Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Peachtree, Depression and a few other things

We are 5 days from the Peachtree and I did 3 sets of jumping jacks this morning and did a heavy workout to prepare. I don’t usually run a week before the Peachtree but I’m debating if I should run a mile tonight on the treadmill. I have this spot on my foot that concerns Andrea and my Aunt Susie so I finally made a dermatologist appointment after months of procrastinating. I feel like I have enough issues. Why do I have to add to the plate? But I know it’s the right thing to do.

My dad’s back and leg are feeling better so he might be up and walking today. That’s exciting. I know my mom is thrilled as is the couch which is now indented to fit him perfectly any time he lays down.

I want to take some time to explain how I feel when I’m depressed. I waited till it was too late to get help so I’d like to help anyone who suffers any of these symptoms. I feel like my life is meaningless. I feel like I don’t want to get out of bed and that no one likes me or wants to hang out with me. When people do invite me to hang out, I think they do it out of pity so I decline the invitation. I stop shaving. I stop trying to clean myself up. I feel like I’m stuck in a well and no matter how hard I try, the well gets deeper and deeper. I stop doing things around the house and keep to myself. My eyes look empty and my voice sounds like it is in slow motion. I do not communicate. I just walk away and cope poorly. These are some of my symptoms of depression. The worst symptom is when I start wishing I could delete myself from the world because I feel like there is no hope of things getting better. I think about death. I just want to disappear and feel less shame and sadness. Depression is a life-long battle. Just when you think you’ve got it licked, it returns in full force just like the life-threatening lung disease I’ve had since birth. Willpower doesn’t beat depression. Finding a program that works for me does.

I took a picture of Ethan by my old house the other day. It was kind of cool to see him sitting in the same backyard that I used to hang out. It was interesting looking back at my old yard. I remember the baseball games we used to play. The sewer was first place and the driveway was home plate. The weeping willows were second and third base and they were both gone. Every now and then I miss the past. I miss the innocence of youth. Sometimes I look back and think how I would have done things differently. I think about how I would have handled the childhood traumas better. I would have been more open with my parents about what was going on and how I felt. I can’t change the past though. I can only use those incidents to remind me of the questions I need to ask my children to make sure that they are safe.

I changed out my 10 gallon disgusting fish tank for a 25 gallon tank so now I have a 20 gallon, 25 gallon and 38 gallon tank. Yes, I’m finally done on the tanks. I enjoy it. It’s my hobby and watching fish swim by is very relaxing for me. I wonder if it relaxes them too to see me sitting there watching their every move. Sounds creepy I guess. I know it might seem like a strange hobby but I’m not going to change it if it works. It has definitely brought my blood pressure down. One day I believe the kids will enjoy it too instead of Avery trying to catch all of the fish with the net and Ethan banging his hands against the tank and saying “Hel-lo!”

I have gotten a lot of e-mails from you guys that the blog is really helpful because it’s raw and honest. It will continue to be so and I thank you for your positive comments. You might hear things about me that disappoint you on this blog but understand that I’m not proud of everything I’ve done in my life. I’m learning to be proud of what I’m doing to prevent these issues from ever happening again.

I saw Brian McCann at My Friend’s Place in Duluth today. He said he remembered me from Wish for Wendy but I have a feeling he might tell everyone he remembers them. What’s he going to say “You? Nope, not a clue. See you at the next game.” Not a good way to sell tickets. Still it reminds me of Wish for Wendy about 5 years ago when I got to ride in a car with rookies Brian McCann, Kyle Davies and Blaine Boyer. It was pretty cool. Brian has now been an All-Star every year. Kyle came back to Wish for Wendy two years ago and Blaine and I still talk via e-mail from time to time. It was kind of cool to say I met Brian before he was famous. I think my sister asked him to set her up with Jeff Francouer then.

Andrea and I take the kids to the pool a few times a week. Ethan is getting more comfortable with the water every day. It’s pretty cool to see Avery swimming and diving off the diving board. The scary thing was that she was giving me swimming tips the other day and she was right on the money.

Speaking of swimming, it reminds me that it was about a year ago that Andrea and I did our first triathlon. She absolutely destroyed me and I was really proud of her. I get e-mails about how inspiring it is that I beat cystic fibrosis. Look at Andrea. She has beaten 2 things: multiple sclerosis and thyroid cancer. I thought I was going to drown during the swimming part of the race so that freaked me out. After that though, I did finish. I remember being a kid and sitting there while my friends competed in swim-a-thons to raise money for cystic fibrosis. Now, here I was swimming in a triathlon. I trained for 12 weeks, 4 of those with a swim instructor. I basically had to learn how to swim again. I will probably do another one someday.

I’m having dinner with my buddy, Will, on Thursday night. I am really looking forward to it. I haven’t seen him in a while and it will be our first get-together without our daughters in some time so we can talk without having to spell out words.

I didn’t get into the World Cup much. I’m not a huge soccer fan. Absolutely no scoring reminds me too much of high school. Ok, this is why I love Andrea. She can deal with my humor. Speaking of sports, how bout them Braves. I’m really excited about this team. Even McCann told me they’re having a pretty good year…I’m sure moments later he filed a restraining order against me but that’s nothing new. For those of you who know me, I’m a huge Braves fan so I am really excited when my team is in first place. That’s probably why I’ll never be a Thrashers fan.

I miss Emily. She is in Israel for a few weeks. I know she’s having fun though. Happy 40th to my brother n law Alistair. Oh, my softball team had our 10-game regular season winning streak snapped yesterday. I went 2-for-3 but it wasn’t enough as we lost 10-8.

Good luck to all of my friends having babies this week and next. I think I have about 5 or 6 friends that are due any day. Good luck to my friends battling their own health issues. May tomorrow be even better than today.

Well, that’s all for today. Stay strong.

Best Wishes,

Andy…Fighting every day so that every day is less of a fight

Monday, June 28, 2010


I hope everyone is well. Thanks for all of the ideas on how to get stronger both mentally and physically that many of you sent me regarding my last blog. It was much appreciated.

It was a tough weekend. As I mentioned, my dad threw out his back and gets his MRI results today. As I saw him laying there in pain and not really wanting to talk, it reminded me of myself when I was on IV’s and would not talk to anyone. I don’t know if my dad will go into depression or have other issues but I sure did. It visibly affected me and I know that Andrea could tell. Seeing him brought back the flashbacks of being lazy, being a terrible family man and finding myself in a very dark place. Then I saw my mom and saw how hard she was trying to help and it reminded me of Andrea, who at the time was pregnant and dealing with a 2 year old, and how hard she worked to make my days less depressing. Yet still I made it very tough on her during that time and even after. I remember my friend Jonathan stopping by during that time and saying I didn’t look like the same person. It was as if someone took the life out of me and it took me a very long time to get it back. I wish I’d seen a therapist earlier in my life. I needed it.

I hinted to many of you last time about my childhood traumas growing up. One of them includes being beaten up by a babysitter when I was in grammar school. He would hit me constantly. It always seemed to be on a Friday night when we were watching the Incredible Hulk, which was quite fitting since he would hit me like he was an animal. I talk more openly about it in the book but I believe that those actions caused me to be afraid of conflict today. I also think that’s how I learned to keep secrets initially. I was afraid to disclose things about myself. I think that is also why I was shy growing up. He threatened me that if I ever told, something bad would happen to me and he would be the one to hurt me. Between those actions, another traumatic event that I’ll discuss another time and finding out that I had a life-threatening disease that would someday take my life, I had a very rough early grammar school period. My formative years were full of tough learning experiences that I believe even an adult would have had issues trying to cope. It also didn’t help that several of my classmates asked me if I was going to die from CF. I was an emotional wreck then and really that never stopped. I just got better at hiding it.

I'm thinking of writing a letter to that babysitter one day and just not sending it. I feel like I need to get this anger inside of me to go away and I never got closure on this issue. I saw a picture of him on Facebook a couple of years ago so I know he is out there. He probably thought that the kid with CF would not live a long life and he wouldn't have to worry about me confronting him. Maybe he'll get the letter he never expected one day from the kid he never should have beaten.

It is 6 days till the Peachtree and I think I’m more nervous for this one than my first one. First of all, it’s been over 100 degrees with humidity the last few weeks. Secondly, I can’t train out here. It will kill my lungs. Third, our start time on Sunday is pretty late which means it will be really hot when we get started. Fourth and finally, this has been a tough health year for me and it will not be easy to complete 6.2 miles with a less than 100% me and extremely humid conditions. This will be my 14th Peachtree. I never thought I’d run one so I’m going to go into this thinking that I’ve done it 13 other times. I can do it again.

I’ve increased my workouts the last few weeks as far as weights go. I’ve been lifting more weight and doing more sets. I like to beat myself up before the big race. I know that’s probably the opposite of what I should do but it prevents me from getting soft. It must be working because I was carrying a few big screen TV’s this weekend and carrying the kids while we did the trampoline at Play at Roswell, which I highly recommend for those of you who want to tire out your children on a Saturday or Sunday. I look at it like Rocky in Rocky IV where he was finding new ways to train. Instead of picking up a carriage with several people in it though, I’m carrying 2 rambunctious kids and a Panasonic 42” TV. Close enough.

So while at Play yesterday, Avery stopped me in the middle of our jumping session and said “Daddy, I love you.” During my depression-filled days, I took these moments for granted and there were fewer of them anyway. Now though, I take this moment and bottle it up and consider it as big an accomplishment as writing a book or running with the Torch. Having your daughter, without any prompting, telling you that she loves you is better than anything I could have ever imagined. Ethan, still a daddy’s boy, says “Dad-dy!” in the sweetest voice and then he runs to me and puts his head on my shoulder. Again, those moments can’t be replicated nor can they be replaced with anything. I’m truly grateful to have a loving family. Now it’s my turn to return that loving to them.

Well, that’s enough rambling today. I hope no one has a case of the Mondays (Office Space reference).


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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Search for Andy Lipman

I’m doing some emotional soul-searching this week. It’s an assignment for one of my therapists. It is hard to determine why we do the things we do, but what is harder is to figure out what triggers these actions. I’m in the process of retracing my steps over the last few years and in some cases more than 30 years ago. It’s exhausting and it is painful.

There are things from my childhood that have no doubt affected me in adverse ways. That doesn’t make these instances an excuse for what I’ve done wrong in my life but it does allow me to see why I am the way I am. Many of these childhood traumas were not mentioned in “Alive at 25.” I decided it’s important to mention them this time around because I want every reader to feel like they know me when they finish that last page. Last time, they knew the good side of me. Both sides need to be known to make a fair assessment as to whether or not you truly think I’m an inspiration.

I sometimes feel like Mark Harmon in the Deliberate Stranger which was the Ted Bundy story which has appeared on Lifetime about 1,000 times, yet still I watch it (I hate when they say “Television for Women” by the way). Am I that deranged? I should hope not. Have I committed murder? No. But we both have secrets that would change the way others would feel about us. Everyone has skeletons in their closet. I feel like I have an entire graveyard that I will open up more about in my book and some day probably in this blog.

Something you might not know about me is that I’ve always felt left behind. That started from my youth when my parents were physically hitting my back and sides just so I could live (postural drainage therapy). I couldn’t go to overnight camp. I couldn’t camp out because I couldn’t find an outlet for my aerosol machine and I could not go on trips without my parents being chaperones. I never thought I’d go to college. As my friends got accepted to universities, I was stuck wondering if I’d live long enough to go to college. I realistically didn’t think I could go. Thank goodness for my therapy machine which replaced my parents (in the hitting sense I mean). I could finally go away without them and so began my journey at the University of Georgia (how about John Isner by the way…what a match! Go Dawgs!).

Then I graduated late from college because I had self-esteem issues and it affected my academic performance. As my best friends graduated, I felt left behind. As my friends then began having kids, I again felt left behind because I couldn’t have kids the normal way. Andrea and I spent what seemed like a Major League Baseball player’s salary just to have kids and there were plenty of disappointments along the way. When I would see these talk shows with teenagers getting pregnant by mistake, it was agonizing.

This is a problem of mine. I have to learn to appreciate what I do have and slowly I have learned to do just that. I have a beautiful wife who can take my humor (and those of you who know me understand that this quality is priceless). I have 2 beautiful children who I was never supposed to have and they are the apples of my eye.

I am not as strong as some of you think I am. I have been told on several occasions that I'm clinincally depressed. I have contemplated suicide as a kid, as a young adult and even in the last few years. Contemplating does not mean attempting. It means thinking heavily about it but thankfully I have never put a plan in place. That’s my shame and depression coming out. I sometimes find myself sitting in complete darkness even when nothing is really wrong. That’s one of the reasons I take antidepressants. I have not been the best husband to Andrea. I have not always been the best father to Avery and Ethan either though I have been much better of late. What I’m learning through my program is that the past does not have to be an indicator for the future. It just needs to be a reminder what your future could be if you continue to travel down the wrong path.

People are surprised to find out how shy I was as a child. When you hear more of my story, you might see why. Believe it or not, I’m shy to a degree now. I force myself to socialize. I have a hard time. In college, I could barely open my door because I didn’t want people to see me. It’s a self-esteem issue that I will battle my entire life but I do intend to win.

I know this post comes off depressing but some weeks are like that for me. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate what I have nor does it mean I'm going to work any less to beat cystic fibrosis. I just wanted to give you what it's like sometimes to deal with disease, mental and physical. It is hard to always be the inspirational billboard for those who need to believe. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm human too.

In closing,

I leave you with a quote from Jonas Salk:

I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.

Well, that’s my blog for today. I hope it gave you a little more insight into my thoughts. Have a great weekend! If this depressed you then rent "The Blind Side." Awesome flick! Oh and my sleeper movie that you don't hear a lot about: "Zombieland." It's hilarious.

Best Wishes,


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Waiting for test results and my weekend

Let me start out by sharing some great news. We got a good medical report on the person very close to me. I’m really happy about that. I’m actually in tears over it as we speak.

Speaking of good medical reports, I hate waiting for tests. I think the toughest part of having any type of disease is knowing that any test can reveal something really negative and it’s hard not to think that way. Andrea and I are both familiar with this scenario. If I think positive prior to getting the results and it turns out negative, I’ll be in shambles. When I found I had pseudomonas (the life-threatening cystic fibrosis bacteria) recently, I was okay. I was okay because I told myself with all of the coughing I was doing and the lack of energy I had, that was probably going to be the outcome. Luckily my last culture has shown that the antibiotics were successful and it is gone and I can get healthy again. I believe my therapist has been instrumental in me getting better as well. That’s right. I have a therapist. In fact, I have more than one. I used to think that having a therapist meant that a person has problems. Truth be told, it means that a person is ready to face his problems. In other words, it’s a positive thing and it can only help me and my family.

Speaking of health, I went out and ran 1.2 miles in 100 degree weather yesterday. Even worse, I did it in the middle of the day and ran uphill for half the run. I’m trying to get used to the elements as I prepare for the Peachtree which is only 2 weeks away. This will be my 14th consecutive Peachtree. Doctors didn’t think I’d live 14 years much less run a 10k that many times. It’s an awesome feeling.

Last night, we won our 10th consecutive regular season softball game, a new record for this team. Actually we broke the record quite a while ago. We’re pretty good. I drove in a run in my only at-bat with a long single and caught a line drive in the outfield. We trailed 6-0 but ended up winning handily.

Andrea and I went on a great date on Saturday night. We went to a place called Indigo in Roswell and even saw some friends there. The food was great and we ate outside. We even met a new couple there and got their contact information as they had a kid about a year younger than Ethan. Then Andrea and I took a romantic walk down old Roswell and saw many of the new hip restaurants that have quietly become fan favorites. Apparently Roswell is the 30 to 40 something version of the Highlands. It was really relaxing and it was a much needed break from the little ones.

I took Avery on a father-daughter day on Saturday. We had so much fun. We went to Einstein’s for lunch and then Target. Then we went to the pool. I wasn’t a very good father Avery’s first couple of years as far as getting to know my daughter and that really upsets me. Just having Avery (and Ethan for that matter) was a true miracle as I could not have children in the normal sense. Andrea and I had to go through in vitro fertilization which is both a physical and emotional nightmare. The last year or so I’ve been really focusing on giving her the daddy she deserves and it’s been really worthwhile for me too. She was my first true Father’s Day present. Every day forward she will know how much that present meant to me. Anytime my kids run up to me and tell me they love me, it’s the best present a father can have. It makes me emotional even now. I have two wonderful little presents.

Thursday night was pretty funny. Our flat screen TV in our bedroom stopped working. Andrea and I thought we could get through one night at least just talking. Five minutes later I lifted the 70 pound television from the guest room to our room and put it in front of the flat screen. Is it a bit sad? Sure, but we got to watch SVU and Criminal Intent so I think it was a successful night overall. Everyone relax, we got a new flat screen on Saturday thanks to the assistance of one Jonathan Ganz. Jonathan, thanks for taking our call and easing our minds.

Father’s Day was alright. My dad hurt his back so I went over to help and my mom and I had a really good talk. It’s been too long since we have had a nice talk. Mom and I are alike in many ways. We are very sensitive and we tend to worry about everyone else but ourselves.

Dad loved my father’s day card. This year is the first time I realized how lucky I am to have a wonderful father. He is always supportive of me and he always wants the best for me. Until recently, I’ve realized that every father is not like that. Seeing my father lying down in pain reminded me also how lucky I am to still have my father. I know a lot of my close friends have lost their dads. I am going to try to appreciate him more. I took my job at DiversiTech because we didn’t get a lot of time when I was a kid. Now that he’s semi-retired, I think I should appreciate him more than just the close proximity sense.

Next, Andrea, the kids and I went to the Braves game where we battled 95 degree heat and humidity and got through 3 innings before the kids had had enough. I was glad to see that our pitcher Kenshin Kawakami left early as well.

Ethan continues to be a daddy’s boy. I pretend to be annoyed by it but I really love it. It’s nice that he loves me so much that he constantly wants me to hold him and feed him Marshmallows and Gummy Bears and Twizzlers and play with toys…and I don’t even spoil him. Ha Ha! I wish I’d been more like this with Avery but I’ve also learned that the past teaches us what we want from the future. I want to be a great dad to both of them and a great husband to Andrea.

Well, I’ve rambled enough. I hope everyone is well. Keep fighting the good fight. To the day when CF stands for Cure Found, but for now it will have to stand for Can Fight!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

The book, beating pseudomonas and my thoughts

Hello Friends,

Today has been a tough day. I got some news that someone close to me got some test results back which were not what that individual wanted to see. I know things will be ok though. I'm putting that person in my thoughts and prayers and will be there to help.

I also found out a friend with CF has had declined health of late. That's really tough to hear but it's a reality in the CF world. She is a good friend and someone who stuck up for me when I truly needed a friend. She will also be in my thoughts and I know she will beat this. Many of my friends with CF have passed away or been hospitalized for long periods of time. Yeah, I feel lucky to have the health that I do but I also feel sad to lose a lot of friends along the way. CF truly is a battlefield.

Today I'm sending letters to confirm that the people who once committed to writing forewords for my book are still good to go. I have a lot of good names but I want to get their final ok. I also found a big celebrity who has a CF connection that I'm trying to reel in. Hopefully I'll have some names soon.

The meeting with the literary agent went really well yesterday and I think a book deal may not be too far away. He asked me a lot of questions but I believe I answered them pretty well. I guess we'll see. I have a few things to do in order to convince him that this book is a money-maker so I'm working on these things now.

I think I have a place for Andrea and I to go on Saturday night. She didn't want it to be too pricy so that narrowed down my search. I also made sure there were no numbers on the left side of the menu items so that I didn't have to say "I'll get the number 2 with extra ketchup please."

I started sending out letters for Wish for Wendy yesterday. Hopefully we'll hit our overall goal of $1,000,000 this year. Maybe I could just call Bill Gates and ask for a check. That would save me about 100 e-mails.

I'm pretty proud of how DiversiTech is doing this year despite the unstable economy. I hope we can keep it up.

It was so cute yesterday. Avery was talking to her imaginary friend yesterday on her phone when I got home and as she walked and talked, Ethan followed her with his imaginary phone and he kept saying "He-llo...he-llo!" Maybe you had to be there but it was cute.

Andrea's T-2 match was suspended last night due to rain so she plays today. That means Avery gets another one of daddy's horror movie stories before bed. Just kidding Andrea! Well, I did tell her the story about a dog who bit me when I was a kid and then Avery proceeded to tell me all these horror stories about cats biting her and I realized I probably should not have told her that story no matter how much it meant to me so I revised it quickly. I told her the dog had no teeth and actually licked me afterwards. I think she bought it.

I had a really good day yesterday. My coughing was down. I was able to have a good long workout. I don't know if I mentioned it but a few months ago I cultured pseudomonas, the one bacteria every CF patient fears about having. If it lingers, it can really hurt your lungs. It's very life-threatening. I was on several antibiotics, a new aerosol medication and was working out twice as much. I didn't get down about it nearly as much as I would have a year ago. I credit that to a strong wife, tough kids and a better attitude. But attitude does not guarantee good results. Fortunately, a month or so ago I found out that I did not culture the pseudomonas bug this time around. It was a relief and physically I'm slowly getting better.

Tomorrow is June 18th. What's the significance? It will have been 6 years since Andrea ran with the Olympic Torch. I'm so proud of all she's accomplished. She and I did the MS Walk this year with my cousin Erin and the kids. I carried Avery on my shoulders 3/4 of the time (it's a 3 mile walk) so Avery told me later that it was an easy walk. I could not hear her though as I was busy laying on my face in a puddle of my own sweat.

I hate thinking about death, but I do it more than most I believe. That stems from a childhood of knowing my life would probably be shorter than most. Only then, I just worried about me. Now I worry about my wife and kids. I think about seeing my daughter going to prom or seeing my son play his first high school baseball game which he throws a perfect game (Ok, maybe pushing it there). I want to be able to see these accomplishments and special occasions but sometimes I wonder if I won't get to see them. I try to spend as much time with my kids now because I want them to know their dad just in case. For a long time, I didn't do that. I let my emotional problems get to me. Instead of worrying about the future, I better take care of the present. I have 3 great presents in Andrea, Avery and Ethan. I hope by writing my life story that my kids will remember their father if CF should win the war some day soon. I'm certainly not conceding but I also have to be prepared. I've appreciated my gifts in my children lately but I don't think I've appreciated Andrea nearly as much as I should. My goal is to change that.

Here's my pet peeve of the day. When someone is looking at you and talking in your direction and you say "Hey, how are you?" and then you realize they have an ear piece and they are actually on their cell phone and you look like the biggest tool. On another note, I hate those sinks where you have to hold down the button so the water comes out but when you release, there is no water. How are you supposed to get the water on your hands??? We are in the 21st century, aren't we? Just my thoughts. I'm sure some of you have been there.

Deep thoughts: When you're taking an anti-depressant and the pharmacy realizes they won't have your drugs in time, don't they think that might not help your condition to tell you that something has gone wrong and even better, you don't have the pills to allow you to cope with that? Just a thought.

Have a great day.

Best Wishes,


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A day in the life of someone with CF, Ethan's progress and a few other tidbits

Hey Friends,

Well, every person with cystic fibrosis is different but here is what my daily routine is. Wake up between 5:30 and 6:30am. Do my workout for 40 minutes, run for ten minutes and then begins the CF part of the program. I do my nasal treatments, puff on my inhaler, administer my hour-long therapy (which is 2 hours every other month since I add on a one hour treatment called Tobi)and then I go up to hang with Andrea, the kids and Magic. Andrea is a trooper as she keeps the kids as long as she can in the morning before she has to get ready for work. Ethan now loves coming down to see me while I do my therapy and Avery is slowly getting the hang of it, but she spends more time with mommy. I can't blame her. My machine is very loud and I don't exactly have a lot of room to move to do things with her. Ever since we got Diego on the Wii though, Avery has become a little bit more of a willing participant. Sometimes we have to fight between me playing Madden and her playing Diego. Guess who wins.

At night, after the kids have gone to bed, I repeat the same routine as the morning except I don't have to work out or run (and I actually get to play Madden). I take thirty to forty pills per day depending on the number of antibiotics that I'm on. I always take pills with meals though I try to hide the pills by taking them under the table. It's something I learned to do at a young age but most of you have caught on by now.

It's a bit frustrating that every time I go to a doctor's appointment, they tell me seven to ten years for a cure. Sounds more like a prison term which is fitting since at times that's what CF feels like. I am seeing evidence though that new drugs are coming out and making a difference. I hope one day CF does indeed stand for Cure Found.

The last few days have been disappointing and it's probably due to the unbearable heat (or the fact that the Braves keep trotting out Kawakami but I digress). I'm coughing a little more which Andrea noticed. I don't feel bad but I have a bit of a cough right now. I'm sure it will get better as time goes on.

Ethan had a great doctor's appointment today and that has been the highlight of my week. I call him my double miracle, while Avery is my single miracle. It was a miracle that we could conceive him (and Avery for that matter) and a miracle that he has gotten so much better. Ethan had an infarct at birth which is essentially a stroke that affected his brain. Our doctor at Piedmont was very negative about his odds of living a normal life. Every time the phone rang in that hospital, the doctor came back with worse news. Ethan suffered seizures too at a young age so we had to have him on a breathing monitor that we had to keep him on for most of his first year.

Our neurologist is impressed with his language skills and especially with his comprehension (he gets that part from Andrea and so does Avery). He is always going to be left-handed the doctor said. I wonder if he thought that was a bad thing. To my baseball friends, I have put the Braves on speed-dial. How funny that my daughter is named Avery and my son is now left-handed. Steve Avery might be their godfather one day.

My softball team continued their regular season winning streak. It's now at 9 as we destroyed our opponents on Monday. We are one heck of a team. I hope we can show that in the playoffs this time around. We're called OFF THE BENCH because my old team kept me and my co-captain on the bench and I make sure everyone plays on this team and no one sits an entire game.

I have watched "Remember the Titans" about 100 times over the past few weeks while I've worked out. Our cable doesn't work in the workout room TV so we can only watch videos. I've also watched the original "Karate Kid" about 200 times and occasionally I'll throw in "Fletch" for a laugh. I feel bad for Andrea because I end up quoting every movie and I can see by her facial expressions that she might soon injure me but I can just do the Crane technique and I should...never mind.

I'm doing pretty well but sometimes I think about the future. I can't help it as I'm at the doctor about 6 times a year right now when it used to be once or twice. I am closing in on the life expectancy for CF patients too. Am I going to need a transplant? Will I be in the hospital and lose that time with Andrea and the kids? Will my health fall apart one day? Will my kids be without a dad when they need my advice? The difference is now I realize that the voice I'm hearing is my depression and I have to just mute it and go on living. I cannot look back.

I can't really control the health aspect except to do my meds and keep up my workout routine. I can only remain positive and I am trying but I have my tough days. I haven't always made the best decisions and until recently I was terrible at coping with my problems and that made it worse for everyone around me especially Andrea.

I hate saying that CF has led to other issues in my life but it has. I was at a doctor's appointment the other day and my case worker told me that kids and young adults are now being tested for depression and high anxiety so that they can get the proper meds and help before they act out in negative ways. I wish the doctors had been this proactive when I was younger.

Still I take responsibility for my issues and will continue to work through them with the help of others who can empathize. I have a lot to be thankful for, which reminds me that Andrea and I are going on a date on Saturday. It's been too long but I'm excited to plan something fun without children, so Chucky Cheese is out.

Andrea hopes to keep her T-2 playoff run going tonight. Keep your fingers crossed. We had our first Wish for Wendy meeting last night and I think we are in good shape to go for a total in our eleven years of $1 million.

Congrats to my buddy Ross on his soccer championship and thank you Ross for publicizing my blog. I was wondering how I got so many Philadelphians to follow. You'd think I was Chase Utley.

I hope I didn't ramble too much. Stay well, everyone.

Here is today's homemade quote of the day:

"No matter how strong of a person you are, you will make mistakes. That's life. It's the strong person that cannot only admit to making mistakes but who will work to make sure that positive results can one day come out of them."

Best Wishes,


Monday, June 14, 2010

The weekend that was and my thoughts on life

Hello Friends,

Thanks for keeping up with my blog. I hope you are enjoying it.

For most of my life, I have stressed how important it is to live life to the fullest. I'm afraid that I'm a hypocrite in some ways. For a long time, I let my emotional issues get the better of me. I stopped seeing the glass half-full somewhere along the way and that dramatically affected my life. I've been getting help for quite a long time so that my perspective will change. It has given me a great opportunity to see myself for who I am and who I want to be. I have good days and bad but I've seen more good days lately. I plan to continue speaking to groups but I also plan to be more forthcoming of my faults. I believe Alive at 25 made me seem perfect. The Drive at 35 will not repeat that mistake.

It was a tough weekend. Emily was in a bad accident but thank goodness she's okay. I'm also waiting on some test results for someone close to me. Andrea and I took the kids to the pool. I realized how difficult it must be to be a single parent as watching both Avery and Ethan was tougher than doing a triathlon though I was proud that I convinced Avery to jump off the diving board and Ethan to get into the water. Thank goodness Andrea joined me later. Andrea won her tennis match. Her T-2 team won the division and her other team is doing pretty well too. I guess she's the tennis bread winner of the family now. I'm very proud of her. I remember when she was just a beginner and now she could probably take me. Softball season is going well. I go to the practice field on occasion and throw balls to myself and I've hit a couple over the fence. I think I'm getting stronger. I guess the 12 workouts a week are finally paying off. Went to lunch with my buddy Will on Sunday and his daughter. We had a great time (Will, there's your mention in the blog), but afterwards, Avery convinced me to climb up the mountain at Roswell Mill. That was probably a mistake since she stayed on my shoulders the entire time but she did say it was an easy hike. She's a sweetheart.

I have a meeting today regarding The Drive at 35. Let's hope it goes well. I now have 3 fish tanks at home. Some might consider me insane starting with my parents, wife and kids. I find it relaxing to watch them. I prefer it to television now, well except when the Braves are playing. Speaking of sports, I know soccer is the most popular sport in the world but my goodness, can someone please score??? Go USA!

I woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m. and ran a mile, worked out and then did my therapy and nasal treatments. I didn't finish till about 7 a.m. and was exhausted. I can really feel it today. I may have overdone it. Worse, I have softball tonight but I also looking forward to coaching my team and trying to continue our regular season winning streak. We have won 8 in a row.

I wish everyone health, happiness and most of all, imperfection because it's okay not to be perfect. In fact, it's probably the best thing that can happen to you.

Best Wishes,


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The doctor

Well, being that this is my first blog entry, I will try not to make it too long and monotonous.

The past month has been interesting. I was honored to be the best man in Ross Jacobs' wedding. Ross and I lived together for several years and we have remained extremely close. He and his lovely bride, Summer, had a beautiful wedding in Pennsylvania and it was an honor to emcee on Saturday night and give a toast on Sunday.

The following week was quite busy. I had a doctor's appointment last Friday that I was really worried about. My pulmonary numbers have plummeted over the last few months. I didn't want to go on IV's but at least I'd gotten past the three weddings in April and May that Andrea and I had to travel for.

I've been working out extra hard the last six months. I work out 8 to 12 times a week which includes running a mile a day, playing softball once a week and strength-training six times a week.

My pulmonary function tests went alright. I was up but only 1 to 2%. The good news is I was able to get off antibiotics for the first time in months. The negative is that I'm still doing two hours of treatments a day this month and every other month, I'll be administering four hours of treatments a day.

I'm concerned that I won't be able to run the Peachtree. It's only a month from now. I plan to start running two-mile treks twice a week starting next week.

Avery and Ethan continue to surprise me. Avery is growing up before my very eyes and Ethan is talking and it is very obvious that the speech and physical therapy have been well worth it. Kudos to Andrea for finding all of the specialists that have helped make our son a true miracle. I take pictures and videos of them everyday because I don't want to forget these times.

I go through ups and downs both physically and emotionally and that has affected both me and my family. Some of this is tied to cystic fibrosis. The life expectancy most recently was 37 years. I turn 37 in 87 days. It’s really scary.

I continue to work on The Drive at 35 which I hope to not only be an inspirational story but also to be quite realistic to anyone with physical or emotional problems. We all have our faults and issues and this book is no fairy tale.

I hope everyone is happy and healthy.


Andy - I have CF but it will never have me!