Thursday, July 29, 2010

Loss of a friend day 3

Well, I’ve had a day to think about everything and I’m still hurting. I was quiet Wednesday night, kind of in my own world. Andrea beat me in ping pong and usually I get upset but it really didn’t matter to me. I didn’t have my heart in it. I just felt like my body was moving but I wasn’t in it. I miss Dr. W. I went through all of our old correspondences today and realized how truly inspiring she was. And I’m not just talking about as a doctor; I’m talking about as a patient. She was always hopeful, believing she would be cured. I wanted her to be right. I’m sad that she was not. I included one of my last conversations with her. I only included it because I wanted you to know the amazing optimism she showed and the fact that she was going through Hell and still took the time to write me.

This is from January of this year.

Nice to hear from you!
I am actually doing well. I am down 5 or 6 cycles of chemo (depending on whether you count the experimental drug I am taking with the chemo) and my latest CT scan showed that it is working really really well! My oncologist is actually using the words "complete remission". The plan is for me to have another cycle of chemo (just had one Friday), then another CT scan, and then hopefully talk to a surgeon and come off chemo. My oncologist also uses the words "We'll see" a lot. Like I do with my children!

I hope you and your family are doing well and you are having a happy holiday and spoiling your kids with too many presents!
Thank you again for checking in.

And this is the letter that hurt me most. I had asked how she was and if I could include her in my book. Unfortunately she’ll never get to read it:

Dear Andy,
What a sweet and thoughtful note. Thank you.
Yes you have my permission to use my name etc. And even use the words breast cancer if you would like. I am pretty open about this.

I am so flattered by this - looking forward to reading the book when it is ready.
Things are going ok. Some ups and downs but mostly ups. Today is a little weird as I am starting to lose my hair. I had it cut really short so it won't be a big mess when it comes out. I am mentally prepared and have a ton of scarves waiting in the wings! It will be interesting to be bald, but I know it's temporary
I hope you are doing well and the kids are happy and healthy. Mine just started back at Trinity last week. Hard to believe my three year old is in school but there he is, holding his brother's hand as they walk in together.

Thank you again for this email and for keeping in touch. My next chemo starts in a week!

I don’t know what hurt most. Hearing how much faith she had or hearing about her kids. Jesus, I hurt for her whole family. One thing she wrote me months before she passed was to always have faith in your doctor. It’s important. I hope she knows that I had faith in her. She was amazing. I lost a friend and the world lost an amazing doctor.

Yesterday I tried to keep busy. I got all of my work done and when I started to think of my doctor, I instead went on Facebook and added people that worked with Dr. W. so we could have each other to talk to if necessary. I also made my calls to people in my rehab circle and went to a meeting last night and talked about her. Several people came up to me saying what an amazing person she seemed to be. One had read the article the day before and had been talking to his family about her even though they had never met her nor knew that she was my doctor. It felt good to be coping appropriately. I would not have done that in the past.

Last night I e-mailed Arjun, also a doctor and her husband. I asked if it was ok to reveal her inspiring e-mails. He was fine with it, saying that he wanted his kids to know what kind of doctor she was and that he would let them know what an amazing mother she was. I thought it showed how selfless Arjun was when he told me that he was concerned for all of those patients who lost a great doctor. What a strong man and what a selfless person, worried less about himself and more about the people in the world that she helped as a doctor.

I can’t stop thinking about how lucky I am today. I have a beautiful healthy family. Sure, we’ve had our issues between CF, MS, brain infarcts and peanut allergies but everyone is relatively healthy.

Andrea and I talked about what we would name after Dr. W. if given the opportunity. Andrea had a great idea. We could have a CF educational table and name it after Dr. Wolfenden. I also thought that the Wish for Wendy Foundation would match all the contributions put on the table and donate it to the CF Foundation in Dr. W.’s name.
She meant so much to me. I will stay at Emory and continue to work with the group there but it won’t be the same. I’ll walk in and expect her sometimes sarcastic smile and her humorous remarks about having children. We joked a lot about our kids. She loved them so much.

I will always hold a place in my heart for Dr. Wolfenden and I will continue to fight so that her mission is some day accomplished…making CF stand for Cure Found!

Andy...Chairman of A Wish for Wendy; But praying that we can cure CF to ensure our wish for Lindy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dr. Wolfenden - I will miss you!

Dr. Wolfenden wasn't just a doctor. She wasn't just my doctor. She was the founding director behind the CF adult care center. She helped me when I got sick and when I got down. We talked about being down and trying to fight back. Dr. Wolfenden, my doctor, lost her battle to breast cancer today. I wasn't supposed to die before my doctor. She was an amazing person and very caring. She was great at joking around and without her, I'm probably much sicker. I miss her already. She was an amazing person. Here is the article in the AJC about her.

I remember she wouldn't be friends with me on Facebook because she said she didn't want her other patients to feel like they should be friends too. She was very ethical. I remember her taking my picture and making her first adult center brochure with my picture on there. She was so motivated and such a loving doctor. Her patients will truly miss her. I will miss her. I already do. The irony is that I e-mailed her this morning because we hadn't talked in a couple of months. I had a strange feeling that something was wrong and that's why I contacted her. Maybe at that moment she was contacting me from above.

I don't know how this will affect my depression but I'll be calling friends to check in. That's what tends to help me. Why do horrible things happen to such good people? She was so great to all of us CF patients. Sadly I'm finding all of her old e-mails now and saving them so I never lose her. I'm sad that her kids will grow up without a mom and I'm sad for her husband who lost an amazing wife.

I am dedicating my book to her because she helped patients for the right reasons - she loved people and truly wanted to help them. I just found out the funeral is at 2pm today so I won't be able to make it. But at 2pm, I will think of my doctor, my motivator and my friend. Dr. Wolfenden, you were there for me when I needed someone. I will continue to raise money for CF because of people like yourself. Thank you for your dedication. You were inspiring to your patients.

I will be naming something after her at Wish for Wendy if her family approves. She deserves the notoriety although I know that she wouldn't have wanted or needed it. Please pray for her family and pray that there will be more people/doctors like her someday because to this day I have not met one.

Best Wishes,

Andy (Heartbroken)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Therapy and Feeling Fortunate


I had a meeting with my therapist today. I thought it went pretty well. He asked how my twelve-step program was going and how things with my sponsor were working out. I wish I could tell him something bad that’s going on so I felt like I was getting my money’s worth but right now I feel like I’m doing well. We are now going to see each other once a month instead of once every three weeks. That’s a big step in my progress. Still I’m cautious as I know that my issues tend to find me whether I’m high or low so I have to keep on guard.

Andrea’s Birthday

I really think this weekend with Andrea was just amazing. I had a great time. I not only enjoyed being with her but I also enjoyed seeing her reaction when she found out about the surprise. I wanted her to know how much I appreciate and love her. I hope I at least wooed her a little.


I found a few of my old babysitters on Facebook. One asked me if she was the one who hit me because she didn’t think she was. I told her it was not her so not to worry though I may talk to her later on about how I should handle it as she knew the guy.

The Book

I’m looking forward to working with my agent this week as we have lots to do to get this book published. I’m looking forward to getting this book out. While my personal life may be criticized when people read the book, I think overall people will understand what it’s like to deal with emotional issues not to mention the physical issues I battle with CF. I’m by no means a hero nor am I a failure. I’m somewhere in between which I believe we term that “human.”


I haven’t had any depression issues today though I did find a letter I wrote to myself months ago when things were at their worst and I was checking into a rehabilitation facility. The letter was full of anger and shame. At the time, it felt right to write those sorts of things. Now I believe that while I have made mistakes, I don’t deserve the self-hatred. I’m actually kind of proud of myself for working hard and not giving up.


I’ve gotten a lot of nice e-mails from people who have read my blog. Thank you for the feedback and the reassurance that this blog is helpful. I welcome all comments. It helps me decide what I should write about. I understand that blogs can seem self-indulgent and to some degree my blog probably seems that way. I promise though that my intentions for writing it are not to toot my horn. Heck, as you’ve seen, I haven’t had a lot to toot about. I’m writing it because I know that there are people out there like me. There are people afraid to reveal secrets. There are people unknowingly battling depression. There are people battling a terminal illness. I’m there for all of you and I understand what you’re going through. I’ve lived a double life. I’ve lived in fear of my issues. Revealing them one by one is therapeutic and I hope that it gives someone else the courage to reveal his or her issues.

Remember that no matter what your problems are, there is someone out there who deals with worse. I was at Lil' Azios the other day and Avery and Ethan were being crazy. Andrea and I were about to go nuts. Then a young boy in a wheelchair was trying to get himself in and out of the restroom and Andrea and I saw him. He did not smile and his parents didn't look too happy either. They looked fatigued. It was at that moment that Andrea and I were reminded of how lucky we were. Kids acting up didn't seem to be a big deal anymore. Nothing really did.

Sports and Working Out

Our softball game got rained out last night as I came to bat in the 2nd inning and lightning filled the sky and the ump called the game. Darn! I was just about to do my best Roy Hobbs impersonation (The Natural). We still have a shot at first place but we have to win our next game.

I got a great workout in today. I was sweating profusely afterwards. I got in about a mile run and then did 40 minutes of chest and leg weights. I’m feeling it right now. I’m not sure if my diet is working. I’m about 192 which is 4 pounds up from last week. I hope at least some of it is muscle or maybe I have an invisible 4 pound chain on my neck or maybe it’s the chocolate cake that Troy made us on Sunday...nah!

Thinking of Someone

I have a person close to me that is still going through some medical issues so I will continue to pray that he gets better. Please put this person in your prayers. Right now I have to keep him anonymous unless he tells me it’s ok to reveal his identity.


I have only 6 days remaining of Tobi. I can’t wait. Although I have learned of things I can do between Pulmozyme and Tobi as it’s recommended to wait 15 to 20 minutes between the aerosols. I’ve increased my workouts, gotten back into billiards and I’ve learned to play myself in Ping Pong. It’s a gift, people. A gift!


I’ve learned in recent days that “Daddy, I love you” while sweet is not a moment where my daughter has realized how much she loves me. I believe it means either one of two things: Avery knocked down her brother and he is crying or she spilled her milk on the floor. Still, I’m going to pretend that she has this life-changing moment where she realizes how important her father is to her. I did include a picture of Avery in her Supergirl outfit. Looks like great minds think alike as I've included my "Super" picture from when I was about her age.


I’m looking forward to starting my speaking schedule again in the coming months. I have spoken at schools, Kiwanis clubs, rotary clubs, businesses and health organizations. I want my story, both its positives and its negatives, to make a difference in someone else’s life. I don’t want to be a role model. I think that word is thrown around too easily these days. I’m not a role model. I just want to make a difference in someone else’s life.

That’s it for today. Stay well, everyone.

Oh, a quick shoutout to my friend Missy. Congrats on the improved pulmonary function test results. That's awesome, girl. Keep it up!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Update #2 on Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle was released on Saturday. Great news! What a wonderful start to the week.

Best Wishes,


Andrea's birthday weekend and Finding Closure

I think Andrea had a great birthday weekend. Friday night we went to the Atlanta Tennis Championships and got to see Andy Roddick and Marty Fish play their quarterfinal matches. The traffic to get there was miserable. It took us 45 minutes to drive 2.1 miles. I kept wanting to say "Big Ben, Parliament." It was really hot there but still worth it to see some top tennis players in action. It was also nice to find a new babysitter for Avery and Ethan. She did a really good job. As usual, I checked with Avery the next morning to see how it went. I'm still untrusting of any babysitter since my childhood traumas.

On Saturday, we took the kids to a place called Sensations which is a place where kids can play and learn about different things like balance and light. It's kind of like SciTrek but you can actually play with everything. Avery met her boyfriend Doug there. Yes, she's 4 and she has a boyfriend. I am trying to be supportive but I didn't plan for her to start dating until she was 30 so this is difficult. On Sunday, we went to the mall which was an adventure as always. Then I surprised Andrea thanks to Ross and Summer who gave me the idea of Troy came out and cooked us dinner at our house. Andrea's only clue was that we'd been to this place many times (our own house). I highly recommend Troy for you guys and women as he is a very nice guy and does a tremendous job. I'd hire him again. It's been a tough year for Andrea and I but I was glad to show her that I love her and I wanted this to be a very special birthday. Honorable mention to my parents who took Avery and Ethan for the night. It was nice not waking up at 6 a.m. to hear Avery chanting "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" or Ethan crying "Mommy, Daddy, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" I included a picture from last night of Troy and Andrea. Is it me or does Troy look like Hootie?

Quick Sports Updates

The Braves lost 2 out of 3 to the Marlins thanks to Bobby Cox. I'm actually looking forward to a new manager coming in and I hope we get him from a different organization. It's time to go in another direction. Thanks Bobby for all the years but I think it's time for a change.

I think I went an entire weekend without hearing about a Georgia player being thrown off the team. That's good news.

My softball team has a 6:30 game at Brookhaven tonight. This is our chance to move back into first place. We have just enough guys to field a team which means I'll be playing the entire game. I hope to drive in a few runs tonight.

I had a really good workout on Friday. I lifted 10 reps of 180 pounds twice and then 10 reps of 200 pounds once. I'm really increasing the weight on my workouts. I ran for about 10 minutes this morning and then did a 30 minute workout between treatments. Only one more week of Tobi till I get a month-long break.

I let my daughter watch an old DVD we had of the Wonder Woman series from the early eighties. I've learned two things from watching. Special effects have come a long way in the past three decades and I now know why Lynda Carter was not up for any Emmys. Avery kept asking when does she turn into Wonder Woman. I kept asking when do we put this on mute.

I didn't suffer any bouts from depression this weekend. Thursday was good because I saw a good friend at a meeting. He had been suffering and he was now in recovery. I was really happy to see him and we got to chat for a little bit. I feel like I'm starting to become more of a leader in my group. I used to feel like an outsider. I now know that I belong. My biggest issue was never my emotional issues or the way I coped with them or how I treated my family. My biggest issue was that I didn't realize that I had serious issues and therefore I let them go on. I'm glad now that I am accepting of them regardless of how awful I feel about the things that happened.

I found myself last week after I sent my blog on Facebook looking for people from my past. I found two of my old babysitters. I don't know. I'm trying to find people that were a part of my tumultuous past, even if they were not the ones that affected my life in a negative way. I need closure and I'm trying to find it any way I can. I assume that it will help my present and future.

I go to see my therapist this week. George and I have a good relationship. He has really helped me to dig into my past to find out why I've had recent issues that have affected me negatively. I work every day to improve my marriage, my role as a father to my children and I still want to be a role model for kids with CF. While I'm not close to perfect in how I've coped with my disease and how I've treated my family, I have learned how to fight against several physical and emotional enemies and I feel like I can help those that deal with this disease. That's one of the things I hope this blog accomplishes.

I was thinking how life comes full circle today. When I was little, I used to dream that Wendy would ask if I needed help but I never accepted her proposal. Yet when I finally did get help at a rehabilitation facility, it was on the same highway exit as the cemetary that my sister was buried in. I visited her three times as well as my friend Jon Barkan who passed away much too early in life. I placed a Wish for Wendy softball on his grave because I wanted him to know how much I appreciated his support for our event but mostly I wanted him to know how truly invaluable his friendship was to me. I know I speak for many when I say "There were people who loved Jon Barkan and the rest of the people never got to meet him." He was a wonder, wonderful man.

That's all for today. Have a nice week everyone. To those of you suffering, keep fighting. Today always has a chance to be the first day of the rest of your life.

Best Wishes,


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Sadly Mr. Turtle's leg had to be amputated, BUT he is going to be in good enough shape to be returned to the wild in a few days. They'll take him in 2 to 3 days. So if you're ever in North Fulton County and run into a 3-legged turtle, please say hello to "For My Avery." Yes, that's his name.


I'm sorry Mr. Turtle and my letter to the babysitter

So this morning, I pulled out of the garage to take Magic to Doggy Day Care for the day while the cleaners came in to clean the house. Unfortunately I hit a bump in the road literally. I ran over a turtle in our garage. Not just any turtle. The one my daughter loved because she fed him a banana this past weekend. I felt so bad. I’ve never run over anything more than a bug before. So I thought about it. Help the turtle and be late to work or go to work and just say “Not my fault.” I went with the former. I found a place in Dunwoody that works on amphibians. “All Creatures” took the turtle in. I refuse to give him a name unless he lives. I think I broke his foot and if he can’t go back into the wild at 100%, they will have to euthanize him. I feel bad but at least I did the right thing and helped the little guy. Magic made it to Doggy Day Care ok after our little adventure. My car was like a petting zoo. All we were missing was a shetland pony. I think I could have stopped at one of the schools and made a few bucks.

I left my cell number and they’ll call me with the results. Granted, this is not like waiting for my CF results or a family member’s health results but still I worry about the little guy and want him to be ok. What am I going to tell Avery? How has a four-footed amphibian lodged himself in my heart? I'll update everyone on his condition as soon as I get the word. They must think I'm crazy for calling them once already to check on the little guy.

I’m looking forward to Andrea’s birthday this weekend. She loved her birthday gift which I gave her last night. I tried to wait but I was too excited so I gave it to her early.

Man, I hate dealing with depression. I swear it’s like living with Jaws. Just when you think you’re out of the woods, it comes right back after you but stronger. I have someone close to me that is dealing with a health issue and it’s just been tough. I know that person is going to be ok but it’s been difficult. Coping with depression is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s a strange thing. I know I can beat it but there are random moments of the day when I’ll find myself doodling and it turns out I’m writing something horrible about myself or a horrible act I’d like to do myself. I’m not on suicide watch or anything like that but sometimes I’m scared by what I write. I usually throw it away immediately and try to focus on something good like looking at a picture of my family. I sometimes feel like there is an evil spirit locked inside of me, constantly trying to get out. I do my best to fight it off.

I saw my good friend Seth today. We had a good time hanging out. I have one of my meetings tonight. Andrea has another tennis match so Em is coming to watch the kids. It was so cute. Avery stayed downstairs with me while our nanny was here this morning while I was doing my therapy. Avery is ultrasensitive to noise but still when Andrea tried to take her up, she said “I want to stay downstairs with daddy.” Because it’s been tougher to bond with Avery for me than Ethan, that really meant a lot. I was not a great father to Avery her first few years so I feel like this is another step to an amazing father-daughter relationship. She means the world to me and I’m glad she’s starting to feel a bit of a bond. I enclosed a picture of my little cutie from one of my therapy sessions. See, she is starting to have a little bit of fun with it.

I finished the letter I’m going to send to my babysitter in a couple of months. I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts:

Dear “Babysitter”,

I don’t know if you remember me. I’m hoping you do. About 30 years ago, you beat the absolute crap out of me on several occasions and threatened to do harm to me if I ever told. I never told, but fortunately my mom saw that I was in pain and discovered the red marks all over my backside. I kept this quiet for a long time but I never got closure so today I’m getting it. You really hurt me and affected my life. That stops today. During the time you were beating me, I was having other childhood traumas including finding out that I wasn’t going to have a very long life thanks to my cystic fibrosis. I sometimes wonder if my depression started with the things that you did to me.

You, being a father, must know how hard it is to trust anyone who takes care of your children. Imagine what your actions did to my parents. Imagine what they have done to me now that I have kids. I am never telling people who you are because I’m hoping that you have changed or at least feel bad about what you did. I wish you well and do not expect an apology. This wasn’t done to make you feel better or worse. It was done so I could get over the acts of 30 years ago. It was done so you no longer had the upper-hand. It was done so that the kid who had his life threatened could finally fight back. Mission accomplished.
I’ve said my peace.

Andy Lipman

Thanks everyone for letting me share. Fight the good fight.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Andrea's turning a year older and my babysitter dilemma

Hey everyone, I hope that you are doing well. I've included a picture of me as a batboy for the Braves which the CF Foundation allowed me to do for one game when I was in grammar school. You can see how skinny I was. That's common for people with CF. I've also included picture of me (with my lovely bride) finishing the Peachtree in 2007. The working out definitely has paid off and I can't say enough about it for parents of kids with CF. Exercise can be a great medication against CF.

I have big plans for Andrea’s birthday which I am not telling her about. She’s probably reading this blog and trying to get clues. No luck honey! I look forward to showing her how much I love her. It's been a trying few years and I want her birthday to be one of her best birthdays ever. Andrea will be a year older on Sunday so please give her a call, send her a text, Facebook her or send her a telegram.

I just finished a video for our website It was cool to work with the best man from my wedding, Ross. He did a great job. I’m sure it will turn out great. Hopefully it will promote awareness for cystic fibrosis. I’m really proud of it. We should have it ready by the middle of August. Thanks Ross and please thank Rodney for me!

I’m proud of my 1st place Braves. Only about 70 games to go. I think the Phils will make one more run at them. I think the Mets are done. I hope we can hang on. I have missed being in a pennant race the last few years. It’s really exciting.

My diet is in week 3. I set a goal of losing 11 pounds in 4 weeks and thus far I’ve lost 8 pounds. I’m eating Lean Cuisines for lunch and occasionally adding small smoothies to the mix from Planet Smoothie. I’m eating smaller portions for dinner and trying to decrease the number of snacks I eat. I’m still keeping the same workout routine while being on my Tobi aerosol. So each day, I work out for about an hour (two hours on Mondays when I have softball) and then I have my treatments for 3 to 4 hours. I’m not playing the Wii like I thought I would. I’m mostly spending time with the kids or catching up on Law and Order SVU and Criminal Intent.

I thought a lot about contacting my babysitter. I talked to my sponsor about it. Yes, I have a sponsor that I meet with once a week. He recommended I wait till we finish our program that should end in a couple of months but he did think that contacting him would be a wise idea in order to get closure. I have therefore decided with his advice and from your advice on the blog to go ahead and contact him and let him know that his past actions affected me and that I will no longer let them burn in me. Not only does my past with him make me afraid of conflict but it makes me afraid of any babysitter I hire to watch my kids. I never hire a guy to do it. That’s the effect that he had on me. He’s made me untrusting in many ways, but I have the control to fix that in myself and I plan to do that.

I have other secrets to reveal about myself and in time I will. Thank you for being patient and for listening. Having a blog is a great outlet but it also is difficult because it’s hard to express the secrets I’ve kept for years about myself. We all fear being judged whether we admit it or not. We fear people thinking negatively of us and therefore treating us differently.

Andrea won her tennis match again this past Sunday. I’m going to have to start calling her Serena. She’s a tremendous player. I can't wait to take her to the Atlanta Tennis Championships on Friday to watch the Quarterfinals. Hopefully we'll get Isner though I don't feel like staying there for 13 hours. Andrea and Staci make a great T-2 doubles team as well. They are defending champions of their division. I took the kids to watch her play USTA on Sunday and I was very impressed. I remember when she was just a beginner.

My softball team won again. We were 17-9 winners. I went 2 for 2 with 3 RBI’s and hit the stuffing out of the ball. It’s the hardest I’ve hit a softball in a long time. I think part of it is because I’ve increased the amount of weight I’ve been lifting lately. I’m also using the bench instead of the machine the last week or so. I’m doing 3 sets of 185 right now, 10 reps each. That used to be easy for me but since I haven’t done the barbell in so long it’s tough to get used to it again. I also believe I’m swinging harder because of the anger in me lately. I’m less shamed of my past issues and more upset at my past coping skills. I don’t know if that’s the antidepressants talking or even my therapists or sponsor or even the program I'm working, but I know that it’s time that I let the past die and make the most of the present.

Andrea and I had fun with Ross and Summer this past weekend. We saw Despicable Me. Great flick, but the company was better.

My new agent and I will begin working next week on selling my book to a publisher. I look forward to the next step in the process.

Ethan had a virus this week but he’s starting to come out of it. Tuesday night was terrible. Andrea and I slept a combined 5 hours. It is so hard to see your kid in poor health. Andrea took him to the doctor yesterday and he is so much better today. I have to thank my friend Kerry who helped us find a great doctor in the Norcross area. Ethan is laughing again and trying to beat up his big sister. Avery, meanwhile, is becoming quite the ping pong player. We now play to 10 and if she hits the ball she gets a point and if she misses, I get the point. I used to win with ease but she beat me 10-5 yesterday. My prize was a big hug and kiss. Her prize was beating big bad Daddy.

T minus a month till Andrea gets to go to the Emmys with Emily. They won the prize at a silent auction. That is so cool. I am so excited for them. I’m hoping they see the cast of Modern Family there. I’d love to see a picture of Ed O’Neill (formerly Al Bundy). I’m a huge fan of the show.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope everyone is well. Manda, thank you for the note. Emily and Jay, thank you for your input. And to my anonymous buddy who is beating his issues, keep fighting! I’m pulling for you.

To anyone battling CF or any other disease, fight the good fight and communicate to your friends and family about how they can help. It makes a difference. Trust me.

Later everyone.

Best Wishes,


Friday, July 16, 2010

We found an agent...and I found my bully!

Good news! I have found a literary agent who will work with me and my team to get The Drive at 35 published. This was a long process but finally we have reached the next step. This is very exciting. Also today we got good news that singer/songwriter Garth Brooks will be writing a foreword. He will be joined by a few other celebrities who will be writing forewords. These individuals will be announced in the next few weeks.

In other exciting news, we have found our third babysitter. The first 2 dropped out. Ah, the life of a parent. Saturday is back on.

Looking forward to going to the Braves game tonight with Ethan and of course our 1st place Braves. He's going to have so much fun...until we leave in the 3rd or 4th inning when he climbs on the chair and starts beating me with his Tomahawk and laughing. He is definitely getting some Braves merchandise though before we leave.

I took a picture today. This is Ethan and me. Notice the picture he's holding. That's an ad my Aunt Susie worked on for a school project for the CF Foundation. The model you ask? That's me when I was just a few years older than Ethan. Back then, most people didn't think that kid would grow up to be a father. Heck, at that time, half the children in the world with CF were not even living to the age of 18.

In other news, I was writing another notice about this blog today on Facebook so that everyone could hear the good news and follow the blog. I happened to look up the babysitter who beat me as a kid. Wouldn't you know that I found him? Apparently he is now on Facebook. Now I'm deliberating whether I should contact him or just leave it alone. He's in his forties now. I'm in my mid-thirties. Can I just let it go? I just feel like I never got closure and that's an issue for me. I'll continue to think about it. I just wanted to hear some of your feedback.

Andrea has a tennis match on Sunday. She's become the superstar tennis player of the house. I might start bringing my junior trophies upstairs just to hint to her that I had my glory days, but I'm not that competitive. Ok, I'll be putting a box together tonight.

I e-mailed my counselor from the rehab facility I attended last year and got a response. She was happy to hear how well I was doing and wished me well. Sadly I've only heard from a few of my friends there. Most of them have not kept in contact and I'm afraid that's because they relapsed and have returned. I hope I'm wrong. Each day I feel like I have gotten stronger. I talk to friends in similar predicaments. I stay busy with work, friends and family.

I'm so lucky to be alive and on the right track. I am also lucky because I am in love with an amazing woman. I truly can't wait to see Andrea when I get home. I have enclosed a picture of my beautiful wife as well. I can't wait to see Avery and Ethan either. I have enclosed a picture of them sitting with daddy while I was doing my therapy. I'm sure Ethan will hang on to my leg and say "Uppy Dad! Uppy!" Avery will say "Daddy, I am playing with my dolls. You can get a hug later." Can't wait till she's a teenager.

Well, have a good weekend and I'll continue to give updates on the book.

Best Wishes,


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dieting and another skeleton revealed

Hello Friends,

I am sitting here after another delicious 300 calorie Lean Cuisine meal. I am stuffed. Who am I kidding? This stuff tastes like the kind of food we used to get on airplanes. All that’s missing is the plastic fork and a toilette for my hands. I’ve been on this diet for a week now and I’ve lost about 4 pounds and I’m starting to lose my mind. I need a smoothie!!! My goal is to lose 11 pounds in 30 days. I got way above my “playing weight” which is kind of shocking since I have cystic fibrosis. Most of us are relatively thin. I was too for a long time. I’m including a picture of me as a skinny little kid so you can have an idea.

I went for an outdoor run today. It was a balmy 95 degrees. I was drenched after only running about a half mile. Still it was a good break from work. One of the things I've learned through my counselors is that taking a break from work for 10 to 15 minutes every now and then is very healthy.

This weekend was awesome. We went to Rusty and Andrea’s lake house and had a blast. I got to water ski for the first time. Well, I got to get in ready position for the first time. I fell on my face twice. Andrea, of course, did it the first time and did great. I can’t seem to beat her at anything…except maybe ping pong or naming random actors from 80’s movies. Ok, she wins the latter too. I was really proud of her performance at Lake Oconee.

I’m looking forward to a double-date this Saturday with Ross and Summer. That should be a lot of fun. I think we’ve all but secured the plans but now we’re looking for a new babysitter as our sitter had something come up.

I try to reveal a skeleton with each blog but today I'll make it humorous as I know most have been a bit intense. I am going to reveal my favorite chick flick of all time. In fact, here is my top 5.

5. Love Actually
4. Just Friends
3. Along came Polly
2. Titanic
1. A League of Their Own

I'll be sure to throw my man card away now.

Ethan now says "Ethan Cole" and it's very cute although he's still a bit hooked on daddy. Avery is not as hooked. I asked her if I could put her to bed the other night and she said "No, I want mommy. Tomorrow you can do it." It's as if she's a fancy restaurant and I have to make reservations in advance.

Dad's walking better now. He's had to go through a lot but he's slowly on the mend.

Emily got back from Israel. She had a blast. I saw her the other night at our Wish for Wendy meeting. She looks terrific.

Mom is doing pretty well. I can tell she's tired. I know she tries to do everything for everyone but hardly ever does anything for herself. I worry about her. I admire her in many ways but I don't think that selfless strategy is a healthy way to live your life.

I'm having a few coughing spasms tonight. I'm ok though. I think it's probably because I'm doing my two hour therapy right now. I'm also slowly losing my voice from the Tobi and Pulmozyme I'm inhaling. This is probably a relief to the people who work with me.

Well, that's it. I hope everyone is healthy and if you're sick, I hope you feel better very soon. Thanks for listening and giving feedback.

Best Wishes,


Mr. McCann

Congrats to Brian McCann for winning All-Star game MVP. I’m including his picture as he came to Wish for Wendy his rookie season. I am very proud of him. Also in the picture are Blaine Boyer and Kyle Davies. From left to right, it is McCann, me, Boyer and Davies. Brian, please come back to Wish! We miss you!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A good week and another skeleton revealed

Good Friday everyone. First, the credit for this picture goes to a random person at a Braves game. Thank you random person. I hope you enjoyed the game.

Last night I went to one of my meetings that I try to go to weekly. The meetings consist of people with similar issues as mine. One of the guys told me that he was having a good week, much better than last. We started talking and we realized it had nothing to do with the goings on during the week. It had more to do with him and how he dealt with his issues. It seems the better your attitude the more things look up in your life. I’ve always been a proponent that attitude is everything but for a long time I’d forgotten what that meant.

I had another friend e-mail me today. We hadn’t talked in ages. Seems that he goes through his own issues and I’m proud of him for being brave enough to talk to me about them. He will remain anonymous but I hope you’re reading this. Proud of you, buddy.

So if I’m to reveal another skeleton of mine, I’ve actually been an out-patient at a mental institute. I was there for 4 weeks. I’ve had a problem that my therapist believes began when something happened to me as a child and it affected me as an adult and therefore affected my family. This is a different issue from the babysitter and I believe it affected me a lot greater though I take full responsibility for not getting help sooner. I will disclose it in time.

Many of you have told me how brave I am. Give a lot of credit to Andrea. She’s had to endure so much through this and she is quite brave herself. Usually I would make some stupid joke here and segue being brave to the first place Atlanta Braves but for once I’m being quite serious. I’m proud of her and sorry for how tough I’ve made things. I'm excited to be taking her to dinner tonight. I don't think anything will beat Indigo in Roswell though, perhaps McDonalds in Norcross. We'll see.

Again I’m only releasing one skeleton at a time so we’ll say the “mental institute” will suffice for now. Opening up about the rehab center is my moment of bravery I suppose. I probably can't talk about it in person yet but eventually I will. So just keep following the blog.

Last night’s Tobi session ended by midnight. I watched my Law and Order: Criminal Intent and then watched the highlights from LBJSPN, I mean ESPN. This LeBron James story has gotten so out of hand. First, I feel bad for Cleveland and I hope karma catches up to LeBron and he never wins a title and Cleveland does. Secondly, why do we give athletes or any celebrity for that matter so much power and pay them so much money? Is entertainment so important? Don’t you think there are others that would play this game or act in a movie for a teacher’s salary? Speaking of teachers’ salaries, that’s another issue of mine. Teachers deserve more money! Military personnel deserve more money. Professional athletes and celebrities deserve far less. I’m not calling them all out. There are some good men and women who use their money to help charities, start foundations and such. Sorry, had to get that one off my chest today. Thanks LeBron.

I had the red dead skin around my ankle checked out. It was nothing more than old dead skin but it has swelled up pretty big. That means I’ll have to put an ointment on it for the next 6 months to get it better. So I only have to deal with 6 more months of people staring at it and asking “Ugh, what’s that?” Terrific! At least I can cross off one doctor from my list.

I started crying today. A friend of mine has 2 close loved ones in the ICU and it made me think back to when Ethan was at NICU at Piedmont and Scottish Rite. I had a really tough time remembering today. I was so scared we were going to lose him. I wanted a boy so badly and I wasn’t even going to see him get out of the hospital. I still have the NICU number on my phone that I entitled Ethan. Sometimes I call and hang up really quickly just to remind myself of how scary it was and how much we went through with little E. It makes me appreciate what we have a whole lot more.

It was tougher on my dad then who said it reminded him of the happenings with my sister, Wendy, and he didn’t want Andrea and I to have to go through the same thing. I’m so fortunate to have a great family. I haven’t always treated them that way but I think they are seeing that more now. Yes, I baby Ethan quite a bit and Avery too but perhaps it’s because I want to enjoy every moment. And that’s not just because I have CF and my years could be limited; it’s because I wasn’t sure I’d have kids and two years ago I wasn’t sure one of them would live. I’m lucky and every day they’re going to know how much I appreciate being so fortunate.

No matter how much Ethan cries or no matter how much my depression affects me, I still feel good about life again. I guess that’s my attitude telling me that it’s a good week.

Have a good one.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

A true hero and how Tobi is going

Today’s word is hero. I mention the word because it reminds me of someone in my life. Nana Rose, my grandmother who is in her mid-eighties, lives alone in a modest white stucco house in a small neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida.

She has dealt with various surgeries to repair her shoulder, arm, knees, eyes, etc. That is not why she is my hero though. Despite all of the pain she endures, I get a fresh batch of hamentashen (a Jewish dessert) or a chocolate chip cake several times a year and she gets the thrill of speaking to her great grandchildren. She now has 6!

My grandmother is a superhero, far greater than Superman or Batman or any of those comic book characters. She has courage when most people would not. My grandmother survived the Holocaust. She’s told me stories of living underground and having to kill Nazi soldiers so she and my grandfather, who passed away more than a decade ago, could survive. My grandpa lost his first daughter and wife in the Holocaust and my grandmother lost most of her brothers. Thank goodness, they found each other. If they were caught, they’d be killed. Nana and my grandpa eventually survived by hiding in a truck that left the Nazi territory and they ended up in a displaced persons camp where many of the families ended up who survived the Nazi regime’s hatred.

Soon after the Holocaust ended, Nana was pregnant with her first child who was born in Germany in the displacement camp. That child was Eva Goldberg who eventually became Eva Lipman and my mother. If not for the efforts and heroics of my grandmother, this blog would not exist and many of you would not know what a hero she was. Thank you, Nana.

I strive to be a hero like my grandmother. At times, I have failed but I have learned from Nana that the fight goes on. While we might be graded by chapters in our life, our final grade only comes when we finish our book.

Now Tobi...

I’ve been on Tobi for a few days now and it’s going ok. The night sessions are the toughest because I tend to fall asleep towards the end and wake up at 1:30 in the morning not knowing where I am. I usually wake up to some infomercial about Memory improvement and considering I have no idea why I’m in the basement at 2 a.m., it might be a good idea to purchase the program. The procedure I do morning and night is my nasal draining (takes 5 minutes) and then my nasal antibiotics and inhalers (another 5 minutes), then I do my pulmozyme, vest and hypertonic saline which take about 50 minutes combined. In the morning, I’ll work out for 45 minutes after that. At night, I just clean up or take a rest. Then after at least a 15 minute hiatus between treatments I do the 40 minute Tobi inhaled treatment. That’s how long it takes. You can imagine how easy it is to get tired especially after a full day at work and a few hours with two young energetic children.

Some of you have e-mailed me or told me how brave you think I am for freely talking about my emotional issues. I appreciate your comments but I just hope that after all of this that my experiences help someone else. I have far more information to disclose that will probably change your opinion of me. In time, I will explain. I appreciate the fact that all of you have been supportive and understanding to this point. I know that you are surprised to find out a lot of things about me and you’ll be surprised to find out even more. I’m being honest about my issues. Slowly the skeletons are disappearing from my closet. Slowly you are getting to know the real me.

I wish everyone a good day.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010


First off, enjoy the picture of Avery (Credit for this picture goes to Andrea and apparently Dr. Dre).

Today I started my Tobi which means 2 more hours of treatments per day for the next 28 days. That means fifty-six more hours of therapy this month. That means a few things. 1) I'll have to wake up extremely early every morning. 2) Andrea will have to take the kids a little longer in the mornings. 3) I will win 5 more Super Bowls on Madden Football.

It's frustrating to add those two hours meaning I'll be doing a total of about 4 hours of treatments per day. That's 1/6 of my day right there. You can see why many CF patients don't have full-time jobs, but I do. So 4 hours of treatments, 8 hours of work and 6 hours of sleep don't leave much time for fun so these are the months I take advantage of my time with the kids and Andrea. I feel fortunate though because there are a lot of CF patients out there who have to do a lot more treatments and have to use Oxygen tanks to assist them.

My depression seems to increase when I'm on Tobi because I do tend to spend a lot more time by myself and also because I get very frustrated with the amount of time I have to do my treatments. Sometimes being by myself for long periods of time can be dangerous. It allows me to think and when I'm depressed I tend to think negatively. I will remind myself to say the Serenity prayer which is a prayer that is supposed to release the stress from my body. It worked at the Peachtree. I said it a few times when my body wanted to quit.

I think I'll be fine this time. I learn everyday how I want to live my life in a positive way and how I want to give my family the best Andy I can give them. Not only do they deserve that, but I deserve that too.

Thanks for reading my blog. I wish all of you a good day.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Running the Peachtree and thank goodness for good friends

Well, before I begin, I realize that blogs are perceived by some as self-indulgent and others say that it can affect the way people feel about you in a negative way. I can understand those opinions however I'm willing to take those risks because 1) I truly believe my blog will help people (from some of the responses I've gotten, it already has) and 2) because it is helpful to me.

I got an e-mail from a friend who is aware of many of my issues which have not been disclosed in this blog as of yet. She was someone I was concerned about because she is a very close friend of mine and I thought she'd be very disappointed in me and wouldn't be very supportive. Perhaps I should give my friends more credit because that wasn't the case. She wrote a very supportive e-mail and I truly appreciate it. I know I won't always get positive responses but I will appreciate them when I do.

Ok, now the big question. Did I survive the Peachtree? I was very scared this time because I have had health issues, both mental and physical, over the last year. I was also scared because for the first time ever I'd told myself it was okay to walk. That wasn't like me at all. So did I finish?

Yes, I did and so did Andrea. I believe I did because I ran it for someone who I know is going through a tough time right now. He was certainly on my mind. Also, I watched the movie "Run Fat Boy Run" beforehand and while it won't be nominated for any Oscars, it helped me to get past "the wall" that the Peachtree presented last year that caused me to walk. This year I ran all 6.2 miles, only stopping momentarily while running in place to pose with Andrea for pictures at the halfway point with Aunt Susie. I also credit it to running with my better half. Andrea took her time and was very supportive during the run. She made it a lot more worthwhile. I'm really proud of her. A year ago she wasn't sure she could run another Peachtree due to some health issues but she did it. She did amazing! We finished in 78 minutes. I know that's unacceptable in Kenya but for two adults battling life-altering disorders, I was pretty proud of us. That makes 5 or 6 for Andrea and 14 for me. Next year I go for 15.

The weather wasn't too bad until the end by the way. It got hot later but we were running in 70 to 80 degree weather. The most inspiring part of the race was the run up Heartbreak Hill where we ran past Piedmont Hospital, the place where Andrea gave birth to Avery and Ethan. Heartbreak hill is a long hill that is considered the most difficult part of the Peachtree run. We saw several patients from the Shepherd Center supporting the runners. All of these people have debilitating injuries. The Shepherd Center takes care of people with spine injuries. How could Andrea and I quit at that point? They only made us work harder.

We went to the Dunwoody Parade on Monday and the kids had a blast (image of Ethan attached - photo credited to Shira Blate). Andrea helped get them more candy than the 4 years combined Avery and I had been trick-or-treating together. I was proud of her but now I'm hesitant to ever take her to Mardi Gras if she was that persuasive getting candy and beads for the kids. It was great to see several friends there. We also saw some good friends on Friday and Saturday night.

All and all, it was a busy weekend but Andrea and I had a blast though we were exhausted last night.

Well, that's about it. More to come later this week.I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th. Keep doing your best.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Well, the Peachtree is just 3 days away. This is the time where I stop the intense physical workouts and start working on my mental edge. This is where I have to convince myself that this race can be completed. The mental part of the Peachtree is a critical, yet hardly talked about factor. Last year, I was in the beginning stages of a bacterial infection so I ran the race in 80 minutes. It was the toughest Peachtree I’ve ever run. Andrea and I are running together for the first time in years so that should be fun…at least for me. Last year, I gained a lot of weight, some of it from my depression. I weighed over 200 pounds for the first time in my life and I could feel it. This year, I weigh about 190 pounds. I plan to return to form this time around.

We had dinner with Rusty and his children last night. It was terrific. Andrea cooked an amazing meal and the kids played really well together. I got to put the kids to bed since Andrea cooked. I actually volunteer to do it. I spent so little time with them when I was depressed and dealing with my issues that I’m trying to make up for that time. Ethan continues to hold me like I’m the rope at the beginning of the movie “Cliffhanger.” Avery continues to copy Ethan so that I’ll carry her too. We call that maneuver the “Double-Hold.” It’s a good workout. I carry about 70 pounds up a flight of stairs and then I vomit when I get to the top.

I realized at the pool the other night how much my life has changed since being an irresponsible guy in his twenties. I used to brag about getting phone numbers back then. The other night, I went to the pool and got a number…of a girl who could babysit our kids. Rock on, me!

I had a somewhat tough night last night. I had one of those coughs that people with CF understand. I didn’t feel awful but I couldn’t get rid of it and it kept causing Andrea to toss and turn so I went downstairs and drank some iced tea while I watched my third episode of SportsCenter just to make sure the Braves won…for the third time. I woke up on the couch at 6:00 A.M. and worked out and finished “Zombieland” for the second time. I then hung out with Ethan while I did my therapy. Andrea brought him down and he went right over to me and put his head on my leg. He’s so sweet in the morning. I then got Avery up after my therapy and she hung out with me while I got ready.

Andrea and I played ping pong the other day and she beat me for the first time in a while. I acted like it was no big deal but it still stings. She’s really good. She’s the tennis player in the family now. That used to be my role. I’m now the softball player who feeds the dog and fish and lets the kids jump all over him.

Ok, so here is my “I’m a loser moment.” The last few years I have watched the Bachelorette. I find it hilarious to see all of the losers on there. And after watching it, I’m thinking I could write a quick 10 rules on how to get the girl.
1) Never piss off the rest of the guys because they’ll sell you out.
2) No cheesy pickup lines. This would have been a tough one for me to pass up.
3) Don’t have a girlfriend going in.
4) Don’t let her meet your parents. Hire actors to play your parents. I’d hire Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. That might be believable.
5) Play hard to get. Don’t ask for her hand in marriage the first night.
6) When they do the rose ceremony and you get a rose, don’t use a cheesy line like “I’d be glad to accept it. You made me smile today.” Just say “Thanks, this will look great in the trash can in my bedroom.” See, there’s the “hard to get” language again.
7) Write a poem for her BUT NEVER READ IT IN FRONT OF THE GUYS…and make it rhyme.
8) When Chris says “This is the final rose of the evening,” don’t shout out “Dude, we know. Why don’t you come up with something new you loser!”
9) Don’t cry!!!!!!!!!!!!!
10) And finally, when she says “Tell me everything about you,” leave out the part where you’ve been divorced 4 times, have 6 children from 5 different women and you’re only on the show for the 15 minutes of fame. Those are what you’d call party fouls.

In other news, I’m looking forward to seeing some good friends on Friday night for dinner and maybe a movie. I’m looking forward to seeing several different people this weekend. I was able to talk to a few friends who go through the same thing as me this week. I was happy that a few of them were doing well. Unfortunately some of them were not.

Well, that’s it for today. I am looking forward to a fun, safe holiday weekend with Andrea and the kids. I want to wish all of you good health and much happiness.

Best Wishes,