Monday, April 23, 2012

My biggest strength = my biggest weakness

My friend = my enemy

If you asked me in one word to tell you why I'm still thriving today with cystic fibrosis, that word would be "competitiveness." But if you asked me what attribute of mine eats at me every day and I believe in some ways ruins my life, that would be easy too. "COMPETITIVENESS." When I was little, I was not competitive at all. I was a very apathetic kid. I accepted the fact I wasn't good at sports. I used my mom's notes to my gym teacher as an excuse not to finish in last place when we ran laps in the gym. I used my cystic fibrosis as an excuse not to get involved in team sports.

What changed that and why I am who I am

There are a number of things that I believe changed who I was. It all started when my dad and uncle got me involved in sports. Today I'm a very competitive athlete. I remember choking during a presentation in my 5th grade class and my teacher, Ms. Stansbury, called me out and said I did not prepare and gave me a D. I studied hard and was so disappointed when I could not remember the poem. It really hurt my feelings and still today when I give a speech I remember Ms. Stansbury. I remember finishing in last place in gym class. I remember a time recently in the gym when I was on the treadmill and some guy I didn't know was running faster than me. I was focused to last with the guy. When he finished, I made sure to go 5 extra seconds. That's crazy, right? I was dead but I was thrilled with the win. Do you know why I work out twice a day some days? Here's why. When I work out in the morning, there is no one there in my workout room at home to compete with. When I get to the office and find out some of my co-workers are going to the gym at lunch, I purposely forget that I worked out already and have to go tit for tat with them. It's crazy. I'm competitive with just about everyone especially my close friends and even Andrea. It's not just about sports or speaking presentations either. It could be the stupidest thing. Andrea might make dinner so I put the dishes away. A "normal" person would think nothing of that. Not me though. I have to comment how I put the dishes away. It's like "We're tied now honey." Or talking to my buddy the other day. He tells me he stayed up till 1am last night. I have to tell him I was up at 4am doing my therapy. That's me. That's my tit for tat. I hate it some days. Check out my Twitter page (AndyLipman1). I always have to write how I'm beating the odds and how CF won't beat me. Check out my LinkedIn and Facebook postings. Same thing. I think part of this could be a result of being a kid and always being stuck to do my therapy and aerosols when my friends were going out. I always had to have my parents as chaperones for field trips and I missed overnight camp and even some out-of-town trips due to my health. While that seems small to some, to me it was a big deal. I didn't play a down during out pledge football game against our rival fraternity because our brothers were worried about a lawsuit if I got hurt. I felt like I missed out. I also missed our pledge trip to New Orleans because I got sick. Again, I feel like I missed out. Still today, when I finish my therapy, I sprint upstairs to try to catch up with the "real world" or I text my friends to see what's going on. It's like during those 90 minutes the world took a 180 degree turn when in fact it didn't.

What I'm doing to resolve it

I try to fix the problem. I really do. I always let my kids beat me still I believe my competitiveness has rubbed off on them. They are always racing up the stairs and competing in everything. Part of me is proud of them and another part of me is disgusted. I say the serenity prayer each morning and each night and still talk about my competitive issues in therapy. I stand by the fact that without the competitive fire that burns in me that there is no way that I'm still on this earth, however; I know that the same competitiveness ties my stomach in knots. I have to find a happy medium. I don't want my kids to think that winning in life is the only thing that matters. I want them to know that living life is. Thanks for your time. I hope everyone is well.

Live your dreams and love your life.


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Doctor Results

Today's Doctor's Appointment My doctor's appointment went better than expected. My FEV1 which is how much I breathe out went from 82 to 85 despite what I believe to be an infection. The doctor did put me on some oral antibiotics. Still I'm happy with the results. Thanks for everyone's thoughts. Andy

Going to the doctor today

I sit here now waiting for my dreaded doctor's appointment. I know I'm not 100%. It feels like trying to breathe through a coffee straw right now. I'm not looking forward to what my doctor is going to say and I don't look forward to a new dose of antibiotics while still finishing my month of TOBI.

Enough with the self-pity though. I know I'm coughing more. I could tell from my runs this week. I'm ready to accept that my numbers will be down, however; I'm not willing to accept that cystic fibrosis is beating me. I'm ready for the challenge. I will make CF stand for Can Fight!

In other news, the CF video should be done next week. I'm speak at Marist in mid-September. I will be throwing out the first pitch at the July 5th Cubs-Braves game.

Lots of exciting things coming up. I just have to get better first.

Wishing everyone good health.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Poem about turning gray

Going Gray

Everywhere I go,
People that I know,
I hear them laugh and say,
Andy's going gray.

There are some who cannot bear
A color change to their hair.
There are some who hate to be told,
The Inevitable: they're growing old.

It was not inevitable for me,
Doctors would certainly agree.
"Improbable" would be a better word,
At least, that's what my parents heard.

Dreams weren't supposed to come true,
Birthdays were supposed to be few.
Doctors predicted I would die young,
Thanks to the disease that crippled each lung.

The things I would not see,
The list was long for me.
A wedding, a college degree, dreams that others had,
A full-time job, a legacy, someone to call me dad.

From the day I was given my prognosis,
I was expected to lose the battle to cystic fibrosis.
Others were given decades; I wasn't.
Life expectancy was a baker's dozen.

I've dealt with the hand I was given,
And that's why I'm still among the living.
Some days are tougher than others,
Thank goodness for my father and mother.

Things have worked out for me,
The list is long you see.
A wedding, a college degree, dreams others had,
And a few little ones to call me dad.

So the next time I hear them snicker,
I'll feel fortunate that I'm not sicker.
I'll stand up and proudly say,
I'm damn proud to be going gray.

Speaking in Ireland

Andrea and I had a terrific time in Ireland. It was absolutely beautiful there. We arrived Wednesday morning and left Sunday morning. We stayed in 4 hotels in 4 days. We saw the Guiness Factory, the Ring of Kerry, the Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone and the Waterford Crystal Store in Waterford, Ireland.

My speech in Wexford went really well. I spoke for 30 minutes at the conference and got a very nice reception. I even had 3 people e-mail me about it after the conference. The great part was as soon as I arrived Karen and Kevin from a small town in Ireland came just to see me and said they read all of my Facebook posts and followed my blog. What a small world. They have a child with CF who is doing well. I have already been invited back by another group there but I'm probably going to wait till at least 2013 before my next trip.

I really enjoyed having Andrea with me especially since she was the brave one of the two of us and drove the entire time on the left side of the road.

Here are the top 20 things we saw in Ireland that might be a little different to us here in the U.S.

1. There are more sheep and cows than people in certain towns. That's not an exaggeration.

2. The word "lovely" replaces the word "awesome" there. You can also sub the word "brilliant."

3. There is more green grass than high rises.

4. People are ridiculously nice there. I love the southern hospitality in the US but people there are just extremely cordial. They always made me and Andrea feel welcome.

5. Traffic - there wasn't much.

6. Cricket replaces baseball there and make sure you call soccer "football" there.

7. Pubs are fun and relaxing and as opposed to bars in the United States, pubs have lots of kids in them.

8. Most of the cities there have Kill in the first syllable.

9. Drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking are both quite prevalent there.

10. They actually have a system where you can use a credit card to rent a bike there and you don't have to pay a cent (or Euro actually). It's in order to promote exercise and prevent pollution and traffic. It's a wonderful idea. The credit card is just used for an authorization and to keep tabs on the bikes so they get them back.

11. The electricity and measurements are different. I had to get adapters for my equipment and I had to learn to read things in kilometers and celsius instead of miles and fahrenheit. Also, the time difference is 5 hours so at 2pm in Atlanta it's 7pm in Dublin.

12. There are not a lot of interesting TV shows at least in the hotels unless you like: Bra infomercials, cartoons or gameshows.

13. There is not as much cultural diversity there as there is in the states.

14. Having red hair is a lot more normal there.

15. You don't have to pay tolls until you get to your destination where you can pay it at a gas station (or petro in Ireland) or you can pay it on-line. This prevents traffic.

16. Round-abouts replace traffic lights.

17. The outfit of choice for young women: shorts with pantyhose underneath.

18. A lot of places called Murphy's there and a lot of places with O' in front of the names.

19. They have something called Irish football there which is kind of like a mix of rugby and Australian rules football.

20. Driving on the left side of the road. Oh, and there aren't many street signs which makes finding your way around Ireland a bit difficult. Of course, people probably say the same thing when they come to Atlanta and there are 50 streets called Peachtree.

I hope that everyone is well. It's good to be home.


Friday, April 6, 2012


This blog is to tell you how spoiled I have become. I was humbled 2 decades ago when I moved into the TEP house at the University of Georgia. The place had rats, lofts made of chipping wood and windows that would not open unless you jabbed your hand against the ugly blue painted handles. BUT and I mean BUT, it had the best ice machine on the planet!!! The ice cubes were perfect shapes and would easily dissolve when you chewed them. I seriously joined a fraternity for a device that made solid water. This may sound insane but you had to try the ice. Unfortunately you won't get the chance since the house was knocked down a few years ago. I still go on EBay every now and then to see if the machine is out there. Ah the memories...

Flash back to this weekend. Things have changed. I have a family now and travel for work and vacations. I'm used to staying at hotels with workout facilities, continental breakfasts and computer access. I'm used to hotels with a concierge. I'm used to people at the front desk in suits with professional demeanors. The memories of the raggedy TEP house are slowly fading away.

Thursday night I was reminded of my college days. A buddy of mine from Hawaii came down to see the Masters so I took him. There wasn't a ton of availability so I found a random hotel about a mile away from the event. I was staying in an "inn" that would laugh if I asked for any of the amenities I mentioned in the paragraph above. However I am now a motivational speaker so I tried to find the positives in staying at this Hell hole...I mean cozy abode. So after much thought, I realized that there are things at this locale that you won't get at a lot of hotels. Here is a list of 10 unique features of this lovely establishment.

1. Free bugs swarming around the sink and bathroom mirror. I did check the bed bug website fully expecting to find this luxurious hotel on there but no luck. I did check the bill and we weren't charged for the bugs to escort us around the room. That was sweet.

2. Outlets for my machine in which my plugs won't stay in unless I hold them in myself. It was interesting to say the least. At least the electicity worked. I should not complain.

3. The woman with a dragon tattoo at the front desk who made fun of all of my initial questions. I have not seen the movie nor will I ever now. I asked if we needed a parking pass so we wouldn't get towed since the Masters would be swarmed with people. She laughed, "No hun." Then I saw why she laughed when I saw that 3/4 of the parking spots were empty. That should have been a sign, right? Not for this oblivious patron.

4. A microwave from 1985. I wonder if I set the microwave to 88 seconds if I'd go back to the future. I'm kidding of course. I'm not touching that thing. I'm worried that there may be a Hot Pocket from 1980 stored in there. Ok, I'm a motivational speaker. Think positive. With a microwave in the room, I guess they consider this a kitchen. How nice of them to give us a kitchen. What a great price for a suite!

5. What hotel room isn't complete without its own trash can? This one's complete apparently. There was not a single can. I'm going to assume that's because they like to recycle. It's nice staying in a "green" hotel. Apparently the bath tub is very environmentally friendly because there is a lot of green in there.

6. A sign saying WELCOM TO THE MASTERS. Silent E's are overrated. I think it's great that this place is so laid back that they don't worry about vowels.

7. A pool. Seriously there's a pool. Of course it's 10 feet from the dumpsters. There's a sign that reads "no lifeguards." No Sh*t! There's not even a trash can in the room. Did I think they'd use that money to hire a freakin' lifeguard? I'm being spoiled now. That's great that they have a pool. The water may be cleaner than the shower.

8. A fridge with door scratches covering it (picture enclosed). My meds were in there. Please keep them in your prayers. Sorry the picture is blurry. I believe I began to shake 5 minutes into my entry into the room. Still at least I had a place to keep my meds cold. I have to be grateful. C'mon Andy! Stay positive!

9. The television had DirecTV amazingly but half the buttons didn't work. I know that it must have frustrated Tiger Woods who I'm sure was staying at this luxurious hotel. I looked for him and Mickelson. I figured they may be hanging out at the pool. It was nice that we had so many channels...though we couldn't get to many of them. I'm guessing with Tiger's performance he probably did stay at our wonderful place.

10. I was going to take a shower but I imagined the girl with the dragon tattoo probably had a hole in the wall and would eventually strike me down. Also, the fact that part of the bathroom floor was missing was a sign in my opinion. Still I'm just grateful that I'm alive today.

I harken back now to my college days where I lived 9 months out of the year in a place similar to this: my fraternity house. There was torn up menolium. There were rats in the storage room. There was no gym or continental breakfast, BUT at least there was a stellar ice machine. Gosh, I miss the ice machine.

So I'm going to stay positive. I enjoyed watching the Masters though I'm not a huge golf fan. I got to see Tiger up close, Mickelson and so many others. I got to see the most legendary course on the planet. I was also pleased that I helped my friend see something he'd been dreaming about his whole life.

Ok, I can't take it anymore. I know I'm supposed to be positive but I would have rather stayed in the Bates Motel. I would have rather had Jack Nicholson shouting "Here's Johnny" in the room next to me. I would have rather had Redrum written all over the walls but who would have the guts to touch the walls.

If I'm to rate this hotel, I would give them a rather poor grade. Fortunately there was no comment card...shocking I know. Yes, I'm spoiled now. There's no changing that...speaking of changing, I wonder if the beds have been changed since the late eighties but I digress.

The bright side is that I saw a legendary golf tournament that's been going on since that Hot Pocket was in the microwave...I mean "I HAD A GREAT TIME!"

I hope everyone had a good laugh. I'm home now so I'm going to shower...a lot!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

P90X - wrapping up soon!

This picture is from last fall (prior to P90X - best picture I could come up with) and the picture after it was this morning as I've hit the final few weeks of P90X. The picture was taken by Avery while I was doing my aerosol therapy (TOBI).

I would have to say that P90X has been as tough as advertised and I think I got a bit too addicted to it. It's a great program and it certainly works but it requires extreme dedication. I think a person like me who suffers from compulsion and anxiety is not a great candidate to do this program. The other issue is that I have so many hours of therapy during the day that it's hard to fit it all in and still have meaningful time with my family.

I'm proud of the fact that my body has transformed and I've lost close to 15 pounds while gaining a little muscle too. Will I do this program again or even the new P90X? I don't think so but I'll take some of the tools I've picked up and use them during my normal workout routine. I hope others with CF or any other disorder will give P90X a shot. Many have asked why I did it to begin with. After our Disney Cruise, I gained about 7 pounds and felt badly about it. Then I was listening to the radio just after New Year's on my way to work and they were talking about New Year's Resolutions. I never do them but this guy came on there and said his goal was to do one of those 30 to 90 day workouts that get people absolutely cut. I don't know why but this immediately registered with me. About a year earlier, Andrea and I had bought the tapes from a friend so I decided I might as well put them to use...and so here I am now.

As I prepare for my trip with Andrea to Ireland, I'm nervous about speaking internationally for the first time. I know this is a huge opportunity for not only me but for our foundation. I also look forward to sightseeing in the beautiful country of Ireland with my lovely bride. It will be nice to have some alone time.

The CF video has been a bit of a pain. I love the video but the music approval process has been very difficult. I'm hoping to have something by April 15th.

If you haven't yet, please check out the top 25 on my previous blog entry. I thought they were kind of funny.

I wish everyone a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Things that make me go hmmmm.....April 2012 edition

Top 25 things I thought about this week:

1. When will Kentucky lose their national title? Coach Calipari is synonymous for leaving schools and then they go on probation (See Memphis and UMASS – The Nets didn’t go on probation – just into the toilet).

2. I love that President Obama picked the Women’s NCAA bracket. My 3 year old son could do it. The final 8 teams were the top 8 seeds. The final 4 teams were the top 4 seeds. The team who won was the top seed. I’m entering the women’s bracket next year.

3. Why is it that people use music on Youtube videos all the time but when I take the time to be honest and ask for permission to use music on my video, the musicians want to charge me thousands to do it?

4. The Braves have acquired several players that were cut by lesser teams and yet many people expect the Braves to win 90 plus games. Am I the only that is concerned that our SS is a rookie, our 3B is retiring, our OF is the worst in baseball productivity-wise and our three best pitchers (Jurrjens, Hudson and Hanson) all have injury issues. I’m not Keith Law or Buster Olney but those are problems.

5. Why is it that whenever I buy flowers for my wife that the grocery store clerk always asks me “What did you do wrong?” Can’t a man just do something nice for his wife? Anyway, it never hurts to be proactive because I know I’ll screw up in the near future.

6. Why is it that every single voice mail I call says “The options have recently changed” and then when I push “0,” it goes back to the beginning. AHHHHH!

7. The Winnipeg Jets did not make the playoffs this year. Why is that important? That means the Thrashers organization will continue their dubious distinction as winning ZERO playoff games in the last decade. Not ZERO Series wins, but ZERO games won.

8. The Atlanta Falcons got two guys out of retirement this year and lost one of the best linebackers in football yet they still contend that they are better this year. The only true changes they made were offensive and defensive coordinators. I’d be really angry to read that the team believes they’ll be better if I were the old offensive and defensive coordinators.

9. I have never done worse in the NCAA bracket. I am going to have my kids pick the teams next year. I know they both love blue so they would have nailed the finals this year.

10. The Atlanta Hawks have had the same nucleus of players since the Atlanta Spirit took over (several years ago) and have yet to even make the conference finals. In any other city, a change would be made. Here? Nah.

11. I am almost done with P90X and I can definitely tell you something. I am old! My back hurts more. My knees are snapping. My hair looks gray. I am sweating in places I didn’t even know I had. People ask me if I'm really cut now. My answer is "I feel like I've been cut."

12. What’s the point of buying season tickets for any team when you can just buy a nice TV and watch the games at home? Never mind. I forgot about cotton candy.

13. Does anyone know any Irish humor for my speech in Ireland that's coming up? I’m afraid they won’t get my jokes. Then again, no one in the states gets them either.

14. Is this the worst season of American Idol ever? I think it would be more interesting if they had them date each other and turn it into the Bachelor. Or even better, let them transform it into Fear Factor. I can see it now. Brandy, you sang ok but to stay on the show you must eat the head of this live octopus. Seacrest out!

15. The lady who told everyone she won the lottery but has not given anyone her ticket and says it is hidden at McDonalds is either a big fat liar or the dumbest person on the planet. Either way, I'm flying to the Baltimore McDonalds today to get a happy meal and if all goes well, a VERY happy meal.

16. If people consider Kim Kardashian stupid, then what about the millions of people who pay to watch her every move?

17. How is San Diego State in the Big East and Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference? I’m beginning to think the NCAA believes that Geography is an unnecessary class to take in college.

18. Did anyone watch the Baylor-Notre Dame women’s game last night? I found myself clicking between that and the movie “Bridesmaids.” Don’t worry. I turned in my man card this morning.

19. And for most embarrassing MLB franchise of the year (it’s early but they get it). Check out this link

20. Rumor has it that Jaleel White (Urkel on Family Matters) got in a shouting match with his Dancing with the Stars partner and several other people on the set of the hit show. Here is my only question "When the media asked him about this, he had an opportunity for the greatest answer of all time but he didn't use it!" Wait for it. Wait for it.

"Did I do that?"

21. How come no one has come up with the bumper sticker "I hate judgemental people!"

22. I remember when we were at my grandmother's house and we told my daughter to wash her hands. She called me into the bathroom. "Dad, there's no soap." I then had to point her to the bar of soap under the mirror. I had forgotten that kids of the new generation have no idea what bars of soap are. I was then going to show her my grandmother's rotary phone but I didn't want to confuse her further.

23. What if my GPS stopped working and I had to pick up a new GPS at the store? How would I get there?

24. My daughter was impressed when I did math without a calculator the other day. Next trick I'll show her is spelling things correctly without spellcheck. She'll think I'm a genius and who is to argue with her.

25. I came across the movie 2010 the other day and it made me think "Man, how disappointing! It's now 2012 and no one has dolphins in their pool." I already had a name picked out and everything.