Back to normal “hacking” my health.

It’s about 3:30 pm and I’m sitting here having just finished up some work, don’t really have anything else that’s super pressing to do today so I’m going to blog a bit. I want to start this blog post out by asking a couple of questions…anybody who so desires can respond. It would be appreciated so maybe I can tailor posts to a certain request for knowledge, experiences, information, etc.

So, after the holidays are over everyone has those couple of weeks where you’re stuck in-between being in a holiday type mood, and moving on to get back to “normal” life. At least that’s where I’ve been and may even still be a bit…since I love this time of year so much I tend to drag is out as long as I can. Being that it’s over however I have been having some weird stress and anxiety the past several days, and I’m not too sure why…? I woke up a couple days ago and the CF crap had weaseled its way back into my main thought process. It sucks, but with that there comes a bit of an ability to view things from a distant perspective. Meaning even though it sucks I can kind of step back and review how I am doing before, during, and after the holidays, and why. I’ve been waking up at 6-7am again as opposed to being able to sleep comfortably until 9-10am, I don’t like it but it gets me back into my regular routine. If I had my way society in general wouldn’t get moving until 10-11am and go until later in the day, but that’s just my personal preference.

Here are some of the things I’ve re-instituted into my daily “body/health hacks” some may be helpful to anyone and others may only be applicable to people who deal with terminal illnesses like Cystic Fibrosis, diabetes, Crohn’s, etc…so, body/health hacks: when I first wake up I cough like crazy so I keep two drinks on my bedside table, 1 is a bottle of water(a must) and the second varies, sometimes its tea, sometimes its coffee, so basically something with minimal sugar or a sugar amount I can control. The reasoning being that a bit of caffeine will open up closed airways, so when you wake up in the morning all congested and clogged up

So, my day may look nothing like yours, but these things work…so try them out. It helps more than you think to be able to just pull a snack out of your bag that isn’t junk food. Or, to have a drink to hydrate with, and then one to sip on as the day goes, again something healthy as well as cheap being that it isn’t a $5.00 Starbucks, or a drink from the 7/11. All of these things not only help physically, but also mentally it’s comforting to know I won’t get hungry in traffic and have to pull over with low blood sugar. Finally, it saves me some money, as I don’t have to stop at junk food stores to refuel. These are just a couple of the many things I employ in an attempt to keep my body at a functioning level, keep myself from being hungry/thirsty, and without braking the bank, which I do just keeping up with Dr.’s appointments. All in all it is very helpful, and I can post more of these little tricks or “hack’s” as they are so often referred to in pop culture…They may seem inconsequential to most but when just doing your day is a rough task any little bit of relief here and there is a godsend, and enormous edge in keeping your health up to par while going through life and trying to keep on keeping on. Hopefully this helps one person figure out something they didn’t previously think of, or didn’t try before. That is the whole point of my page, and my blog, I want to be able to provide relief in situations where I didn’t have any help, or even information to go on. Enjoy the rest of your day!

New Year 2017

Well, it’s been a while since a posted anything on here. I tried my best to enjoy what parts of the Christmas – New Year’s holidays I could. I actually had a pretty good couple of days in a row, which is very unusual for me. So, on Christmas Eve we went to the Melting Pot, and it was delicious. On Christmas day we slept in a bit, then we woke up and had our morning coffee/tea as we each opened our “Santa Present” which was a stocking. As we sifted through the candy and little knickknack’s we enjoyed the view out over the cul-de-sac we live on. Then we dove into our presents and me, my mom, and my stepdad went in turn opening, we usually go smallest to largest, or go in the order of which presents we get handed…I don’t know why we do it like that, other than some gifts are prerequisites to other ones. It was very nice, relaxed, and enjoyable. As my “natural Christmas energy” flowed I soaked it up, and enjoyed every second of it. I’ve mentioned in the past (I think) that I get a pretty noticeable boost of naturally great energy that flows through me during certain holidays, and a couple other very specific times of the year. So we went through the day and the next enjoying great food, and yummy drinks. We had a good spread of Xmas morning food: orange juice, coffee, tea, Champagne for Mimosa’s, fruit, cheeses, eggs, smoked salmon, and a few other miscellaneous finger foods. That went into lunch, and for dinner we had a really good beef roast with potatoes, green beans, gravy, a really good bread with herb butter, and some sparkling grape juice (family tradition). The day of and the next couple were extremely enjoyable, we had a really nice couple of days, and I kind of forgot about how I felt with all the good vibes surging through me.

As the New Year rolled around the spirit of Christmas had kind of faded, and I was starting to feel crappy (my normal) again…but, I decided to kind of amp up a couple of my meds, and keep the spirit alive as long as I could. So for New Year’s eve we had a bunch of people surrounding our neighborhood doing fireworks, so after dinner we grabbed a couple of drink and went outside and set up on the porch to watch the show! It was awesome, we had a 360 degree fireworks show, when one direction died down we just rotated our chairs and kept on enjoying the show. After a couple of hours of hanging out watching fireworks, munching on leftovers, and sharing some drink and some laughs we went to bed. New Year’s day was nice also, we all slept in until like 10:30-11:00 then we woke up and my mom put out the breakfast snack’s, as well as getting everything else we had enjoyed the past couple of days out of the fridge, freezer, etc…warmed it all up and set it out. We went throughout the rest of the day grazing over the table of leftover delectable, finishing up the holiday drinks: eggnog, a bit of bourbon, champagne, juices, and sparkling grape. As we stuffed ourselves we also, watched a couple of really good movies, a couple that we watched  we showing on TV and the others were movies that we had received as presents. All in all it was very fun, we enjoyed each other’s company, did the whole visit/call family members, and did a good bit of laughing, which I absolutely love to do. It was an absolutely great several days!

Soaking up the Christmas spirit was something we all needed very much, especially because my family needed it. Having the CF makes all the year pretty rough, and sometimes we forget that our family, especially the ones closest to us, tend to carry a good bit of the burden when one of their own has a disease like CF or another lifelong illness, be it terminal or not. It’s kind of easy  to get caught up in your own “stuff” when you are sick all the time, but remembering that they are also suffering is something that needs to be recognized to allow everyone who needs an outlet for their feelings to let that stuff go for a while. Well, it was a success, we had a great week…and brought in the New Year together with laughs and love. I hope everyone’s holiday was great and that you enjoyed your family and friends. Here’s to a great 2017!!

The Holiday’s…yay?

Oh good, the holidays are here. Ahhh…for most people stress levels go up, although CF patients tend to have a highly developed ability to deal with stress, pain, disappointment, etc. it still gets multiplied, lol yay! You kind of have to develop these abilities early in life or everyday is going to be a personal hell, moreover, one that nobody else can actually see. Trust me I’ve been their and it’s absolutely miserable beyond compare, and with the invisibility factor can be a down right mind job. But, there is light in the darkness of the bad health tunnel. Here’s a peak into mine…good and bad. With a focus on the daily routines of a CF patient, dealing with holiday situations, family, and friends.

So, the Thanksgiving and Christmas stretch of the year…Don’t get me wrong there is a magic about this time of year that I love. However, this is the time of year when people get together for this and that, shopping, huge meals, and family functions are exponentially harder with something like CF. Planning everything from what time you have to be asleep by so you have enough energy, but also so you have enough time to go to the bathroom and do your treatments in the A.M. Then to making sure to the best of ones ability that no other people with compromised immune systems are having any health issues currently (older folks, and babies). To making sure you’ve got enough meds to get you through whatever events or functions you are going to do. These many miscellaneous things that normal people probably don’t even consider, or just take for granted are some of the most difficult parts of having an invisible disease. I can’t just wake and get showered and dressed in less than an hour like most people…I have to wake up, and slowly allow my muscles to uncramp from the nighttime of not moving. Then comes “the morning fun,” the mucus…oh dear lord the mucus, coughing until you throw up is something that is never going to become an acceptable routine…It SUCKS badly!!! Then comes actually doing regular personal morning things: going to the bathroom (another thing most people take for granted), making something to eat that you can choke down, and not get sick over. Some more coughing, occasionally coughing up blood…one of the most jarring, sickening, and unsettling things that happen with CF. No matter how many doctors tell you coughing up a little blood now and then is a normal thing with CF…spitting up that metallic taste, looking down in the sink, trash, or paper towel and seeing red sucks the positivity right out of you. Not to mention constantly feeling so tired you could sleep standing up, in a shopping mall. Daily life with Cystic Fibrosis itself is taxing on the body, and that is just the physical side as mentally it is a totally different level of intense, ragging you out down to your soul and rattling your bones for good measure.

Meanwhile, the days keep going by and things keep moving with or without you. As people tend to make plans for the holidays sometimes we just have to say “you know I’d love to be there for dinner at 4-5 but I’m still in the bathroom…” After this happens so many times sadly, but totally understandably people start to marginalize you. You find friends don’t invite you places after you’ve had to cancel, family starts going ahead and celebrating without you, and that can be extremely hard to handle, it gets to you in that place that most people rarely have to experience. Holidays are great times to make memories, and enjoy family and friends, but knowing how to handle these things with a health problem takes time, patience, and practice. Just know if you do have trouble due to a CF-like condition you’re not alone, you may feel alone, but you’re not. Learning how to cope with an invisible illness is almost as hard as the illness itself sometimes…which is kind of ironic in a “sick” way, lol.  Funny that’s kind of just scratching the surface of one small time of the year. I could probably go on and on bitching about the things that are hard about CF especially around holidays, or any of the celebratory times of the year.

Having said all of that, the best combatant I have found to not letting this totally overwhelm and consume you, your thought’s, and spirit is keeping things in perspective. This is something that clicked in my brain back toward the end of college: you can either be totally miserable all the time worrying about other people’s normal, knowing that it’s never going to be that way for you or really even get any easier, or you can focus on the things that bring you small bits of joy here and there. With a  disease like CF you won’t be able to live a “normal” life, but what is normal really? I don’t know…but, I do know MY NORMAL, and that is something that I’ve focused on the last few years. Enjoy everything you can and enjoy it to the fullest, because you never know when that bad stretch is coming e.g. being in bed for days only to roll out to shower, hopefully eat something, and maybe grab few minutes of fresh air walking the dog. It doesn’t ever become easy, but humans can get used to most things, and sadly with CF those things tend to be uncomfortable, unpleasant, and extremely tedious. So, if you have CF or a disease of the kind, and the holidays seem to be more than the usual added pressure and stress don’t get discouraged…there are many of us out here we just tend to be a bit more “hidden” like our disease’s. Focus on the positive things (easier said than done, and takes a ton of practice), try to get into a “zone” to do your everyday routine: meds, bodily functions, and medical treatments. I find that I kind of go on autopilot about 20 minutes after I wake up when doing my treatments, meds, bathroom, etc. After all the rough stuff is done is my favorite time to shower, as it kind of allows you to start clean/fresh, and that is when I turn the autopilot off and try to be more in the moment. I find the best shower is a nice long shower, stretch the muscles, enjoy the “bliss” that a shower provides, hot until right at the end, then go for a few minutes of cold. Why? well, the experience I’ve had is it pumps you up a bit, wakes you up, and invigorates you, which is something you need after 2-5 hours of miserable morning crap (pun intended) lol. That is just my personal experience, but I’ve also read that a cold shower does do some great stuff for you physically and mentally. Then continue on with your day as planned, do what you need to do, but don’t forget to enjoy what you have the ability to enjoy, as it is very easy to allow the miserable thoughts and feelings to infiltrate your entire day, week, or month!  Please remember this is just my day to day, pick what works best for you…and don’t be afraid to try new things or tweak something to fit your particular needs. It is all about how you handle the hardest parts, while not forgetting to enjoy the good ones…Like Christmas, New Years, and the magic they bring to our lives.

So, to finish off this post which kind of took a few sidetracks, life is hard for everyone. Having a disease like CF makes that exponentially harder, and certain times of the year make it more noticeable because everyone else seems to be so happy, and joyful. It can almost be kind of aggravating, but that is letting the disease win, do not let it win! Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are awesome, but don’t force them to feel awesome at the expense of how you feel, or how you choose to handle your daily struggles. Remember to keep your head up as certain things will likely discourage you, and can easily throw you off track. It takes time to master the art of not being able to anticipate anything in life except knowing you won’t feel well. Start the day and tackle as many hardships as you can, deal with them to the best of your ability, and then enjoy what is left to be enjoyed. It will always seem very bleak, and sometimes that is all it is. However, with patience (for yourself and others), tricks and shortcuts you pick up over the course of time or learn from an outside source, and remembering to keep your health as much on the front burner as possible life will slowly show you the way you can take all of the weird, and difficult little strands and weave them together into a life you can live…