Monday, March 21, 2011
I went to see my doctor on Friday. The picture attached is me wearing my safety mask on Friday. All patients with cystic fibrosis are required to wear these masks so not to infect other patients.
The news was not as good as I hoped it would be however it was pretty much what I expected it to be. My lung function is down 6% so I am on oral antibiotics. I expected the low numbers because I'm fighting a cold and infection. I don't feel that bad. I'm just tired and a bit achy. My stomach is a little sore from the drugs, but that's really the extent of it. I've noticed that the mucous in my lungs appears to be looser as I'm having no problem spitting after my therapy. I think I can credit that to the antibiotics.
I had a glucose test on Friday again to test me for CFRD (Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes). People my age have a 50% chance of having this disease. I had to fast from midnight till about 11am. The nurse took 11 vials of blood and made me drink some disgusting "flat tasting Sunkist-like" beverage. It appears I'll have to take this test every 6 months for the rest of my life or until they diagnose me with the disease. I'll get the results back this week. I also did a sputum culture so they could have a better idea of what is causing the infection. I'll continue to update you on my progress but I know that I'll be ok.
My scientific calculator that I bought at an Eckerd’s (remember Eckerd’s) in October of 1991 has finally died. New batteries did not work though every now and then 0.00 appears. It was a great 20 years we spent together. Sure, calculus and statistics classes did not exactly bring us closer together and I never did understand half of its functions, but I will certainly miss it. It was this calculator that I learned how to write HELLO upside down. No calculator could replace it. So for the final time, I say HELLO (picture enclosed) and now Goodbye.
Tonight is the opening night of our softball season and I don't intend to let this infection affect me. I've lost about 15 pounds and gained some muscle since the end of last season so I'm looking forward to seeing how much that will contribute to my play or whether old age will still win out.
I've had four speeches over the last month and they've gone really well. I have to thank Bud Carter and the Vistage group for allowing me to speak to them.
I went to a Purim (Jewish holiday) carnival on Sunday. It was a lot of fun. The highlights other than winning a Coke bottle for answering Braves questions had to be my rabbi dressed as Charlie Sheen. Andrea and I saw a lot of people we knew and in some cases had not seen in a long time. I also saw an old high school friend at lunch. We hadn't seen each other in years. We both had two kids and I looked at him and said "Life changes, huh?" He laughed.
Congrats to my Cousin Andrea on the birth of her son.
I want to wish my wife Andrea good luck on a new tennis season. Kick some butt, honey!
I wish everyone health and happiness.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I thought that Avery was playing one of her computer games last night while I was doing my therapy. It turns out that she was making a 14-second video of her daddy doing his therapy (link to the video is at the bottom of my blog entry). I had no idea. When she showed it to me, it moved me to tears. I didn't spend a lot of time with Avery when she was little because I could not deal with any of my issues. I regret that very much. This video tells me that my daughter still loves me and I hold that love very close to my heart. She is one of the many reasons I want to beat this disease. Avery, I love you so much. You'll never know how much this video meant to your daddy nor will you know how much you mean to me.
None of you realize how much a kind word, a show of support or even just a smile can meant to a friend. Andrea, Avery, Ethan, Mom and Dad, Emily, my entire family and friends, you mean the world to me. You provide me with so much hope and strength.
Tomorrow is my doctor's appointment and you better believe I'll be watching one particular video before my pulmonary function tests.
I love you all.
Here is Avery's video. It's very short. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO74HaCD5bw
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
This blog was just for fun. So many of my blogs are pretty serious so I thought I'd lighten it up a bit. Choose your favorite cowboy or cowgirl. I'd say I'm fairly certain that Ethan and Avery are my children. I'm hoping they look more like mommy as they get older especially Avery. Picture A is Ethan. Picture B is Avery. Picture C needs a haircut. Thanks mom.
So here are the 13 things I force myself to remember every morning (remove the workout and running in place when figuring out how many of these things I do at night too). This does not include the even months when I do my Tobi.
1) Pour my sinus mix into both nostrils
2) Spray my antibiotic in both nostrils
3) Spray my Sinus spray into both nostrils
4) Inhale my Xopenex
5) Do my Hypertonic Saline
6) Run in place for 15 minutes during Hypertonic Saline.
7) Start Vest Therapy
8) Do my Meditation for 5 minutes. That usually entails repeating the serenity prayer.
9) Do my foot medication (I have some dried up skin I have to put lotion on twice a day - not CF related)
10) Cough and spit up mucous after Hypertonic Saline.
11) Start Pulmozyme Aerosol.
12) After finishing Vest and Pulmozyme, go to the bathroom to spit up mucous.
13) Do my 30 minute workout (Monday - Chest and legs, Tuesday - bis and tris, Wed - shoulders, forearms and back, Thursday - Abs, Chest and Legs, Friday - Abs, bis and tris, Saturday - Shoulders, back and forearms, Sunday - rest).
Every morning I must remember to collect my pills - 20 Zen Pep (meals), 4 Juice Plus (supplements), 1 Nexium (for reflux), 3 Calcium Pills (for Ostopenia), 2 cholesterol pills, Lexapro and Buproprion (for emotional stress), ADEK (Vitamin A, D, E and K), 1 Zithromax (every Monday, Wed and Friday), 1 Vitamin on Mondays and Miralax Mondays and Thursdays.
The reason I put in an exact amount is because if I don't remember if I took pills or not, all I have to do is count. That makes it much easier than having to retrace my steps. It also allows me to have 5 meals per day (4 Zen Pep per meal) without running out of pills.
Also, these pills must be taken at the right time (prior to meals, during meals or right after meals). If I fail to do that, there was no point in taking them. My therapy machine is timed for 40 minutes. In those 40 minutes, I have five settings that I have to change the frequency (25 minutes, 20 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes).
Try doing this and occasionally preventing a two year old and five year old from jumping on my shoulders so they can get the sensation of my vibrating vest and you have my morning and evening rituals.
Have a good one.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The rumors about the goings on in the trial concerning Andrea and the man who allegedly murdered my friend continue to swirl. I'm sure the facts will come out and everyone will get the answers they want. The biggest issue I have with this whole thing is that it seems that the one person who has been forgotten throughout all of this is Rusty. There is one fact I know of. Rusty Sneiderman, a doting father, a loving husband, a dear son, a good brother, a charitable person and a wonderful friend died. He's not coming back. People ask me why I continue to write about him. I suppose that part of me wants to avoid what the press has already done...forgetting about Rusty Sneiderman.
Rusty Sneiderman was the kind of guy who always made me feel better about myself. If he and I traded places, I know he would be going to every media outlet telling them that Andy Lipman was his friend and that he will do all he can to finish what I started. Rusty, I will continue to do that for you. You always told me you wanted me to hone my craft and become a great speaker. To this date I have spoken a handful of times since your death and have another handful in front of me. That's not just to relay my message or to sell books or to raise awareness for CF. It's for you, Rusty.
You were my friend. I support you. I will be there for your family regardless. You were the kind of guy who would give everything to your friends. Everyone deserves a friend like that but rarely do we find one. I had one of those. I had one of those for two plus years. I should have had him for longer. We all lost a terrific person.
I still see him from time to time. Sometimes when I play tennis, I can see him on the bench cheering me on. Sometimes when I'm having a crappy day, I think of Rusty and how he would tell me his day was crappier and then he'd laugh only the way he could. I always picture him on his boat. He loved his boat. I could see his hair blowing in the breeze. He was so great with my kids and of course his own. He was careful with them and showed them how wonderful riding on the lake could be. I have to imagine that he's riding that same boat in heaven and one day I look forward to being his passenger and riding the waves with my friend again.
I'm not in the position to judge anyone. Granted I am angry at the man who took my friend's life however I refuse to let his alleged actions consume me.
I have made mistakes in my life and I will be there for any of my friends regardless of the mistakes they have made. A friend is there for another friend during the good times and the bad. So whatever happened in this case, I will support Andrea, the children and Rusty's entire family. Rusty would have wanted that. I know he would have.
Rusty, I miss you but please know that I'm doing well and moving on with my life. Still I will talk about you any time I get the chance. It's not a downer to talk about you. It only inspires me to be better.
I love you, buddy.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I get nauseas when I read the stories about Rusty's alleged killer (I refuse to use his name in my blog), Rusty and Andrea in the papers. I am annoyed how the press is getting private information from sources. You want to paint a picture? Here's a picture. Two wives lost their husbands. Several children lost their fathers. One wonderful man will never get a chance to see his two children graduate from college, marry and have their own children. All because one man gutlessly killed my friend.
I'm amazed how the press is spinning this story. Isn't it tough enough that my friend Andrea lost her husband, best friend and as she called him "her one true love?" No, apparently it's not. The press is spinning this into some Lifetime movie while Andrea's friends know the truth. Andrea loved Rusty with all of her heart. They were college sweethearts. I saw Andrea grabbing her husband's coffin, begging for all of this to be a bad dream, as it sank several feet below the earth. I saw her in shambles. I know how much she loved Rusty.
More importantly I saw these two when Rusty was alive. Their love was evident to everyone who knew them. I loved them as a couple and now sadly because of one man's (and yes, one man's) horrible act, I'll have to love them separately for now on.
This case is being sensationalized in the news. Let me give you one example. The articles have said that after Sneiderman's death, Andrea and her boss had "continuous conversations." Let me see. Something horrible happens in your life that means you'll be out of work for an undisclosed period of time. Whatever you do, don't call your boss, right? Of course you do. He will need to know how long you're gone or if he'll need to replace you for a short term or even the long term. He'll need to tell his other employees where shiva is being sat or how to donate in her husband's name. Just think about how much that makes sense.
Andrea Sneiderman is my friend. I will be on her bandwagon forever. I love her. I support her. And I'm so sorry she not only has to deal with the loss of her husband, her best friend and the father of her children, but she also has to deal with this in the media where this story is being totally twisted. By the way, Andrea did not ask me to write this. I'm writing this because I'm fed up from reading about this story and I'm sick of getting calls from the media for my "opinion" about what happened.
The right person is in jail. I will leave it there. I'm so sorry for the children in both families. They will have to live with this story long after it is out of the papers. They will have to explain to their friends and future husbands/wives what happened to their fathers. No one should have to do that.
All I'm asking is that you reserve judgment and put yourself in Andrea Sneiderman's shoes. If you can handle this traumatic event with half the class that she has, I will be impressed.
Andrea, ignore the naysayers. Your friends and family love you. Stay strong. And to the man who allegedly killed my friend and destroyed two families and several friends' lives in the process, I speak for Rusty when I say "You will get yours."
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
After several years of writing and contacting agents, I just received a signed contract from The Dunham Group out of Nashville for the rights to publish The Drive at 35.
David Dunham, CEO of The Dunham Group, has spent three decades in virtually every aspect of publishing. His personalized attention to his clients has resulted in over 50 bestselling books, 25 of them on the New York Times best-seller’s list. He has also worked with several famous authors.
We expect The Drive at 35 (this is the working title) to come out in early 2012. Forewords include Boomer Esiason, Frank Deford, Dale Murphy, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation President Robert Beall, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion!
The book will detail my battle with cystic fibrosis and depression. The proceeds will go to the Wish for Wendy Foundation which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Speaking of the CF Foundation, a new treatment that the CFF is backing is having amazing results in clinical trials for CF patients. A cure might be closer than we think. The link is below.
Thanks everyone for your support especially my wife Andrea, my parents Charles and Eva, my sister Emily and our foundation director Susan Andre!
I also want to thank my late friend Rusty who taught me the value of hard work and the significance of my message. I promise to make the most of this opportunity, Rusty. I won't let you down.