Watchathon Week!

So, it’s been a rough time for me recently, if you’ve read any of the recent posts…the few I have made…you will know I’ve been sick, my dog had to be taken in to be put down, and all kinds of horrible shit.

CF life is terrible in and of itself, but when you get even one thing extra that adds pressure, stress, angst, pain, anything really that isn’t easy to deal with it gets really f#cked up. Everything becomes exponentially harder.

So, there are certain times when it isn’t as hard because something (an outside variable) makes stuff easier to disregard.

Well, this week is watch-a-thon week on demand, with X-Finity…I live in an area where the cable company I have really has a monopoly on the area. It sucks sometimes, but there are benefits, and I am currently in the middle of one of those benefits: “watch-a-thon week,” it basically opens up the channels like Starz, Showtime, etc. you can either watch shows that you don’t have access to unless you pay for the particular channel, or you can watch the movies on demand on those channels. It’s pretty cool, it lasts about a week, and it allows you to catch up or watch stuff you wouldn’t get to unless you pay for those premium channels, which I don’t…lol.

Well, that’s what I have been and will be doing for the next couple of days, and I will be watching a bunch of movies, and maybe some cool TV shows I don’t know yet, i’ll figure it out when I run out of movies I want to watch, if that happens.

Right now I am watching a movie called “Freaks of Nature” it’s like a mix between “Can’t Hardly Wait, Final Destination, and Twilight/Walking Dead”…lol. Pretty funny, and a crazy vampire/alien/zombie/human integration movie…nice!

Anyways, hope all is well with everyone, and have a good week!

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CF Rundown (Cystic Fibrosis)

Here we are again, it’s 3:15 in the morning and I’m up, just had a pretty bad coughing spasm, and have been feeling real crappy. One of the things that most people don’t know about CF unless you have it, or have experienced it first-hand, is called CF rundown. It’s pretty self explanatory…so every so often we CFer’s get rundown from the constant state of being sick. From all of the coughing, the malnutrition, the over worked and underutilized muscles. All of this comes together in this horrible set of symptoms that is referred to as CF rundown.

Basically, it requires that we slow down, amp up the meds, sleep and eat as much as possible, and rest in-between. I know it seems like its an overkill of rest and refraining from activity and that true, it is. But, that’s the only way to get rid of this. Relax, eat, drink as much fluid as possible, don’t strain to do things, and don’t force yourself into activities that aren’t absolutely necessary.

The shitty part of rundown is there is no kind of way to tell how long it will last. It can last a couple of days, or a couple of months, that’s the part that really does a mind job on you, waking up everyday knowing you are going to have x,y,z problems is one thing. But, then adding on being super tired, feeling hot and cold simultaneously, and not being able to do the already paired down set of activities we have in our lives really is a bitch.

I remember back in college, when I got this I’d pop into the health center, get some antibiotics and some pain killers and be back at it, but when you have several months where you show up with symptom’s, and keep getting prescribed things like pain meds, it can cause real problems: physical dependence or even addiction, but that’s a whole different can of worms for another post. So, back to the health center, their job is to get you back into class asap without endangering other students health…so, the combo of antibiotics to kill infection, and pain meds to make the hectic life of a college student who isn’t feeling well manageable is really one of the best balances of safety and pushing it slightly. And 95% of the time that was all that was required. Mind you this was back in college, my health was in general better, and I wasn’t pushing 30.

Fast forward 10+ years, and here I am, its 330 am and I don’t have the ability to take pain meds to be able to stop coughing and fall asleep, I don’t have antibiotics right now, and since I frequently am on a set of antibiotics for a plethora of other reasons, the less I can be taking them the better.

So, things like rundown get dealt with by: eating more, drinking lots of fluids, sleeping as much as possible, taking extra ibuprofen, using showers to keep the shivers or sweats at bay, getting more fresh air than just the normal daily routine would involve, amping up the treatments, and any other little tricks that don’t involve adding a bunch of unnecessary meds onto an already pile of pills we consume in general, on a regular day.

It’s kind of funny with CF you learn little things over the years, I probably know more about meds than most of the doctors I see, and especially meds I have taken before, you have to. Also, how they interact with my body in particular. Every time I get prescribed something, before I will even consider putting it in my body, I do an insane amount of research, and find out everything I can about it, factual and anecdotal…including other people’s experience with said medicine, the side effects listed on the label, its interaction with certain foods or other meds, all of that comes into play. Then I will take it, but if a few days in I realize the pros don’t outweigh the cons I stop taking it, now this doesn’t include things like antibiotics because it’s not healthy to start antibiotics and then stop them. As, your body will start to build up a resistance to that kind of medicine, and since we need it to work as best it can we can’t afford to give it an edge by already having a bit of resistance to the strain of infection it’s trying to fight. It’s a very thin line you have to walk, and it is a delicate balance of knowledge, trust in the people around you, and knowing your body extremely well.

Dealing with Cystic Fibrosis, or other terminal, or even just long-term illnesses is a very volatile situation, it requires a lot of patience, and a strong positive mental outlook. If you don’t learn to develop those qualities you are really in for some serious battles both physically, but maybe even more so psychologically. It can do a number on the toughest of people and it is a fickle bitch, please excuse the language, as I’m pretty fed up…lol…ahhh! So, once again hopefully this gives you a bit of insight into CF, and a small look into the life, thoughts, and experiences of someone who fights daily just to breathe.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and if you know someone struggling reach out to them, it’s almost 4am and id give anything to have someone to talk to right now, but everyone I know is asleep. Having someone extend an olive branch to a person in my situation makes so much difference, it’s kind of unexplainable, at least in the vocabulary I know.

Anyways, that’s all I can think of right now, and I don’t feel like writing anymore, but hopefully something good is on TV. So…with that…goodnight!

One of those days…

It’s Sunday afternoon, as I sit in my room watching American Dad and playing some computer games…I decided it’s a good time to write a bit. This is one of those days that isn’t particularly good or bad, and sometimes those are the hardest days to handle. As feeling like crap is the norm I expect it to return, but I also feel good enough that I kind of want to go out and do something. Being that my finances are severely tight, I have opted to just stay in and watch some good TV, and now I’m writing this blog to explain this weird state of being to people who don’t understand, or to those who are in the same boat, and wish they could paddle away from this damn situation. It’s VERY rough to say the least…

So, most people are out shopping or running around doing holiday type stuff, enjoying free time, family time, or fun time. Sadly, I sit here waiting for the other shoe to drop…and it’s an extremely depressing way to pass time. My mind races, my thought’s go to dark places and the whole time I’m doing/using every “trick” or “body hack” I can think of to make things easier. I have a pretty good control over my emotions, I didn’t used to, but over the past 5-6 years I have developed a really great sense of what I actually feel, and how to handle myself physically even if my mind is exploding with an unwelcome sense whether it be depression, exhaustion, loneliness, or just boredom. It is rather strange what the human body can adapt to, I am a walking billboard for the strangeness a person can get used to, and I have to say it sucks!

It’s almost 4pm, this is one of those times where a normal person would say “I’m gonna go do something,” then they’d get out to go do something, whether be it shopping, seeing a movie, or just cruising around with a friend. I sit here, like I said earlier, waiting for the CF to rear its ugly head into my day, I know it will at some point, and all I can do is minimize the effect it has on me. I have gotten to a point where I have control over my angst and have developed the mental capacity to understand that is just the way my life is, Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive, degenerative disease it’s only going to get harder. So, I deal the best I can, but I have to admit this is the time of year I miss out on a lot of things I wish I could do, and it becomes extremely lonely…moreover, uncomfortable (aside from the physical discomfort I deal with from the actual CF) just an uneasy feeling. I guess I would define it the most accurately by saying it’s like the worst anticipation of the unknown you can imagine, however the unknown isn’t exactly unknown, being that I actually know what is coming. Having said that, even though I know (kind of) what is coming and how it will feel, the “unknown” for me is: at what intensity level will it hit me? How bad will it get today? What time will it interrupt whatever tasks I am doing to occupy my mind? Finally, and maybe the worst part of the anticipation is what if today is “The Day?” As CF is terminal, I never know when I’m going to wake up feeling ok, only to have that be the last time I awake…

This post is a bit darker than I intended when I commenced my writing, and I know that it is hard for some people to even think about things in this manner. With that being the case, I also need to say having CF (or any terminal illness) makes it easier to think about things like this because that’s my “normal,” it’s what I’ve been dealing with since I was 3, and it’s basically all I know. I have had to ponder the consequences of living a life with CF, and contemplating death from the first time I was told what my life expectancy was, or whatever age I was that I was able to comprehend things of that nature. It sucks pretty bad having that kind of thought process, but it has allowed me to get to a place where those thought’s don’t take me into tailspin of emotions I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Yes, it’s hard to think about…yes, it sucks in a major way…yes, it isn’t what I would ideally like to be doing or thinking, but I am at peace with the fact that I am going to deal with this until I die.

So, to sum up I guess I would say today sucks in the best way possible…I am feeling ok right now, but at some point I will start to feel terrible, I know that and am at peace with it. I will deal with the agony of the symptoms of the Cystic Fibrosis as they come on, until then I am kind of in a state of limbo. I will do what I can to take advantage of the fact that I haven’t gotten to the worst part of my day yet by enjoying, as best I can, the time I have today where I still don’t feel like death is knocking at my door. I hope if you read this you don’t get put off by the tone, I am just being as genuinely open about this as I can be. If I can reach one person who feels the same, or doesn’t really understand how they feel, but knows it sucks, then I will have accomplished what I set out to do. As I was once that person, looking for something to explain the “why” of having to deal with such horrible things all of the time, looking for something to allow me to feel like I wasn’t the lone ranger, even for a split second…looking for someone who understood.