th at the Denman Street Cinema @ 1779 Comox St in Vancouver.  They'll be showing two CF related movies, one a drama, the other a documentary.  If you are interested you should definitely go because in my humble opinion its a very good cause : ).

Monday, 2 April 2012

Day 46 - CF Concessions

Whenever I tell people about my life with CF they always comment on how hard it must be, or how much I have to sacrifice in order to do the things needed to stay healthy.  I thought it might be an interesting idea for a posting to discuss the top three "concessions" I've had to make for CF.  Now I don't want the tone of this blog to be misconstrued.  This isn't some blog of me doing my best Hamlet impression and spouting "O, woe is me" in fact its just the opposite.  Actually, to be honest, I actually had to brainstorm a bit to come up with what I felt were three legitimate concessions.  In truth I wanted to write this just as an example of how little I really have had to sacrifice and just how "normal" a life I've managed to live.
1) Realistic Career Choices - I remember when I was growing up, probably when I was around 11 or so and watching Backdraft, I thought firefighters were really cool.  One day I was talking with my mom and off hand I said how awesome it would be to be a fireman.  My mom then explained to me the reasons why being a firefighter was never going to be a real option.  Now I don't want to make this sound like one of those moments were a parent just crushes the hopes and dreams of a child, because this was just the passing fancy of a young boy and she was very supportive in explaining why it was an unrealistic idea.  Later when I was in my twenties I started to developed an enjoyment for acting.  I took some classes, had a few parts on stage and even did some Improv and I was damn good in my own humble opinion.  Again I started fantasizing about acting as a career.  But the more I did it, the more I looked around at the other people I was acting with and noticing one common denominator, those trying to make it work didn't exactly have much job security or a gold plated health plan.  That was when I started to realize Sacrifice Number 1 - that whatever career I chose, I was going to have to make the smart choice and perhaps not chase the fantasy.  That being said, I've been really fortunate, I've found a job enjoy, but one that at the same time offers me amazing job security and health benefits. Now, maybe I'm not out fighting fires, or a master thespian, but really, I'm okay with that.
2) High impact sports - Now Number 2 could be argued to be a sacrifice that most people either have to or maybe ought to make as they get older.  But it was a choice I was forced to make at perhaps an earlier age than some.  Growing up, I was very active in sports, low impact, high impact, it didn't matter.  I snowboarded and went skiing regularly, I also played hockey fairly competitively from the age of seven until I was twenty.  Nowadays, however, I mostly avoid sports where there is a higher risk for serious injury.  Especially anything that would result in an injury that would keep me off my feet for an extended period of time.  Now this was a decision I'd mostly arrived at on my own, but it was seeing the impact an injury like this had on a close friend of mine with CF that pushed me over the edge in this decision.  One day she was snowboarding and had a fall that resulted in her breaking her pelvis.  She recovered in time, but was the first to admit that she was never able to fully come back to her old self after that injury and it was the beginning of a downward trend in her overall lung function numbers.  The key thing is there are so many other activities that are great exercise and an amazing experience that cutting out a few activities that introduce a higher level of risk, is something I can live with.
3) Booze and Drugs - I'm not saying I've lived a Quakeresque lifestyle and never partaken in illicit activities or imbibed the occasional spirit.  I'm just saying I don't anymore.  I'd been told since I was a kid that I wouldn't be able to live it up the way most people could because of the high toll the medications I take had already had on my poor beleaguered Liver.  My doctors weren't so naive as to say never drink, but they always advised me to be smart and use moderation.  And for the most part I listened to them, on the other hand, I did go to University and well ... anyways.  I'm fortunate however that none of the choices I made when I was younger have come back to haunt me in any measurable sense.  My decision in the end though was quite simple.  I've always struggled with dehydration, and booze really dehydrated me.  Now when I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I would tend to recover fairly quickly.  However by my mid to late twenties those quick recoveries now took the better part of a week where I was coughing out thick sludge and my stomach had the worst case of gut rot imaginable.  To me, it was an extremely easy decision to just cut out alcohol completely as I rarely drank for the taste and more often drank for the drunk.  Every now and then I crave a beer on a hot summer day, and some days I even relent and have one, but those days are rare.
So, there you have it.  My big three sacrifices.  To some people they may seem huge, even impossible, but from my perspective what am I really giving up.  The other side that I prefer to look at, is look at everything I have, a good job, a beautiful wife, two adorable baby girls and a nice house.  So if making these three sacrifices means I get to enjoy those things for even one extra day, then it is totally and unquestionably worth it.