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.


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.



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.


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!