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.


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

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.


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.


Friday, June 10, 2011

The doctor, TOBI and much more...

Good morning. I hope everyone is prepared for a wonderful weekend. In Atlanta, I believe it's supposed to be a high of 150 degrees with a 0 wind chill and 100% humidity. At least, that's how it feels lately. The hot weather affects my CF. I feel like my breathing is off.

I went to the doctor last Friday and got some good news when I was actually expecting bad news. My numbers were up by a point. I thought they'd be way down due to the heat. Then I had a chest X-ray, a bone density scan that checks for osteoperosis and a sputum culture. The thing about a doctor's appointment is that it doesn't end the moment I walk out of the hospital. I still have to helplessly wait for the results for all of my tests.

Rusty's case is still in the news more than 6 months later. It's hard to see his picture come up even now but I know that he is up in the sky watching everything going on here.

Avery is doing great, loving camp and growing up into a little lady. Ethan is doing great, loving his big boy bed and growing into a little devil. Magic (picture attached) did not have good news this week. She was attacked by another lab mix at doggy day care and I had to take her to the vet and give her antibiotics twice a day. She has a cut above her eye and under her chin. I'm going to call her "Mike Tyson" for a while. Don't worry. She's going to be okay.

I've been doing pretty well. I started TOBI earlier in the week so that means an additional hour and a half per day of treatments. It's a little bit frustrating but I've been trying to do it earlier in the morning and earlier at night so it doesn't affect my sleep too much. It's funny that waking up at 6:00 AM for me means that I slept in.

I'm still working on my book, gathering contacts and putting together strategies on how to make it the most successful. I really want this book to help people who not only go through cystic fibrosis but also go through the emotional issues that anyone with a terminal illness has to go through.

My reunion is in a few more weeks and I'm noticing that a lot of people aren't going. I'm going to go though. If nothing else, the food should be good.

We are starting to work on Wish for Wendy now too. If anyone has any interest in being part of our committee, please let me know. The event is Saturday November 5th at Alpharetta's North Park. We are planning our first meeting for later this month.