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.


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.


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.


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.