Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winter

Well, the winter has officially begun and the new year is here. As most of you know who follow my blog or have read my book, I can't stand the winter. It brings back tough memories and it also reminds me that these are the times when my pulmonary function numbers are their lowest. I see my doctor at the end of January to see how I'm doing. I'm not doing many triathlons at the gym right now basically because it's so cold outside and it's tough to come out of the gym after swimming and dealing with the cold.

I have been working out twice a day. I run in place for 17 minutes, do my strength (anaerobic) workouts for 20 minutes in the morning and do a 1+ mile run and 3+ mile bike ride at the gym. A lot of the 1+ mile run is sprinting and I do the 3 mile bike ride in 10 minutes on the stationary bike. Every now and then, I shoot hoops at the gym just to eliminate the monotony of running and biking.

I just finished my TOBI the other night. I did a lot of traveling this time around while doing it. We went to Knoxville to visit Andrea's dad, we went to visit my grandmother in Jacksonville, on our Disney cruise and visited Andrea's mom in Orlando. I managed not to skip one dose which I'm proud of.

I'm still devastated over the Falcons loss yesterday. I'm frustrated with my sports teams. I'm sick of getting to the playoffs. I want more. Is that too much to ask? Should I be happy my teams are good enough to get to the playoffs? I just am sick of coming up short time and again.

Happy New Year everyone.

Andy

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wish for Wendy Final Numbers!


Thanks to all of you for supporting us in 2011. This year we set lofty expectations.

In 2011, A Wish for Wendy was blessed to have some amazing sponsors, volunteers, donors, players, captains and umpires. All of you played a part in our final number. Our highest gross figure was in 2009 when we raised $174,091.00. Our goal was to beat that in a tough economic year. We didn't beat it. What I meant to say is "Thanks to The Jerry and Anita Zucker Family Foundation, we didn't JUST beat it, we annihilated it!"

Our final gross number for 2011 is $252,710.00 which in 12 years puts us over $1.25 million raised. Thank you to all of you who have given up your time and energy to make this event a success. As a cure moves closer for patients like me, I thank you for not only giving me a longer time to live but also for giving my family a dad, husband, son and brother to spend many more holidays with God willing.

I wish all of you happy holidays and a safe New Year!

Andy

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Blogmaster returns...


Well, I'm back to blogging today. Sorry about the long break. Andrea and I took the kids on a cruise with my cousins and their kids. We had a great time as it was a Disney Cruise. The kids absolutely loved the characters especially Mickey and Minnie. I had a terrific time with Andrea and seeing the kids interact with their cousins. I can however say that I have my Mickey fix for quite a long time.

The Drive at 35 is selling very well but that doesn't mean I'm going to slow down the publicity. I have a PR team that will start up in January but I'm doing all I can prior to that to move the book across the country and around the world. We've had orders from Taiwan, Ireland, England, France and Canada. It's really exciting. The feedback has been wonderful as well. Thanks to all of you who have bought a copy. Please continue to spread the word.

I'm waiting to find out when I am throwing out the first pitch at a Braves game. I can't wait. I have submitted the paperwork and am just waiting for a response from the Braves.

The final numbers for Wish for Wendy should be available at week's end. I will forward them on. Next year's Wish for Wendy will be Saturday November 10th so please mark it down on your calendars.

I hope that everyone had a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas and a Happy Kwanza. I also wish all of you a Happy New Year!

Here is my quick sports update: The Falcons look like the 3rd best team in the NFC. The problem is that they are far below the top 2 teams: GB and NO.

The Braves apparently have no money to spend this offseason. I'm looking forward to someone buying the team and spending money to make this team a true title contender.

The Hawks are...well, does anyone watch the NBA anymore? Here's an update. They are 1-0. Joe Johnson is still a Hawk. We still can't spend money.

The Thrashers are...the Winnipeg Jets and are in 2nd place in their division. Go Jets!

Why is it that whenever I go to the gym and grab a locker, someone always removes their stuff from the locker next to mine? It almost always happens. There could be 5 people in a locker room with 200 lockers but someone is always next to me. Deep thoughts.

Live your dreams and love your life!

Andy

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My new book


I am so excited about my new book being published. Even though the “official release” isn’t until after the first of the year, early release copies of The Drive at 35 are available now through my web site www.andylipman.com. The direct link is www.andylipman.com/books.cfm. Some people are ordering them for holiday gifts. If you order a gift copy and would like me to include a personalized autograph, just send an email to andy@andylipman.com when you place your order and I’ll be happy to inscribe it to whomever you name.

A lot of people have asked what The Drive at 35 is about. It is about looking back from the perspective of a 35 year old. It’s my story of what kept me going, having lived with the knowledge for my entire life, that I was just shy of the age I was expected to die of cystic fibrosis. It is about the journey I’ve taken to beat CF, but more importantly about applying what I’ve learned coping with CF to coping with all the things that have happened to me, many of which would seem to have nothing to do with the disease. It’s about where I am as an individual, and how I got here.
A significant portion of The Drive at 35 focuses on battles and triumphs that could be part of anyone’s experiences. The after-effects of childhood trauma, achieving athletic goals, getting married, the trials of In Vitro fertilization, the joys and terrors of becoming a parent, and suffering from clinical depression are a few examples. I also wrote about losing a sister to the same disease I have and deciding to start a foundation in her memory, then about all the wonderful friends who have helped and inspired me to do even more. Finally, I tell about what it was like to lose my dear friend, Rusty Sneiderman, and the ups and downs my wife and I have had dealing with his terrible murder.

I hope everyone who reads this blog will buy a copy of my new book; I’m donating $5 from every purchase to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Plus, it would be so cool if your purchase help put this book on the New York Times best seller list! Once you finish reading it, let me know your thoughts and questions at andy@andylipman.com.
Thank you so much for all your support.

Live your dreams and love your life.

Andy

Friday, December 2, 2011

Please buy my book and forward it and retweet it to everyone you know. The book is "The Drive at 35" and the link is www.andylipman.com/books.cfm

$5 from every purchase will go to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Thank you for the support.

Andy

Thursday, November 17, 2011

1 year ago since my life changed...


Dear Rusty,

It has been a year since you passed. I should say a year since you were taken from us prematurely. I can't think of a single day when I haven't thought of you. Since you've died, I've looked at the world a lot differently. I have learned that friends come and go in this world but best friends stay in your heart forever. I have my Wish for Wendy Warriors shirt from 2010 that I still can't wear because your name is on the back and that was the last time you and I saw each other in person.

This year we took a moment of silence to remember and honor you. I've been there for your Andrea and my Andrea has been there nonstop for your Andrea. She's been incredible to your lovely bride. I've tried to honor your thoughts about Wish for Wendy by incorporating your sponsorship ideas. We even named the sponsorship program after you. Your ideas led to the greatest sponsorship dollars in Wish for Wendy history this past year. I've also worked on my speaking as you suggested I do.

There are things I especially miss about you. I miss you meeting me for lunch and dissecting my blog. You told me you were my biggest fan after reading it. I was always embarrassed when you called yourself my biggest fan. I miss your laugh and your amazing ability to make fun of yourself. No one made fun of Rusty like Rusty. I miss hearing you say "My Andrea" or "Your Andrea." Speaking of your Andrea, she has had a Hell of a lot to deal with the last 12 months but I think she's slowly mending. She has dealt with everything from losing her husband to the loss of the father of her children in a very remarkable way especially having to deal with the media in between.

None of us will ever completely heal from your loss. Whether you know it or not, you were irreplaceable. Giving your eulogy was the first speech I'd made in a long time but since then I've made dozens. You told me I could make a bigger difference. I'm trying. I even spoke in D.C. at the National CF Office and in Roswell at the Chipper Jones Golf Tournament.

Your kids are getting so big. Andrea's dad was showing off Ian's athletic skills the other day. While he may not be there yet, I promise to help him to be the athlete I know you wanted him to be. He and Ethan can play together when they're older and we'll see if we can get the Indians and Braves interested in drafting them though you and I both know that with our athletic prowess, our kids' best chances of making the big leagues are in the front office.

Sophia is a beautiful young girl and has lots of friends. I know your loss hurts her but it will not define her. She and Avery still play together from time to time.

This week I was thinking back to a year ago. This time a year ago our families were supposed to get together to go bowling. We'd just gone to see "The Social Network" a week before Wish for Wendy and we'd recently played on our Warriors team that won one out of three games.

I still remember the day you lost your life. It was a Thursday which strangely enough I figured out if you mixed up the letters in THURSDAY, you'd get "HAD RUSTY" and that was indeed the last day all of us had you in our life. I was shocked when my Andrea called me to tell me you'd been shot. I was interviewing a candidate at work. When I heard you'd been shot, I thought it was some random act and that you were not the target. I know now that you were but rest assured that we have the guy and he'll get what's coming to him though no punishment will ever make up for the fact that he took away a wonderful father, son, husband, brother, uncle and friend. I still remember driving at record speed to get to the hospital when I got the emotional call from my Andrea and those horrible two words "Rusty died." I'd never been so shaken and to this day I still haven't. I lost my "biggest fan" that day. More importantly, I lost as good a friend as a man could find.

There are days when I ask "Why?" There are days that I think God should have taken me and not you. I have spent a chunk of my therapy sessions dealing with your loss. I always wish I could joke with you and tell you how much you owe me for those parts of the session. I know I have to move on but it seems unfair that I can't move on with you and have conversations with you. I miss you, dude. I miss my biggest fan.

Well, my book is coming out officially in January. I know you, my biggest fan, were really excited about it. I have a whole chapter dedicated to you. My softball team finally won a title. I know you would appreciate the fact as a Clevelander and an Atlantan that championships don't grow on trees. Heck, we never seem to see them. The only pro title in this town was won because we played the team from your town to win it. I am also now a Board member of the CF Foundation and working hard to help us raise enough money and awareness to find a cure which seems closer by the day.

I wish I could ask you what Heaven is like. I'm sure you have already made a bunch of new friends (and fans) and are getting re-acquainted with some old ones. A lot of people in Cleveland and Atlanta have suffered since your loss. Please pray for them and if you can, reach out to them and tell them to find peace. The media has been tough but in most instances at least recently I've found that they have been respectful to the privacy of the Sneiderman family.

I wish the story wasn't about some evil man who killed his employee's husband but instead about some innocent man who lost his life yet still accomplished so much before the age of 40. You always got excited that I was going to beat the median life expectancy of 37 yet you didn't get there yourself and that just infuriates me.

Finally, I wanted to thank you. Thank you for being part of my life. While it was only a short time, I consider your friendship a gift...and I have not lost it even after you died. I'm taking everything you gave to me and I'm using it to make the world a better place. It's going to be tough to top the world that once featured a wonderful man named Rusty Sneiderman.

I love you, Rusty. And I'm very proud of the man you were and the man you've turned me into.

Your friend and your biggest fan always,

Andy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

FINALLY!!!


Off The Bench, my softball team which I have captained since the late-2000's, won our first competitive league softball championship last night winning all 4 of our playoff games in the last few weeks (include 3 by mercy rule). We also won our division. Congrats to the people in the picture:

Back row: Left to right: Scott, Jason, Felicia, Josh (co-captain), Cole
Middle Row: Left to right: Gary, Scarlett, Bethany, Ira (co-captain), Keri, Cheyanne
Front Row: Left to right: Jaime and me
Not pictured: Mike (in Japan - but a huge part of our team)
Subs not pictured: Steph, Kelly, Jeff and Kristin

We won on the premise that everyone plays in every single game and that we all play with a good attitude. I'm most proud of that than anything else.

Thanks to Gary, Ira and everyone else who carried me on their shoulders after the game. That was certainly a moment that I will never forget.

Congrats team. I'm a very proud captain today.

Oh and I went 1 for 1 with a walk, a triple, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI's last night. I may be old but I can still play a little ball.

The cutest thing was that Avery climbed into bed with Andrea this morning while I was doing my therapy and asked if daddy won. "Yes, sweetie...in more ways than one."

Andy

Monday, November 14, 2011

Off the Bench goes to the Championship Game

After a hard-fought victory on Thursday, my softball team, Off the Bench, will play for the championship tonight at 7pm in Brookhaven. We have been to the finals only once before but fell short. Hopefully we can end the year with a championship. Wish us luck!

Andy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Off the Bench on to the final 4

My softball team reached the Final Four last night. Off the Bench advanced to their first Final Four in several years. The game is at 7:35pm tonight. It's going to be cold out there. I'll keep everyone updated.

In other news, my book will officially be available in January.

I hope everyone is well.

Andy

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Whirlwind Weekend...from Wish to Chipper!


So the weekend started with Wish for Wendy this Saturday. It was a tremendous success. We have raised over $241,000 (Gross) so far this year. That's a new record. We're still shooting for a quarter million.

Balls to the Wall turned back time and won their 3rd Wish for Wendy title and their first since 2004. The fundraising champion was General Paton's Third Army followed by the Demons and the Wish for Wendy Warriors. My team, the Warriors, went 1-2 and lost a heartbreaker to the hands of General Paton's Third Army 17-16 in their final at-bat.

Here are some of the other awards from the weekend:

Rookies of the Year: Courtney and Elliot Leson
MVP: Andrea Lipman
Hall of Fame: Pete Bok and Eva Lipman
Ceremonial First Pitch: Pete Bok


Brandon Beachy was as genuine a professional athlete/celebrity as I've ever met. He not only signed more balls than he needed to but he also gave us a generous donation to support the cause. If more people, forget just celebrities, were like Brandon, the world would be a far better place.

On Sunday night, I spoke at Chipper Jones' Golf Tournament. That was pretty cool. I even made fun of Chipper while I was up there as I chose that time to brag about my Dawgs beating his Gators. Even though I had very little voice from the day before, the speech still went over very well as they raised an additional $15,000 after my speech to help promote a cure for the children who battle terminal diseases like CF.

That same night, my dad bid on and won one of my Bucket List things to do. I am going to be throwing out a first pitch at a Braves game next season. I don't know when but I'll let everyone know. I'm really excited. Thanks dad.

My book also debuted this weekend. I'm still waiting for the initial reviews. The marketing campaign for the book will start in late November but I already have another big speech at the 19th annual Larry Bregman, M.D., Educational Conference which will be held at the Selig Center in Midtown on February 25 and 26, 2012.

It was a crazy weekend and to end it off, Monday morning I tore my thumb on my weight bench and had to go to a Physician's Care Center in Duluth. I got a tetanus shot and have my thumb fully wrapped. Our softball playoffs (Round 2) take place Wednesday and Thursday. I'll find a way to play.

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Thanks to all of you who supported Wish for Wendy and helped us move ever closer to a cure.

Andy

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spork?


So I ordered a salad today at my gym. I got back to the office and I got the following eating tool (the one in the middle). What the heck is that? Is it a fork? I looked to the left and compared. No. Is it a spoon? I looked to the right and it's not a spoon. Is it a lollipop for Batman? Nope. I have no clue but I plan to spend the rest of my week figuring it out. Wish me luck!

Oh, and Avery's line of the week this week was when Andrea was going to the store and asked if I wanted her to pick up anything...I said Gummy Bears please. My daughter followed with "Gummy Bears, dad? I thought you were going to quit." I felt lower than low. At least I have the spork tool attached to keep my mind busy this week.

Andy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wish for Wendy, The Drive at 35 and a hilarious Top 10


I finished my 28 days of TOBI this morning and I'm glad I can finally get some rest prior to Wish for Wendy on Saturday. I am hoping that with our match that we can reach a quarter of a million dollars this year which would break our record by nearly $75,000. This is a great year to break the record as some really big CF treatments are soon to be FDA-approved and out on the market.

I think this is going to be by far the best Wish for Wendy ever. First off, the weather looks awesome for Saturday. Thanks Wendy! I start freaking around around the 10-day forecast until the morning of the event. I can't even watch the Weather Channel right now but I do check weather.com when I'm feeling gutsy. Our silent auction is definitely the best. We have already had a lot of great smaller events prior to the big event. The Demons did a terrific job with their event at Slacks last week. We have some cool personalities coming out to Wish. We have some neat new activities during the event. We are definitely getting more airtime locally as Wish for Wendy has become well-known in the Atlanta community. In fact, I was just on WSB promoting the event and we may have another big promotion on 680 the Fan later in the week. More to come...

My book The Drive at 35 will be arriving at my house this week. I can't wait to read it! Oh wait, I wrote it. I can't wait to make sure that there are no awful typos!

I'm proud of my Dawgs for beating Florida and continuing to make my early season prognostication come true. UGA in the SEC Championship Game where we will get ripped by Alabama or LSU.

The Braves are paying $10 million for Derek Lowe to pitch somewhere else. Wow, talk about a slap in the face. I think for that fact alone, Frank Wren should already be eliminated from GM of the year for 2012. I'm worse than Derek Lowe. Maybe he'll pay me $20 million not to pitch for the Braves. I'll make a call.

I trick-or-treated with my kids last night. Avery appears to enjoy handing out candy more than receiving it. Ethan loves grabbing candy and immediately asking if I can open it so he can eat it. I have been tabbed as the "guy who always wears his Braves jersey on Halloween" by my neighbors. Next year I'm going as one of the Kardashians. Let's see them laugh at me then...wait a minute...

Ok, it's time for my Top 10 "Why" questions from the last month:

1. Why does the school bus in my neighborhood stop at one house and then literally go 2 more houses and stop for another kid? Hey son, you are an example of why kids are not exercising in the world today. Move your butt over to the other house or compromise and have you both go to the house in between.

2. Why is it that when I'm trying to call a business and it's urgent and I hit ZERO, I always get "Sorry, that is not a valid extension?" Zero should always be a valid extension!

3. Why is it that political candidates spend a majority of their time criticizing their competitors? I'm looking for someone who can tell me what they CAN do for me rather than what their competitor CAN'T.

4. C.C. Sabathia just accepted a deal worth $122 Million over 5 years which he said had nothing to do with the money. There's no why here except maybe "Why am I laughing so hard?"

5. Why is it that when you turn your lights off after you're done giving out candy, there are still kids who come to your door and knock? Next time I'm putting a sign on our door..."We are old and tired. If you want candy, there is a CVS just 2 miles away. Ask the kid who waits for a bus from 2 houses away to walk you over there. He needs the exercise."

6. Why do kids say the darndest things? My daughter called a family meeting the other day and when she was done saying what she had to say, she said, "Ok, I'm done now." How old are you???

7. Why is it that Bernie Madoff seems to be the most hated man in America? I have a better one. I don't know his name nor do I even know if he is a male. What I do know is that this person invented something that ruins my day every day...the REPLY TO ALL button. That guy should be on the FBI's Most Wanted List. On the other side, the guy or woman who invented blind copying should be able to eat in any restaurant they want whether he or she has reservations or not.

8. What is more shocking? Kim Kardashian getting divorced before even reaching the century mark for days being married or Lindsay Lohan posing for Playboy? Take your time. Here's the "Why" for this one. Why should anyone care?

9. Why doesn't someone come up with the opposite of Facebook where you have enemies instead of friends. The more you have, the less people are going to want to be enemies with you. I can see it now. "Andy wants to be enemies with you. He thinks you seem like a schmuck. Please accept his invitation." We could call it Hatebook.

10. Why is it that in fancy restaurants there is a guy who gives you a towel to wash your hands in the restroom? I learned how to wash my hands a long time ago and I'm not paying someone to teach me something I learned for free years earlier. This might be perfect though for the kid waiting for the bus in my neighborhood. There's no doubt that he is too lazy to wash his own hands much less walk one house over...I know, I know. I'll get over it now.

Have a good one!

Andy

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blowing CF out of the water!!!


First off, let me share some great news. My pulmonary function was up a record 9% today. It was the first time I've hit 90 percentile in my FVC in more than 2.5 years. FVC is Forced Vital Capacity meaning the amount of air which can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs after taking the deepest breath possible. It is the single most important indicator of an infection in the lungs.

I think the swimming and biking are really helping. I took a half day today so I immediately went to the gym after the great news. This is no time to get complacent. It's time to build on the great news. Last time, my doctor told me that science shows that our lung function declines as we get older. I told her I failed Science and therefore don't believe in it. I proved I'm more of a fan of "science fiction" than I am of science today. It's been an emotional day and I was thrilled to relay the news to Andrea this morning.

Wish for Wendy has broken the record for our sponsorship numbers this year and I'm going to credit that to Rusty Sneiderman. I worked my tail off to accomplish the ideas he had last year. Even while not with us, Rusty has made a difference for so many people.

How am I doing? I actually am doing well. Rejoining my gym has certainly helped as I am swimming, running and biking twice a week while still working out at home. TOBI is starting to take a toll on me. I only have one week left of my 28-day supply. I try to take a couple of 15-minute naps in my car during the week and I try to walk around as much as possible so I don't collapse from exhaustion.

The playoffs begin soon and my softball team is in first place. I hope I can win that first title as a captain.

My book will be arriving next week. I'm pretty nervous as to the reaction it will get but I know that it will make a difference for people who deal with difficult emotional and/or physical issues.

Thanks for your time. Have a nice weekend.

Andy

Monday, October 17, 2011

My book will be available at Wish and my new workout routine




I'm excited that my new book "The Drive at 35" (cover attached) will be available in bookstores at the end of November and that 24 signed copies will be available at Wish for Wendy. My goal is to make this book a NY Times Best Seller and raise a lot of money for charity and especially raise awareness for this awful disease.

I joined Lifetime Fitness again this month after freezing my membership for a year. I have been doing one triathlon a week which includes 12 Olympic laps in the pool, a 1-mile run and a 3-mile bike ride. I do this all within 50 minutes. I'm not training for a triathlon right now. I just want to stay in good shape. This doesn't include the fact that I worked out for half-an-hour this morning and also ran for 17 minutes in place while doing my therapy. I also have softball tonight.

Jessica Black, Miss United States 2010, (attached) will be co-hosting Wish for Wendy this year. I'm excited to add Jessica to our fundraiser. Brandon Beachy (also attached), Braves rookie sensation, will also be signing balls this year for the cause.

There are a lot of things going on for cystic fibrosis research and I hope my book and Wish for Wendy can help us to raise awareness outside of the CF community as to how close we are to a cure.

Thanks,

Andy

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Dream is over! A cute pic of Ethan!


While desperate to find a winning team in this city to root for, I happened upon the Atlanta Dream who had just reached the WNBA Finals. I tuned in to game 1. They lost. Then I turned on the end of game 2, another defeat. The other night, I tuned in and they were done. So much for making me feel better after my Braves collapsed. Now the Falcons are looking bad too and the Dream is done. The Thrashers are gone and the Hawks don't look like they'll have a season. On the bright side, my softball team is undefeated.

Go Dawgs! Speaking of the only team that wins for me, here is a picture of Ethan after my Dawgs won this past Saturday over Andrea's Vols. Avery decided not to take part this year. When we made the bet, I didn't put into consideration the fact that Avery would have a mind of her own and may not want to wear UGA stuff. Don't worry. She won't wear UT stuff either. Is this how a future Florida undergrad acts? Ut-oh!

I got some great news that Brandon Beachy will be coming out to Wish for Wendy this year and we'll have some representation from the Atlanta Beat organization. That's really exciting. Besides that, the Falcon cheerleaders, the Chick Fil-A cow and several local celebrities will be making an appearance. I will also be doing an interview for AM750, 95.5FM, 98.5FM, and 97.1 FM for later in the month.

Wish for Wendy is my big focus right now. We also have the Atlanta Beat coming and we just found out that Jessica Black, Ms. United States 2010, will be hosting our event this year. The news keeps getting more exciting for Wish for Wendy! Please come on out!

Also The Drive at 35 will be available at Wish for Wendy, at least 24 signed copies will be available. The book will be in stores by the end of November. I'm really excited and I hope everyone enjoys reading it.

Andy

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hell of a Trip



Well, let me start out with the serious part. The speeches to the CF Foundation and CF Services went over extremely well. I spoke for 3 hours to 3 separate groups totalling 150 plus people. I received standing ovations and really good insight from everyone that was there. They even did a theme based on my fiction book "A Superhero Needs No Cape." I attached a picture of the big poster they had out. Each employee dressed as their favorite hero. It was the first time I attended the National CF Chapter and was thrilled with all of the wonderful people who care so much about patients like myself.

Now for the funny. And I promise if you thought it was called Murphy's Law, you will soon understand why it should be changed to Lipman's Law.

So Monday morning began innocently enough. I woke up early and got all of my stuff done. I was packed and ready to go in plenty of time. This trip was going to be easy. I usually worry about travel because of all of the meds I have to take on board.

As I was leaving, I was re-ordering some meds on-line when I noticed my Zenpep was not on the list and then I checked and I was down to only a couple of days of supply. I have to take 16 to 20 of these enzymes a day for my digestive system so they are critical to my health. I called my mail-order pharmacy to see why there was a delay and apparently they faxed a request to my doctor's office in August and never heard back. I then asked "Why didn't you tell me that back in August or even September?" After working it out, I called both the doctor and the mail-order pharmacy and they told me the soonest I'd get them was Friday. I was frustrated so I had my doctor call in a one-month supply at my CVS, which of course meant I'd have to pay about 20 times the normal fee to get it. Finally Andrea was able to talk the pharmacy into giving us a week's worth for a large fee but still much cheaper than the prior total.

So I'm driving along and running late now because of the time it took to get my meds on order. So who happens to stop me? A state trooper on a motorcycle. I begged him to let me go as I was running late for a flight but no, I was going 76 in a 65. Are you kidding me? Doesn't everyone on 285 do that at a minimum? Anyway, I got back to driving and got to the airport. When I parked, I hit a huge soda on the ground with my tire and I heard the cup explode under my car. I of course was only able to find a space in 71D!!! Row seventy freakin' one! When I got out, my ticket and flight info fell under the car. I had to crawl down and get them while the wind was moving them. Then I forgot my car had hit the full cup of soda when I parked so it was wet where I was reaching. Oh, it gets better.

So I finally walk to the airport with all my machinery and luggage (71 ROWS!!!!) and I get to the touchscreen to check in for my flight. My credit card would not go through. I went to the agent and asked why. He said "It says here your flight leaves at 12:45." I said "Yes, I know. That's not the issue." "Yes, it is." he said. "It leaves from Baltimore and we are in Atlanta." Oh my God, I reversed everything. I was supposed to fly out of Atlanta at 12:45. Instead I'd put depart from Baltimore on Monday and depart from Atlanta on Tuesday. Ahhh! So I had to pay extra to get on the 12:40 Atlanta flight. And I told him to change my Delta flight to around the same time as I had prior for Tuesday evening so he said "How about 7:45?" I said, "GREAT!" Finally, I made it to the flight. Things couldn't get worse, right? Wrong.

So I get to BWI airport and the luggage is coming out. What happens? One of the bags gets stuck. What's even funnier? After 5 minutes of fixing it, my bag is the next one in line. I finally rent my car and get to the hotel. I took a risk and did not rent a GPS as I wanted to prove I wasn't as direction-senseless as everyone thinks I am. I instead used my Google Maps and got to the hotel within an hour in Bethesda.

Tuesday went better. I got up early, worked out, had a protein bar and went to the CF Foundation. Things were getting better. My speeches all went great. I had to believe that the day before was just dumb luck. I was a better traveler than I thought. Then came the events after my speech. Thanks to being too proud to rent a GPS, I got lost trying to find my cousin who I was meeting there. Finally after 30 minutes of wrong turns and addresses, we found each other. Then I was leaving I saw that the guy gave me a 7:45 flight. I thought "piece of cake" even with the DC rush hour traffic.

Andrea called and said "You almost there?"

"I'm on the way. Traffic sucks. I hope I make my 7:45."

"7:45? I show your flight would be 7pm."

"Nope, I'm looking at it right here. 7:45." It's cool when the guy is actually right and not his wife. 30 minutes later as I was trying to sneak through traffic and starting to freak out, Andrea called me.

"Don't freak out, but..." My wife knows me so well. "Your flight is at 7pm."

"No honey, it says 7:45."

Andrea said "Is there an 'a' next to the 7:45?" Folks, letters are very critical when checking the time. I learned that in first grade but seemed to forget it this week. Apparently my flight was at 7:45 IN THE MORNING!!! I missed it. I called Delta in a panic to change it and called Enterprise to see if they could rush me over there. I finally got Delta to change my flight for another freakin' fee. I was so pissed at the Delta guy the prior day who was supposed to give me an evening flight but even more pissed at myself for not checking. By the way, Delta refused to waive the fee. Ugh! I told Andrea. It's ok. Worst case, I can get on a later flight.

"Andy," she said, "that's the last flight of the evening."

Are you kidding me? How bad could my luck get? She told me I could just go to Reagan and get a later flight but I was determined to get to BWI. I finally arrived at Enterprise at 6:15, got on the shuttle and was taken to Delta at 6:30. I begged people to let me ahead of them in line. The lady at the desk said she couldn't find my new 7pm reservation. Finally she said "Sorry Mr. Upman." I said "It's Lipman! Don't put the 'L' and 'I' together to make a 'U.'" She found it. I ran through security. For the first time in about 10 years, I didn't get stopped at security for my machine which was a relief but also a concern that they didn't even check it. I arrived at my flight. Things were getting better, right?

Wrong. The flight was at 7pm. We weren't in the air until about 7:30 as we had to wait in line for other planes to go. The pilot tells us that we will land at 8:30 instead of 9 and a gate has been reserved. AWESOME, I thought. Things are coming together. We did land at 8:30 but the gate was taken by someone else. 35 minutes later we got a gate. BUT the oldest lady on the plane was still in the restroom so we couldn't leave till she came out which was about 15 minutes later.

We were on the ground 30 minutes prior to that in Baltimore so technically we were in the air and on the ground about the same amount of time that we were in the air. The plane should not be called an "air" plane.

Finally I slowly trudged to my car at 71 Freakin' D and got home where I had to start my TOBI so I wouldn't have to do it during Wish for Wendy which is a month from now. I was in bed by 1am after having a nice midnight dinner while watching the playoff highlights which of course did not include my Braves.

I still look forward to more trips however I will make the following changes.

1. I will have someone else make my flight arrangements.
2. I will rent a GPS.
3. I will look at the letter next to the time for now on.
4. I will not speed in downtown Atlanta. Who am I kidding? Change that to "I will not get caught speeding in downtown Atlanta."
5. I will go onto Wikipedia and change the first word in the term "Murphy's Law."

I hope everyone is well. I'm glad I was able to avoid talking about the Braves but how about them Dawgs? I predicted an SEC East title and many of you laughed. They are now tied for first and my family's favorite game is on tap Saturday during the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. So for the first time since we started dating, Andrea and I will not attend UGA vs. Tennessee and will observe Yom Kippur. We'll still keep our traditional bet though and the winning team will be represented by our children the following day with their attire. Go Dawgs!

Speaking of sports, since we don't have a hockey team, my baseball team collapsed, there will not be a basketball season and the football season is too early, I decided to get on the bandwagon of the Atlanta Dream, Atlanta's WNBA team. I knew they were in a 3-out-of-5 championship series so why not? Since then, they have lost the first 2 games of the series and face elimination later in the week. Maybe it's me that is the problem. Oh well.

Take care!

Andy

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Drive has a Cover and Life is a Bear!



The cover for my book "The Drive at 35" is officially out. I have posted to those of you who follow the blog. I hope you like it. Feel free to send me comments. Thanks.

So I’m on a new diet because I went from 182 to 189 in a few weeks. What is the culprit? More like who! Gummy Bears! I’ve been eating 1 or 2 bowls per night. Damn those little guys! They add up quickly. So I skipped them on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and have already lost 4 pounds. I’ve subbed them for oatmeal. I also am eating Lean Cuisine meals at lunch. My goal is to get down to 180 pounds by mid-October. I believe I'm becoming too obsessed with my weight but I also know that I have to eat healthier if I am going to give cystic fibrosis a good fight for an entire lifetime.

What’s up with sports in this town (Atlanta)? The Thrashers are gone. The Hawks are on strike. The Braves are choking at a historical (not hysterical) level and the Falcons are under-achieving. At least I have my Dawgs. Oh yeah, that’s right. They’re not even in the Top 25. Maybe I should move and bring bad luck to another city.

Any way the Braves have a big week now. They HAVE TO take at least 2 out of 3 from Philly since the Cards are playing the lowly Astros. I have a really bad feeling but I’ll be watching all 27 innings and beyond this week though I have a softball game at 9:45 tonight so I’ll be checking the score on my phone.

Speaking of softball, we are in first place and this team is really gelling. When you win, it's a lot more fun to play at 9:45 at night.

Ethan had some firsts this weekend. He used a urinal for the first time although honestly he thought it was a sink when we first walked in. I grabbed him before he made that mistake. As Andrea said, I hope he now doesn’t confuse our sink with a urinal. He also scored his first goal. Technically, he scored two goals at soccer but one was against his own goalie. Meanwhile, Avery is turning into a regular Mary Lou Retton. She’s doing somersaults with girls two or three years older than her. One of the girls told me she was amazed at how good she is.

I’m thinking the Georgia Bulldogs are going to run the table and win the SEC East. I know this sounds crazy but they have a favorable schedule and I think South Carolina is over-rated especially since they have some tough games still to come. Georgia can’t lose another SEC game and must hope that USC loses at least two more times. I think it’s going to happen. I’m not too crazy though as I think whoever we play (Alabama or LSU) will destroy us in Atlanta.

I’m still working hard to find Wish for Wendy teams or even free agents. If you’re interested in taking part, please e-mail me at andy@andylipman.com.

Happy New Year to all of my Jewish friends. The benefit of being Jewish is that we get two new year's days. The negative is we get to break our resolutions twice as often as everyone else.

I hope everyone has a good week.

Andy

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In support of Andrea Sneiderman


Dear Friends and Family,

I have read some of the news articles lately and heard all of the accusations against my friend Andrea Sneiderman. I'm honestly tired of reading about them and can't imagine how tired Andrea is of seeing them.

I told myself that I wouldn't blog about Rusty's case anymore but this isn't just about Rusty anymore. It's now about Andrea, the woman who meant so much to him and the woman who loved him from the days they were dating to the morning of November eighteenth and still loves him in memory today. So I am here to defend her against people that are out to hurt her. They have gone too far and they should back off.

My friend is grieving and while I've been asked to discuss her situation by countless media outlets, I refuse because I believe the prosecution of Hemy Neuman (This is the first time I've put his name on my blog) will best be helped by less public blathering during the preparation for the trial so we all make sure he goes to prison for the rest of his life.

Andrea will have her chance to say her piece and redeem her reputation, which by the way SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TAINTED by this case. After all, it was Andrea and her children who have forever lost someone they loved. When Andrea does have her say, she will be redeemed as will all of her supporters.

I teach my kids everyday to do the right thing and think of others. All others should do the same and stop hurting people with their words. It's time to clean up the mess by allowing the professionals involved in the case to handle it and do their job prosecuting the cold blooded killer. It's bad enough that an innocent man was murdered. Let's not hurt countless others by the things we say to the public.

I love Andrea Sneiderman. I loved Rusty Sneiderman. I love their kids and their families. I know what good people they are and how much they loved each other. I refuse to sit quietly while Andrea's reputation takes a beating in the press.

Oh and to the AJC, 48 hours, The Today Show and everyone else who has contacted me, here are my comments.

I support Andrea Sneiderman. I love her and loved Rusty. I support their children, their parents, their siblings and their friends. Rusty made the world a better place. Please don't let his legacy be overshadowed by unfounded theories and fame seekers.

Andrea, if you ever need someone in your corner, just ring the bell. There are lots of "Andy Lipmans" out there who will stand by you during this fight. While you may not see our names or quotes in the newspaper, we are all around and only a call away.

Thank you,

Andy

Thursday, September 15, 2011

D-Day: We'll call it a draw!


Last Friday was D-Day or should I say Doctor's Day. I suppose that D-Day fits since seeing my doctor is my own internal war. I'm scared to death the week leading up to this day because I know that the outcome cannot only change my day but also my entire life.

Andrea went to a wonderful presentation the night before and brought me a signed ball from a man who was there who is also a doctor. You may know him as Dr. J. He was there supporting "Keeping Your Cord Blood" as he lost a brother to Sickle Cell Disease. Saving Ethan's Cord Blood probably helped our son immensely as we had his stem cells re-infused 7 months after he was born to help heal his brain where the stroke damaged it. Medical science is amazing if we take advantage of it. Thank goodness Andrea has so much scientific knowledge. I'm good with sports so I'll help Ethan when it comes to that. Ha Ha!

By the way, the picture attached is one of many we had taken in Charleston by my friend Melissa. She did a terrific job. The picture is a microcasm of my life. My mom, as seen here, has always been behind me (my dad too but he couldn't make it to pictures that day). My wife and kids are always in the front of my mind as I want to get better for them. As far as me, I'm smiling in more ways than one because I know how lucky I am and how much worse things could be.

Back to the doctor, my pulmonary function numbers were down 1% which to most would be no big deal but I'm not one that takes a small dip as a moral victory. I am competitive as Hell! I don't want to accept it. My doctor said that people as they get older, whether they have CF or not, have lower pulmonary function. Again, I won't accept it. Heck, I nearly failed science classes several times in high school so I have never really accepted anything that science has told me, granted I did marry a scientist so I do everything SHE tells me :)

I'm not getting all depressed about it though, just a bit disappointed. I'm at a good weight right now (185). I've never been stronger as far as my arms, legs and chest. I run 17 minutes a day in place while doing my therapy.

It's a tough time of year for me. My dad was telling me the other day that September is his favorite month because football is back, the World Series is near and the trees are beautiful. All of that is true for me except it being my favorite. As it gets colder, which it has this week, I start to flashback to my depression where I can't go outside, the day gets shorter and I'm more susceptible to colds. You'd think that my birth month would be my favorite time of year but truthfully it's the month I fear the most.

During my appointment, I did decide to take part in my first study with regards to sputum cultures and how the cultures can determine when an infection is near.

Life in general is good. The kids are enjoying school. Andrea bought me an X-Box 360 for my birthday so I'm learning how to play it. My softball team is 2-0 and just destroyed the top team in our league 20-7. My book just went through its final revision.

Congrats to my sister Emily on a terrific fashion show at Aja in Buckhead and to my wife Andrea for a very successful Pampered Chef party in Norcross. Both events raised a lot of money and even more importantly, a lot of awareness.

I could take my test results and say "Well, it's only 1% so no big deal." I know that sounds fine to some people but I can't look at it that way. If I looked at cystic fibrosis reports that way, I wouldn't be here today complaining about them. I look at this report as a chance to prove more people wrong including SCIENCE!

Here's to my next report in 8 weeks and proving that the only science I know is Science Fiction.

Have a good one.

Andy

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm 38 and a new Top 10!


Well I have finally exceeded the median life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis. It's a pretty proud accomplishment though I hope both my age and the median life expectancy continue to go up. I have a doctor's appointment Friday so I'm hoping for good news on my condition. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Andrea and I had a wonderful time in Florida where we surprised Andrea's mom for her birthday. I have enclosed a picture from the weekend. It was great to see her entire family there. Andrea also put together my birthday dinner there where we picked up my Nana Rose and all of us dined on Hibachi. The kids absolutely loved it! Andrea also got me "cake" lollipops with UGA logos on all of them and had them mailed to our hotel. It was very sweet of her.

Speaking of UGA, that Boise State game was depressing. Coach Richt is officially on the hot seat. Our conditioning coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator aren't far behind.

The Drive at 35 is still being edited but we are pretty sure that it will be available at the latest by February and quite possibly by this November at Wish for Wendy.

Speaking of Wish for Wendy, we still need 2 more teams if anyone knows of anyone.

I've been getting a lot of speaking gigs lately including a speech in D.C. to speak to the National Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy.

I'm concerned about the Braves. Our pitching is a mess right now and our lineup needs to be adjusted so that the best OPS guys are at the top of the lineup. I'd have to give Fredi Gonzalez a C+ so far as our manager but I'll give him a chance to win back some points come October.

I'm excited for the Falcons season to begin this weekend. I think this team can win a Super Bowl.

Does anyone watch Entourage? That show is going absolutely nowhere heading into the finale. This show jumped the shark when Ari became a nice guy.

As an avid reader of People Magazine (yes, I'm a guy and still read it), I am sick of the following story lines: Jennifer Aniston has a new guy, Angelina and Brad are cool, the Kardashians are better than sliced bread, Julia Roberts is pretty and J-lo is the greatest. Please, People. I beg of you. Please do some different stories.

Now back to sports so I can regain my man card. The Phillies starting rotation is sick. If they don't win the World Series, I'll be shocked. I'm sick of hearing about the Packers. Does the NBA still exist? If not, I'm fine with that.

Finally, here is my Top 10 list of things that I question this week.

1. Why does the AJC still have an Atlanta Thrashers section?

2. Why when I have a doctor's appointment do I have to listen to a 5 minute message confirming my appointment and then pressing a number afterwards. Why can't they just call and say "You coming or what?"

3. Why is it when I get a bag of Gummy Bears it tells me how many calories per serving and how many servings per bag? Look Haribro or whatever company made these, I'm a Gummy Bear Whore! I'm eating the whole bag. I don't have time to do the math. Just break it to me. How many calories is the entire bag? Don't judge me!

4. Why do we still call it RSVP'ing? It's a French term. We're Americans. Let's go with a new acronym. ATEBIKYSI is a good one (Answer the Evite Because I Know You've Seen It!).

5. Why does my daughter listen to Katy Perry? Why does she have to listen to the same song 200 consecutive times?

6. Why does my son think it's funny when I put him on the potty and the truth is that he doesn't have to go and he knows I can't get that 30 seconds back? Fortunately I paused 90210 on the Soap Network. Man, now I have to get the Man Card back again.

7. Why is "Silence of the Lambs" on Lifetime? I was so excited to watch it until the commercial stated "Lifetime: Television for Women." The worst part is that "The Craig's List Killer" is on next and I really wanted to see it.

8. Why do they call zero "Love" in tennis? If someone beats me 6-LOVE, I don't feel like giving them a hug. How about calling it "Hate?"

9. Why are there toilet paper rolls that cannot be broken into more than a 2 inch section? In that case, can there be tape available so I can at least tape them together to form a normal piece of toilet paper. Charmin, can you hear me?

10. Is Paul Rudd in every movie? I have literally seen 20 Paul Rudd films this year. I wanted to figure out this question so I went back and checked out my Bar Mitzvah video from 1987 and low and behold, Paul was carrying the Torah. Son of A...

Thanks everyone. Have a wonderful week.

Andy

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TOBI over and out; Avery is Pappageorgio!


I finished my TOBI Sunday night. I'm hoping now that some of my exhaustion will subside.

I did take the kids to Malibu this past weekend (Picture enclosed). Avery, for the second time in as many trips to Malibu, won the big jackpot. 1100 TICKETS!!!! Look at the picture and notice all of the tickets behind the kids. I'm calling her Ms. Nicole Pappageogio (instead of Nick Pappageorgio from Vegas Vacation). We were able to get a stuffed animal for her and Ethan. Sure, we probably could have bought them for less money but where's the fun? I might have Avery start drafting my fantasy football teams; she seems to be very lucky.

LATE ADD: I'm very proud that my wife's 3.5 Tennis Team won the Atlanta City Championship of USTA. Andrea, congratulations on an undefeated season and a city championship.

I had my company retreat last week. I really enjoyed myself and really loved hanging out with the crew. Lake Lanier was a blast.

The Braves are now 9 games up in the Wild Card race and have a magic number of 19. I'm looking forward to clinching and I hope Tommy Hanson will be back by the end of the season.

UGA's season is only 3 days away. I can't wait to watch them destroy Boise State.

I have my next doctor's appointment next Friday the 9th. The good news is that I feel good. I've been able to swim across our full clubhouse pool from the shallow end to the deep end without taking a breath. I never used to be able to do that.

My book's cover is almost completed. I'll provide a sneak preview on my blog when it's done.

We won our opening softball game on Monday. I went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI's. It was hotter than the equator out there. We were able to add some women that I think will make our team pretty strong.

I wanted to send my condolences out to my friend and Wish for Wendy Director Susan Andre, who lost her brother in law to a horrific accident.

I want to wish my friend Ira, my mom, my mother n law, my cousin Ben and my Uncle Bobby a very Happy Birthday. Happy Anniversary to my dear wife Andrea as well. Andrea, I love you very much. Thanks for dealing with, I mean loving me.

I read on CaringBridge that my friend's grandson Luca is finishing up another round of Chemo. It was so sweet that his dad on his own birthday shaved his head to look like Luca. That was really cool. What a thoughtful thing to do. Continued health improvement Luca! I'm praying for you and your family.

I saw my therapist George this week and he is happy with my continued progress. We talked about Rusty and how I'm slowly getting past the loss of one of my best friends.

Have a great and safe Labor Day Weekend, everyone.

Andy

Monday, August 15, 2011

First day of school and Top 10 things I noticed this week


Well, today was Avery's first day of kindergarten. We were so excited. The best part for me was filming her in the car and telling her she only has 13 more years of school + college + grad school + her PHD left. Her reaction..."Are you kidding Dad? Mommy, is he kidding?" She looked a little frustrated that this was not a one and done thing. Oh well, I'm sure she'll love it at her new school. The picture attached is Avery hugging her little brother this morning prior to our drive to school.

Ethan starts preschool next week. Those teachers better be on their game for that little one.

The pretrial is still going on in Rusty's case. Part of me wants to attend and stare at his alleged killer for the couple of hours or so that it goes on. Another part of me knows that I should wait for the trial.

We've had a real encouraging response to our Sponsorship letter for Wish for Wendy. A lot of new sponsors are on board that I would not have thought to ask had it not been for Rusty. He gave Linda and I some great ideas last year. In fact, I found an e-mail the other day that Rusty sent me about asking every company I know regardless of my concern for the word "no." Rusty replied "Someone once told me that you might as well ask out the prettiest girls. One of them might just say "Yes." More than one has said yes (companies that is). Thanks Rusty.

Andrea's tennis team is still in the playoffs but sadly my softball team lost in the semifinals. It's the second consecutive season where the playoff game I've been absent has been a defeat. I think the connection is purely coincidence.

Ethan turned 3 the other day. He enjoyed his little party and is now officially out of the Terrible 2's. Now he's in the Threatening 3's.

Here are the top 10 things over the last week that have happened that were kind of cool:

10. Avery fell in love with the movie I bought her...the Wizard of Oz. She has watched parts of it every day since we first watched it. She asked if the black and white world is fake. Ah, to be young and naive.

9. I was really proud of Lego's Outlawz. MJ, their co-captain, organized an event through Toni and Guy (Hair salon) and they filled the house last night at Perimeter Mall. Congrats on all the money you raised for CF. We are really proud of you.

8. I just finished week 2 of my 4-week stint on TOBI. The exhaustion is starting to get to me.

7. I've been following my Braves and know that the next week is HUGE. If we can go 5-2, that almost assures us the wildcard in the National League Playoffs.

6. I was impressed with how the Falcons' starters looked especially Julio Jones.

5. I'm thrilled that someone bought the Hawks. The Atlanta Spirit had to go. I hope this guy turns this organization into winners like Mark Cuban did in Dallas. I know the Hawks have had winning records the last few years but there's a difference between just having a winning team and being a winning organization. Just ask the Thrashers, I mean Jets.

4. Why is it when you're working on something in your car when you're stopped at a stop light, the light turns green immediately BUT when you're in a hurry to be somewhere the light takes days? Deep thoughts by Jack Handy...

3. I'm pretty sure the city of Duluth, Georgia has more policemen than civilians and they will catch you for anything...and I mean anything.

2. If a Yankees-Red Sox game was played in the woods and not televised, would ESPN Sportscenter still start their coverage with that game?

1. For those of you with the Sci-Fi channel, where do they get these actors? Watching these individuals try to act gives me hope that I can be in "Great White Shark vs. the Giant Octopus 12: Tentacles are Forever."

I hope everyone is well.

Andy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Depression: What's it like? Plus a little good news too...


Hey Everyone,

I thought I'd update you on the innerworkings of Andy Lipman. I haven't done that in a while. I haven't talked in the third person in a while either. Ha Ha!

First though, some outstanding news. The Zucker Foundation and Wish for Wendy are working together to find a cure. The Zucker Foundation is going to match up to $100,000 at Wish for Wendy this year so if we raise $100,000, the Zucker Foundation will give us another $100,000. This gives us a chance to break our annual high and also allows us to raise more money for a cure that appears to be closer than ever. Thank you to the Zucker Family Foundation and my aunt, Anita Zucker.

I'm excited for Andrea as her USTA team continues to dominate. They are now in the second round of the playoffs. Avery starts kindergarten next week. Ethan starts preschool the following week and turns 3 this week. I will be 38 on September 4th. What is the significance? It will be the first time I have been ahead of the median life expectancy for cystic fibrosis. My softball team begins their quest for a championship tonight as we have the first round of the playoffs. This has been my best season since I was in my twenties. I've had 11 hits in my last 12 at-bats. I hadn't hit a triple in years. I have 3 this season and an inside the park homerun. It's kind of crazy. All of a sudden I've discovered the Fountain of Youth.

Now let me tell you how I've been feeling. Well, I've been seeing my therapist for more than 18 months now and he tells me that I'm doing great and to keep working on stuff. He also tells me that one of my issues is survivor's guilt. I've never heard of the expression but apparently it is a psychological term that means I feel guilty for still being here and my friend Rusty being gone. I still think about Rusty often but I try not to focus as much on talking about him in the blog. He was a very special guy who had a very profound effect on me, most of which I didn't realize until he was already gone. The pretrial hearing for Rusty's case begins tomorrow. I will be following it very closely. I pray that justice prevails.

What's it like to feel clinical depression as it is officially called? When I'm depressed, I think a lot about how horrible everything is. I feel like life is going along just fine and all of a sudden I hit a Dead End sign. I can't seem to find my way out. I start thinking about death and what's the point of what I do in life because one day everything will go to black. It's morbid. I know that. It's a sickness really. I go into these moments where I get crazy too. The months that I'm on my TOBI (like this month), I'm always rushing. I have a plan in my head. This is what a morning and evening in my head is like:

I have to do my therapy soon before I'm running late. I don't want to leave Andrea and the kids to go downstairs and do it for the next few hours. I hope they don't think I'm avoiding them. I have to do it now.

After I do my nasal treatments (5 minutes) and do my forty minutes of therapy (half of which are spent running in place), I spend the next 20 minutes working out (in the evening, I clean up or play with the kids or sometimes I shoot a few games of pool). After those 20 minutes, I do my 40 minute TOBI session. I work my meditation period into my TOBI. I usually do the serenity prayer and pray for the people I love or worry about. In the morning, as soon as my TOBI is over, I rush to shower and get ready and leave for work. In the evening, I rush to be with Andrea and the kids if they're not already asleep. The other night, I was shaking, wanting to get stuff done. It's not healthy and I need to just relax. It's difficult though. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on everything when I'm doing my therapy. I think that started when I was a kid and my cousins got to go to the beach while my parents did my postural drainage. I'd get there and they'd already found shells, built sand castles or swam in the waves. It was a never ending feeling of being behind.

The other thing about my therapy is hearing the TV. My machine is so loud that I probably should use closed captioning but instead I've learned to read lips while watching my shows. Fortunately, most of the time I'm watching the Braves so I don't need the commentators. I can do that myself.

I had a dark moment the other night while I watching "The Lovely Bones" with Mark Wahlberg about a girl who is killed and views the world from Heaven. I started thinking about death and being in a dark place and feeling helpless. Immediately I turned it off and coped by listening to some music.

I really do appreciate the friendships I have. I have some great people in my life but it saddens me the friendships that I've lost. I realize though that if I'm not willing to work on that friendship or that other person is not willing to put in any effort or neither of us feels the need to save the friendship then it's just not worth saving. Recently I realized that one of my most sacred friendships is just not worth fighting for anymore and that really hurts. That's life I suppose. Relationships change over time but that doesn't make the ones I lose less disappointing.

"Why do bad things happen to good people?"

I've been thinking about that expression lately. "Bad" things happen to everyone, but those people have some good memories too. I think about Rusty and how he got to meet both his children and marry a wonderful woman. I think about my uncle Jerry. He got to meet his grandchild before he passed. I think about Wendy. She got to see the world and while it was only 16 days, she got to meet her mommy and daddy and that's a wonderful gift. She also is going to be associated with a cure for CF one day. I plan on keeping that promise to her.

I'm so lucky if I look at all of the good things that have happened to me. I married a wonderful woman. I have 2 beautiful kids. I have great parents, a terrific sister, generous in-laws and amazing friends. I just recently became the first cystic fibrosis patient to be on the Georgia Chapter Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I choose to look at all of these positive things and not worry so much about the negative. I can control my mindset so I'd prefer to be happy and look fondly upon my world. There have been and are going to be more "bad" things that happen to me but it can't take away from everything I've been blessed to be a part of. I know that but sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact.

Please stay positive and know that "good" things happen to "ALL" people. We just have to recognize them, remember them and use those memories on those "tougher" days.

I wish everyone a good week or at least I wish everyone a positive outlook.

Andy

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to Andrea and several other things


First off, Happy Birthday to my wife Andrea!!! Andrea, I love you so much and you look just as beautiful as the day I met you. No comment on how I look please...ha ha!

Andrea, the kids and I had a wonderful vacation at the beach. I, as usual, got red instead of tan. Andrea and the kids look great though.

It was great to see my family. I was able to see 2 of my aunts, several of my cousins and my friend Melissa who took our photos at a mansion in Charleston. If you ever want a great photographer in Charleston, e-mail me. I'll recommend Melissa any time!

I'm excited for the Braves acquisition of Michael Bourn. I think he gives them the best chance to win a World Series this year.

We got some really good news about Wish for Wendy. I'll announce it soon but thanks to this bit of news, we are almost guaranteed to break our annual fundraising record.

I was recently asked to be on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Board in Georgia and I accepted. I'm thrilled to try and make a difference.

I hope that everyone is well.

Andy

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How you can help: a horrible story


Joshua and Robin Berry (picture attached along with their beautiful children) were on their way back from a trip when an SUV swerved into their lane and a happy family of five quickly turned into a devastated family of three. Joshua and Robin were killed and 2 of their sons were paralyzed from the waist down. The daughter had less severe wounds and is recovering at someone's home. Joshua was Andrea's sorority sister Simone Berry's brother-in-law. To lend a hand financially or inspirationally, please check out www.theberrychildren.org. The children will now live with Simone, Matt and their family. The 2 boys, 8 and 9, are now special needs kids. I hope that we can all help the Berry's.

You never know when you have a chance to make a difference. The best example was last month. I finally decided to go to my reunion. Danielle, my old high school friend, made the same decision. Her good friend Kari and her husband sat with us. Greg is a cancer doctor at St. Jude's in Memphis. That same weekend we found out that a family friend's grandson was diagnosed with liver cancer. Luca is only 2 years old. Andrea reminded me about Greg and what he does for a living. I reached out to him and he responded immediately. Thanks to Greg, Luca is now at St. Jude's and responding to chemotherapy. In short, things happen for a reason. If Andrea and I didn't go to the reunion and we wouldn't have met Greg, we would not have been able to get them into St. Jude's so quickly.

In closing, please help the Berry children. Everyone can make a difference. I learned that lesson just a month ago.

Here is the article for those interested.

Http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/12/berry-family-car-crash_n_896403.HTML

Thank you for your time. I pray that each of you is happy and safe.

Andy

Monday, July 11, 2011

20 crazy things I've thought about in the past week



It's been a pretty good week other than catching this virus in my chest this weekend that has prevented me from going to work. I'm bored so I figured I'd write about the 20 things that have come to my mind over the last 72 hours. Enjoy!

20. I have coached my daughter's soccer team, played soccer in the past and even met model/USA soccer player Heather Mitts yet I have never been any sort of soccer fan...until yesterday afternoon. I watched a short-handed, resilient group of American women come back from the dead and knock off Brazil. I was telling Andrea all about it when she got home. I think she thought I was being sarcastic but that was single-handedly one of the best live games I've ever seen. I am now a big fan of Hope Solo and the girls and can't wait for their Wednesday game against France.

19. Also, being sick, I was able to watch the table tennis quarterfinals between some guy from the US and one from Russia. This wasn't exactly Rocky IV. First off, why are they sweating? Why are they bouncing the ball before serves and why are they getting pumped up after every point? It wasn't much of a match. I felt like I could play better which led me to this idea. What if I moved to Antartica with someone smart like Bill Gates (Andrea and the kids can come too - I heard the school system is great in Antartica - ok, now I'm being sarcastic). Gates could invent an igloo which gets central heat and air. I could live there for 5 years and get dual citizenship and then be the first ever Olympian ping pong player from Antartica and I can compete in the next Olympic Games. Tell me that no one has thought of that one.

18. What does CVS stand for? I read today it stands for Convenience, Value and Service. Sorry to give it away.

17. What is wrong with American tennis? The Williams sisters are all we have and they are getting up there. Roddick can't win a major to save his life. Marty Fish has our best chance and I don't see a guy named Marty Fish winning a major. His name sounds like a cartoon character on Spongebob Squarepants.

16. What is the big deal about the Duke and Dutchess? I get it. She's pretty and has a good looking sister. I get it that his mom died a tragic death and his father has been a prince for like 100+ years but can we all just move on?

15. Why did Casey Anthony go free? Great work by the defense? Terrible work by the prosecution? I think she was guilty as sin but I must admit that the defense was pretty good at letting jurors think that something else could have happened. Just because she's not guilty doesn't mean she's innocent. I just hope she doesn't profit off of this.

14. Why is it that UGA recruits some of the dumbest players in the country? Here's a tweet from UGA Tailback Caleb King who just became academically ineligible for the 2011 season.

First he posted: “Somethings u cant control, and what seems bad right now might turn out good. Too [sic] all of my homeboyz hold UGA down don’t let them brake [sic] u…”

Later he wrote: “I see u when I see u. U cant stress about it Just let God take control.”

All I can say is "Wow!" How did he graduate from Greater Atlanta Christian or should I say "Grater Atlanta Kristen."

I hope for his sake that he gets it together and purchases "Spell Check" with the money from boosters he probably received.

13. Want a good trivia question? Ask someone where the word "news" came from. The answer is the acronym for "North East West South."

12. Why is it at the Peachtree that the fast runners get to run when it's cool out and the more out of shape runners (ie: myself) have to run in the heat? Can't the race start earlier OR can the slow runners go first and have the fast runners dodge every out of shape walker and runner to win the race? Now that would make it more of a competition!

11. How is tennis player Caroline Wozniaki number one in the world without a major title? I think to be number one you have to win at least one major.

10. Why am I sick on the worst sports day of the year? There's no baseball, basketball, football or hockey on today. Why can't I get sick during March Madness?

9. Kim Kardashian tweeted about how she was shocked that Anthony got off when the case was so obvious against her. Kim, your father represented O.J. I rest my case.

8. If a tree fell in the middle of the forest and no one was there, would the Yankees-Red Sox still be the lead story, the middle story and the "closing remarks?" for ESPN Sportscenter? Derek Jeter has a mouth blister or the USA women's team just won the World Cup? I'd hate to make ESPN choose a lead story from those choices.

7. Never watch a horror movie before you fall asleep. The last 3 times I've done that I've dreamt that I was in the movie and I didn't even get a credit for the flick.

6. All these NBA players say that if the lockout lasts, they'll play in Europe next year. "Do you mean it? Don't tease me like that." Does that mean Lebron will be taking his talents to Paris? Bon Voyage!

5. Why is it that winning a negotiation with my daughter beats any business deal I've ever done?

4. Why do Hollywood stars have to name their kids ridiculous names? David Beckham named his daughter Harper Seven supposedly after his jersey number. There is now an Apple, Harper Seven, Blanket and my favorite Rob Morrow's child "Tu." Yes her name is Tu Morrow. There's going to be a generation of kids with a lot of issues. If I was a Hollywood star, Avery would be "Don't gimme no" so it would be "Don't gimme no Lip-man" and Ethan would be "Fat" Lipman. In Hollywood, I'd be called conservative with those choices.

3. So let me get this straight, the Hawks are on lockout, the Falcons are on lockout, we don't have a hockey team anymore and the Braves are all we have. It's great to be a sports fan in Atlanta but at least the Braves are good.

2. When is the time that you stop telling people how many months old your kid is? Does my mom tell people I'm 454 months? I thought I felt old at 37.

1. And the number one question that I've been mulling over the last few days is: Why is Bill Gates not listed in the phone book?

Extra Credit: Goatee or no goatee (see picture attached)? The only vote that matters is Andrea's so don't let this decision haunt you all day.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Peachtree #15 is a wrap!



I have enclosed some pictures from this year's Peachtree. I don't know who the big Peach was but if I ever need a bodyguard, I'm calling him first.

This was the hottest Peachtree I've ever participated in. It was in the low to mid nineties from about the third mile to the finish line. The heat and the fact that I only ran inside to train made the race feel like 10 miles as opposed to the 6.2 miles it actually was.

I finished in about 70 minutes which was great since I was in a log-jam at the beginning and stopped momentarily for pictures at the 3 mile mark with my parents and Aunt Susie. At most stops, you get water or a snack. My mom re-applied sunblock to my face and arms...ah moms!

The night prior to the race, Avery gave me a kiss and hug and asked me to win the race for her. I wanted to tell her the following afternoon that I won. My skin color was just a few tints darker on television, my legs were about a foot longer and my name was a few more syllables. I knew she'd be confused by my humor (as most people are whether they're from Kenya, the U.S. or anywhere around the world) so it gave me a great opportunity to explain to her what winning truly is. I said to her, "Winning isn't always finishing first. It's doing your best to succeed and accepting whatever place you come in whether it's first place, second place or even last place." She quickly replied that she eats noodles all of the time and that's why she beats me up the stairs every night and that if I eat more pasta, I'll see some results. I was laughing pretty hard inside.

My Uncle Bobby ran his 34th race but swears that he doesn't have many left in him. It's kind of sad as I feel like a period of my life is slowly closing. My Uncle Bobby won't be running the Peachtree one day. He reminded me that someday soon my kids might be running with me. When I first started running, I didn't even have a girlfriend and now in my 15th year I have a beautiful wife and two amazing children. Bobby was the one who pushed me into running this race and the one who ridiculed me when as a youngster I was too scared to try it. He used to joke "I ran it again this year. Did you see me on TV?"

Now here is irony. It's my uncle who is scared that his races are numbered and me telling him he can't give up just yet. Still if in 2012, Bobby decides to hang 'em up, I know one thing for sure. Around 10am on July 4th, the first call will come from me. "I ran it again this year. Did you see me on TV?"

If this blog doesn't fire him up to compete, I don't know what will.

It's hard to believe I've run 15 consecutive Peachtrees. Heck, according to the median life expectancy when I was born I was only supposed to live TWELVE years! Yet here I am. I ran the entire Peachtree. This race used to be my biggest fear. It used to be my biggest enemy. Now I see that I love it. I love the feeling of accomplishing something so miraculous year after year. I love the fact that I can write about the 90+ miles I've run on Peachtree Street over the last 15 years and hopefully help other kids and young adults dealing with their own physical issues to believe that anything is possible.

The Peachtree, like cystic fibrosis, has become something that has made me stronger despite the physical and emotional stress it puts on me.

This race isn't just a part of my life; it's what gives me life. Running is a key to my health. Finishing this race is a key to my faith. If I can finish 6.2 miles under the scorching hot Georgia sun, well then in my opinion, anything is possible.

I hope all of you had a safe and happy 4th and that all of you that ran the Peachtree had a safe run. I also hope you realize what an amazing accomplishment it is regardless of what physical or mental health challenges you face. T-minus 365 days till I go for Sweet 16! I'm off to train in Kenya this time around so I can win one for my daughter...or I'll just eat a lot more noodles.

Have a good week.

Andy

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Number 15


On Monday, I run my 15th consecutive Peachtree Road Race. I didn't train as well as I normally do due to the heat but I did do a final 3 mile 35 minute run on Wednesday at the gym. I think I'm ready to go. It's hard to believe I've been able to attempt this race 15 times. Heck, it's hard to believe I can run 6.2 miles after not having the energy to walk to class during my tough days at UGA. I still think about how I walked into the disability office at UGA and looked into riding the disability bus to my classes everyday.

I leave you with a picture of my kids that Andrea took this week. I love the way my son looks up at his sister. It's a pretty accurate depiction of their relationship.

I wish all of you a Happy and Safe 4th of July.

Andy

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Reunion


First off, let me get to the important things first. We had roast beef, pasta and an overall very good meal on Saturday night. I know that's what everyone was worried about. Ok, now for the other news.

We arrived at the Hilton at 7pm, right on time and then I realized, "What am I doing?" The first rule to any party is NEVER to get there on time. I think my parents thought the same thing about carpool when I was little but that's another story for another day. Andrea had told me that we should leave later but I was so ready to get there that I completely lost track of time.

Andrea and I hung out in the car for the next 15 minutes talking about how many people I remembered and who I looked forward to seeing. My biggest fear was not recognizing people or having those awkward moments eating alone because I didn't have a good conversation with anyone. At times, those things happened but they were pretty rare. Andrea was told by most of my classmates that I was just "a nice guy who flew under the radar." I wasn't really looked upon as a geek but just someone who kept to himself. Most people were shocked to know I had cystic fibrosis because I didn't make a big deal of it in school. I didn't want to stand out...especially in a social conscious place like high school.

I saw so many old friends when I arrived. For the most part, people looked the same. Maybe our hairlines were a bit higher, our faces looked a little older and our waistlines were a little bit larger. Okay, maybe I was just talking about myself for all three categories. Everyone looked pretty similar to the way they did in 1991. The cliques were still there. In high school, I was always hesitant to talk to people in a clique. I wasn't afraid to invade those cliques this time around as I spoke to people whether they were "cool" in high school, "geeks" in high school or those I hardly remembered. For the most part, we've all grown up.

When we stood up for the class picture, I felt as if it were the end of "A League of Their Own." I could hear Madonna's "This used to be my Playground" in my head. It was kind of sad knowing that I wouldn't see most of these people for another 10 years if at all. I knew for sure that we would never have this entire group of people in a room again.

The highlights for me were seeing people I hadn't seen in years, meeting some of my classmates' husbands and wives and showing off my beautiful wife to all of my old friends. I had an absolute blast and I was so happy Andrea was able to join me. She really helped make the evening for me.

Hopefully I can make connections, rekindle some friendships and start new friendships. I sent out e-mails Monday morning to people who I had good conversations with and who I want to continue to talk to prior to our next reunion (when I'll make sure to arrive at 7:30 at the earliest).

I'm really glad I went to my reunion. I'm glad I got to talk to some great people. Most importantly, I'm glad it's over with so I don't have to debate going anymore.

I hope all the dads out there had a Happy Father's Day. I was telling Avery that she made my Father's Day and she asked me why. I said that without her, I never would have been a dad to begin with so I thank every day that her and Ethan...and for that matter Andrea are in my life. Avery of course followed that moment by licking my cheek and laughing. Whatever...I'm still calling it a moment. That's why I enclosed a picture of me, Andrea and the kids.

This was my 6th Father's Day as a dad and doctors told me I'd be lucky to see my teens. I've never been happier to prove a group of people wrong.

We are assembling quite a committee for Wish for Wendy as we added two more members and may have a third soon. If you're interested in joining and helping us cure CF, please e-mail me at andy@andylipman.com.

Now it's time to prepare for the Peachtree Road Race. This will be my 15th straight Peachtree and I can't wait.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and I wish you all the best.

Andy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My 20 year reunion this Saturday



A lot has changed since I walked out the doors for the final time at Dunwoody High School in June of 1991. I was a skinny kid with no confidence, aspirations or faith. I truly believed that my life would be cut dramatically short by cystic fibrosis and that I would never have a wife or kids. I really didn't believe I deserved any of those things anyway. I was a follower then. I would do anything my friends would do just so I wouldn't appear to be different. I wasn't the smartest kid in the class nor was I the funniest. I could not comb my hair straight to save my life and wore T-shirts from rock bands that I didn't even listen to in order to fit in.

High school is a tough place to be if you have no self-confidence and I didn't. I had a fear of public speaking then too because as I've said, I hated to stand out. I was bullied a lot in high school which I credit to my lack of confidence and the fact that I was skinny as a bean pole. I never lifted a single weight in high school and it showed in my bony physique. When it was time to sit with anyone in the cafeteria, I was always concerned that I would make them look bad by being in close proximity.

I was always embarrassed about my high school days as I considered it my "loser" years though I doubt I was looked upon that differently and it's just an example of my low self esteem back then getting to me.

Today, I'm not ashamed to admit that I had geeky qualities in high school. Those qualities make me who I am today. What other dad wears a Superman shirt with a red blanket tied behind it to make his kids scream "It's Superman?" I'm not ashamed to say that I studied quite frequently because I wanted to better myself and again those habits still help me today when preparing for speeches or charity events. I may look a bit bigger and have more self-confidence now but deep down I'm still the geek who didn't quite fit in during my high school days.

Does anyone really "fit in" when it comes to high school anyway?

This Saturday I'll be taking Andrea to my 20 year reunion. I'm a little nervous but more curious as to how everyone turned out. I look forward to seeing people I haven't seen in 20 years. There are several individuals who I have talked to on and off for the last two decades so it won't be as strange to see them.

I thought of playing jokes like wearing my Letterman's jacket (for tennis in case anyone cares which is about a step up from chess club when it comes to wearing a Letterman's jacket) or bringing an entourage with me. Alas I still prefer to be that high school kid who blends in with the crowd, but just like in high school, because of the things I deal with every day, I do tend to stand out.

But the difference is that I'm okay with that now. I actually have learned to not only accept that difference but to use it as an opportunity to raise awareness for my foundation so that a cure will some day be in the cards for cystic fibrosis.

I'll let you know how Saturday goes.

Andy