Monday, 28 May 2012

Great Strides both in the park and at Clinic

This past weekend was finally the Great Strides walk that I've been fundraising for for the past month and thanks so much to everybody who pledged me.  The generosity from people I haven't seen or heard from in years was really quite touching.  We woke up on Sunday morning dressed the girls all up in their red outfits so they'd match the team theme and hit the road for New West.   For those wondering, the feather boa was our team symbol, I'm not just trying to be a trend setter for male fashion.

It was really great seeing how many people showed up.  We got there a bit early so we let the girls play in the park for a little bit.

The walk went great, the weather was perfect, the girls were so well behaved as they let us push them around for 5km and even though we didn't go at a breakneck pace, it was really nice to not be winded after five minutes of walking.
Today the news got better.  I had my regularly scheduled clinic follow-up just to see how I'm doing post surgery with my recovery and how my lungs are getting along.  I thought going in I'd do ok.  I was really pleased with the results.  My weight has stayed pretty stable at just over 150lbs despite having had surgery a month ago and a pretty serious stomach flu just a couple of weeks ago.  What I was really happy with was my PFT results.  In December when I had my wake-up call that I needed to start doing things differently and what ultimately led to me starting this blog, my PFTs were sitting below 50%. In February, when I had decided on muy course of action and started putting my plan in place my PFTs were at 58%.  After my IV's were done in March and was tested in my follow-up I had elevated my numbers 67%.  After that appointment I had expressed a feeling that almost bordered on disappointment. I had worked so hard and "only" seen a 9% improvement.  Many would be thrilled at that number, but growing up I was spoiled by regular numbers of +90% and I think a small part of me, deluded as it may have been, thought it would be as simple as putting in a little work and I'd be right back up there.  This appointment my increase was less than last time, but I'm really thrilled with it nonetheless.  I set a goal of 70% in my blog in march.  Well I did that and then some and have gotten my numbers up to 73%.  What this appointment has done, is inspire me to stay the course.  I want to see just how much lung function I can claw back from this thing.  I really don't know what is realistic or even possible, so I'm just going to keep setting goals in five percent increments.  My last goal was 70% ... mission accomplished.  New Mission ... 75%.  After that, the next goal will be 80% and so on.  The other positive that I saw in my numbers was that it wasn't just my FEV1 number that was up, but all my numbers across the board when it came to lung function.  
This may sound kind of saccharine and cliched but on days like this, I really believe that if I keep up this level of dedication, I continue having the awesome support I have from family and friends, if all the amazing fundraising people are doing for CF continues and the progress in research and treatment keeps going, that this story will not only have it's happy ending, but that ending won't come for a very long time.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Good to bad and back to good

It's amazing how up and down things can go in such short periods of time.  Last weekend was a true up as we did all sorts of awesome family stuff.  Unfortunately Eva's getting sick in the van was an unfortunate little foreshadow of things to come.  By Tuesday the rest of the household had come down with a stomach virus the likes of which I have been fortunate to avoid for as far back as I can remember.  The larger ramifications of this little flu where that I while in its vicious little clutches I couldn't even hold down water.  Even though it was little more than a 48 hr flu, it has essentially meant back to ground zero in more than a few ways.  Luckily, it's not a complete reboot.  Today, 6 days after the flu hit me, was the first day that I have managed to eat the minimum amount I need to eat in a day.  Unfortunately my gut has always been super sensitive, it's the main reason I gave up drinking to excess because the hangovers would last at least a week or more every time.  I was talking with my sister earlier this week and she was saying how it must suck since I've spent so much effort trying to get my weight up, only to hit a wall like this.  The truth is, it just highlights how important it was for me to take the steps I did a few months ago.  I can only imagine where things would be if I was still sitting just north of 130lbs and this flu had hit me.
The other way this has hit me has been that I'm back to step one on the whole exercise thing, breathing hard just to get around the block once or twice and no gym for over a week.  But in truth that's ok too, the reason why is because I have a pretty well tracked plan on how to successfully, but at a reasonable rate, ramp my exercise level back up to where it needs to be.  So, on Thursday evening, after having gone back to work that morning, I coughed myself around the block.  On Friday, I did it twice.  I'm definitely still not 100%, the gut has a ways to go and my lungs a still a little plugged up, but I start Tobi on Wednesday for my four weeks on and that will definitely make the trek back to 100% that little bit easier.
On Sunday though, we loaded up the fam and went to the Vancouver Aquarium.  Definitely the highlight of the week as both girls stared at the giant aquariums filled with amazing fish and sharks and whales.  And also pretty cool that a week that started out so roughly could end on such a high point.  Just shows how quickly things can fall and then come right back up again.
Thanks again to everyone who has supported me in the great strides walk this coming weekend.  The donations have truly left me without words.  If you haven't had a chance to donate yet and still want to it's really easy.  You can do the donation online at my Great Strides page Great Strides™ 2012.  Or if you'd prefer you can contact me with a message and make a donation in cash or with a cheque.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Wacky Weekend Fun

Well we this weekend Carrie and I decided to get out for some family fun.  For starters, we finally saw some weather that almost resembled summertime.  This weekend was absolutely gorgeous, and since I've been doing so well, there is no way we were going to waste it.  We started by taking the girls to their first parade.  On Saturday they had the May Day parade down in down town PoCo, so we packed up some gear strapped the girls into their car seats and headed out.  The girls absolutely loved it.  Eva was fascinated as she watched the VPD motorcycle drill team weave up and down the street performing tricks.  Meanwhile Cassie decided that the parade was in desperate need of her involvement and continually tried to shake mommy she could walk with all the other people.  It was absolutely adorable and the girls were fascinated watching for nearly two hours as the parade passed them.  After the parade we went for a little walk, and maybe stopped at Dairy Queen for a little snack.  I guess it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise that the girls were a little sleepy.

On Sunday we decided to take the girls for their first real trip to the beach and thought we'd visit Fiona's favorite dog park at Buntzen Lake to do it.  Again we loaded up the minivan (I don't care how uncool people may think minivan's are, I love ours) and headed out on the road.  Since the weather was great the beach was filled.  Dogs everywhere and the girls cackled gleefully every time any of them came near enough to let them be petted.  They also got to spend some time digging in the sand, which, while they weren't sure about at first, they warmed up to as time went on.
We ended up the weekend with a great Mothers Day dinner at my Sister's place with her family and my Mom and Dad.  The sheer chaos of 4 kids, where the oldest is 2yrs and 8 mths and the average age of the four is something like 15 mths, is truly something to behold.  We had a great dinner and there only a few territorial battles throughout the evening.  Before we left we gave the girls a little night time snack, got them in their jammies and then bundled them up in the car.  Now, I'm not going to add a picture of the last part of our story more for your sake then anything else.  As we were driving home we stopped at superstore for Carrie to look for some red hats for the girls for our great strides walk in a couple of weeks.  I let Carrie out and went to go find a parking spot.  All of a sudden I heard some less then pleasant noises coming from Eva.  I looked back just in time to see the visual result of those noises as she decided to say goodbye to her dinner and snack in the fastest manner possible.  I quickly pulled into the fire lane and quickly got Eva out of here car seat.  Now Eva was quite upset by this turn of events because aside from the casual spit up as an infant this is the first time she's actually thrown up and she didn't really understand what was happening.  I quickly started the damage control and that was the moment when you realize how much you truly love your children.  Here I was, up to my elbows in nastiness as I tried to clean the car and cuddle Eva at the same time ... and my only thoughts were that I hoped she was ok.  No frustration, no anger, no repulsion at the mess, just parental concern. She was fine by the way and within minutes she was having the time of her life sitting in the front seat pushing buttons on the stereo while I made her car seat usable again.
The long and short of it is this was a truly great weekend and without all the effort that I've put in over the last few months, I never would have had the energy for it.  I didn't have time for any afternoon naps and while I'm tired, I'm not exhausted.  I also hope this can be an example for all those CF moms out there that worry if their son or daughter can have a normal life when they grow up.  It really doesn't get any more normal than hitting up a parade, the beach and celebrating mothers day with your wife and two baby girls.

I also just want to add a little addendum.  In two weeks I'll be participating in the Great Strides walk as a part of team "Reddy for a Cure".  It's a team put together in honour of Eva Markvoort and I'm accepting any and all pledges of any amount you can spare, every dollar helps.  Thanks to everyone who has already pledged me and I'll be sending out more personal individual thank yous to everyone who helps me after the walk.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Avoiding any Maylaise

It's been a week since my last post and I'm thinking that's probably the rate my posts may come for a little while unless something exciting and newsworthy occurs.  Seems that with treatments and babies and exercise and work etc, etc, etc life is very busy.  That being said though I'm doing my best to avoid falling into a rut and keep up with my mission/plan.  I've gotten back to the gym a couple times this week which is great and I haven't had any problems with my surgery site which is even better.  I've actually really enjoyed getting back into lifting weights and I've been doing a better, more well rounded and generally more honest workout than I did when I was younger.  It used to be when I went to the gym when I was in my early twenties I was going more for the vanity aspect of trying to put some muscle on my frame and to say I could bench press so and so amount.  That being the case I completely ignored lower body exercises and would at times try to lift more than I should in lower rep situations and cause myself injuries which would really set me back in the long run (Especially since I seem to have inherited my fathers shoulder joints, thanks for that dad : D).  As a result my workout program itself has changed more than a little.  As opposed to doing High weight/Low rep sets on free weights, I now do at least 3 sets of ten or more at a lower weight.  I've also mostly foregone free weights entirely, knowing that I have weak joints that are prone to strains it makes a lot more sense to use a machine that will limit my range of motion to a healthy movement.  The final change to my program is that I'm now working all the major muscle groups Legs, Arms, Back, Back, Chest, Shoulders etc evenly.  The biggest change I've already noticed though is how much this has helped my Cardio.  The biggest problem that happens when you lose 20lbs off an already thin frame is that you have next to nothing when it comes to muscle mass or strength.  On the pro side though you have a body fat percentage to die for : ).  What would happen to me as a result of this though is the following:

Todd gets sick
Todd goes on antibiotics
Todd's lungs clear out
Todd tries to exercise, lungs feel great, legs get tired
Todd stops exercise
Todd gets sick, wash, rinse, repeat.

As odd as it may seem, my lack of muscle and general body strength was limiting me way more than my lungs.  By focusing more on my diet and caloric intake, in combination with the new workout regime, I now actually have the strength to do 30-40 minutes of hard cardio without my muscles being the limiting factor.
On the horizon of things to work toward is the great strides walk in 3 weeks, followed by a clinic check up at the end of the month.  Also, since I clearly didn't learn my lesson last month, I've also agreed to do another 10km run coming up this fall.

I'd also like to congratulate every one that was a part of Cinema for a Cure that happened last night.  I wasn't able to make it into town myself, but from what I've heard the evening was a complete success.  There are a lot of people that put a ton of time and effort into putting on this event and they deserve a huge round of applause.