Monday, January 21, 2013

The Lipman family joins reality TV

My sister will be a reality TV star this fall. The show details the lives of young up and coming professionals and how they live their fast-paced lives. The show takes place in Atlanta and will be broadcast on a major TV network. I don't have a lot of the details to give out right now.

As the show nears, I'll be sure to add a bit of humor as I review it even though I'll have a tough time watching it. If I do make an appearance at some point, I'll be sure to thank my first grade teacher who had me play tree#3 in the school play. That really helped me prepare for the role of Andy Lipman.

I hope everyone is well.


Sherman returns in 2012

People thought nothing could be worse than what Sherman did to Atlanta hundreds of years ago but in the last 6 months our sports teams have suffered defeats that made it feel like Sherman has returned to burn this city down again.

In June, the Hawks were down 3 games to 2 and were beating the Celtics late in Boston that would have forced a Game 7 in Atlanta. There was a terrible call that went against the Hawks and then with a few seconds left, Al Horford missed a free throw. Hawks lost. Then in October, the Braves were up 2-0 in the wildcard game when one of the best defensive teams in the NL made error after error and then got one of the worst calls in playoff history when an "infield fly" ruined a rally when it was obvious it was not an infield fly. The Braves lost. In December, in the Georgia Dome, the Bulldogs were a few plays from knocking off Alabama and then moving on to beat (not meet) Notre Dame. Yet instead a ball was tipped, went right to our wide receiver who caught it a few yards from the end zone and the time ran out. Georgia lost. Then a few hours ago, the Falcons were up 17-0 and fell behind 28-24 and were driving with under 2 minutes left. An apparent pass interference was not called and the Falcons fell a few yards short ONCE AGAIN in the Georgia Dome.

Maybe I should just be happy that my teams were all in contention this year. Maybe I should be happy that each team came so close to an elusive title. As I watched my kids play after the game, I realized what a wonder life I have. I realized how little sports matters. I realized how silly I'm being for writing a blog about sports. I have cystic fibrosis and I'm excelling. That's the good thing. And you know what, that's all a lie! I didn't think about anything but my stupid teams ruining my night yet again. When will it be my turn (sorry to be selfish - I'm referring to all Atlanta and/or Georgia fans).

For the next 24 to 48 hours, I can't watch sports. It will absolutely kill me. I will just go to sleep again with those famous last words "Maybe next year."

It can't be worse than the last 6 months...can it?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Ross, Philadelphia's Gain

I remember it like it was yesterday. Back in 1996, I had just graduated from UGA (only took me a short 5 years) and I was dating Stephanie. I was back in Atlanta working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. There was a party on campus and Stephanie asked if I could come up to Athens. That evening, I talked to Ross Jacobs. Ross and I knew each other at Georgia. We were fraternity brothers but that was about it.

Ross tells me though that he remembered something during our college days that told him a lot about me. He was doing a paper for a school project and did it on my efforts to beat cystic fibrosis. I didn't talk about CF much then but I agreed to do it. He said the quote he remembered most was when he asked me about how hard I worked and if I had to always give it 100%. I told him this:

I always give 120% because when I commit to something I work as hard or harder than anyone else.

He found that to be inspirational.

Ross was the guy who hung out with the younger college crowd and he had a spirit about him that made everyone want to get to know the guy. When Ross arrived at a party, everyone went looking for him. When I arrived, I always felt that I found the corner of the room and just sat there and hoped I would have the courage to talk to people. We were opposites but in a good way. I learned a lot from him.

Ross and I began to talk at this particular party and he said he was moving down to Atlanta to work at CNN. He just needed a place...that took dogs...and he needed a roommate...and...well, you get it.

Ross and I moved to Dumpwoody...I mean Dunwoody Courtyards in 1996. The place was somewhat crappy and some of our neighbors were a bit on the strange side. but we had some pretty good times there. Ross, myself and his dog Cobi lived there for a couple of years. Cobi and I got off on the wrong foot/paw as his barking and nipping perturbed me but he was only a 12 inch long black dauchsund so I eventually learned how to deal.

There was little to no parking at Dunwoody Courtyards so we were unable to have any big parties and we wanted that to change. After a few years, we finally moved to Harrow Drive in Chamblee; a place we would rename The Love Shack. We had 2 other roommates: Peter and Wayne. The parties we had became legendary. Our parties had at least 200 people. Ross created an Olympic Sport called how many beer bottles can you throw in a trash can. We began using the game as a way to impress least that's what we thought it did. While at The Love Shack, I talked to people about an event I was going to start called A Wish for Wendy. The attendance at the softball tournament initially was mostly people from those parties.

Ross and I were always there to celebrate with the other when a special occasion came up. After our first Wish for Wendy, Ross picked up a cake for me and there was supposed to be a softball with the word CF on it. Ross told the cake lady to put "CF on the ball." So she literally wrote CF on the ball on the cake. I threw a party for him when he became an uncle for the first time and made him a hat that said Jake's uncle. Thank goodness the embroiderer did not write Jake's Uncle on the hat.

Here is a picture from the party I threw for Ross after his sister gave birth to his first nephew. Ross was so psyched about being an uncle that I made him a hat that read "Jake's Uncle."

Ross and I worked out together every day after work. We ate dinner together at the house. He supported my infatuation of Britney Spears and I supported his infatuation of Heather Mitts. Speaking of which, I met the soccer star/model several years later and had her call Ross on the phone. The whole thing was classic. Ross, if you ever meet Britney Spears, I do not want the same in exchange. I think she might be a little on the crazy end.

Meeting Heather Mitts

Ross and I loved our times at The Love Shack but we soon moved out to a new place with our friend Darrell which we would rename the Buddha Pleasure Palace. The parties continued to grow. Ross and I became the best of friends. When I got sick, Ross was there. When Ross's dad died, I tried to be there for him. When we dealt with break-ups, the other was always there. When our sports teams (Ross - Philly teams, me - Atlanta teams) failed (which was every season), we were there to support the other even if it meant repainting the wall because one of us threw the remote control when our team lost in overtime.

We would spend most evenings out until 4am in Buckhead. After a long night of partying, we would talk about life, our failed attempts at finding the right girl and why our sports teams would never win a title. As much as we talked about negative stuff, it was so much fun to talk about it with him. I think he felt the same way. As we got older, things changed. I moved in with my girlfriend Andrea and eventually got married and moved to the burbs. He moved further into the city and had different roommates. We still talked a lot over the phone and arranged dinner meetings when we could. Still it was as if we had a long distance relationship. It just wasn't the same as when we lived together.

When Andrea gave me the coolest trip in the world - a trip to visit Fenway and Yankee Stadium, she made sure that he was my companion on the trip.

Ross and I on the baseball trip that Andrea surprised me with.

Ross was the best man at my wedding and several years later, I was the best man at his. I made sure that my children called him Uncle Ross because he was a member of our family as far as I was concerned.

He came to every Wish for Wendy until last year...for a good reason. His wife Summer gave birth to their first child, a beautiful daughter they named Annabelle.

Recently, Ross was given an opportunity that he could not pass up. He got a great job offer in Philadelphia and accepted it. He, Summer and Annabelle are moving there next week. My kids are going to miss their Uncle Ross very much. Andrea is going to miss him too. And yeah, I am going to miss him most of all.

Ross, thank you for all you did for me. Thank you for being a good friend and in many ways a role model. Thank you for always doing "the right thing" and for always looking at the glass half full. I'm going to miss having you around to talk about many of life's highs and lows specifically my team's failed attempts to win a title.

I don't look at this as much as a goodbye but more as another step in our lives. We used to joke at Ray's Pizza in Buckhead at four in the morning how we may live together forever and never meet the right girl. Turns out, we both had our happy endings. We just won't be experiencing them in the same city.

Ross, while I know we won't be able to grab dinners at a drop of the hat anymore, I will make sure to call you quite often to talk about our personal lives, our families and of course our miserable sports teams.

I promise, just like I told you in college, to give 120%.

Your best friend,


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top 10 ways to view the world positively

Occasionally you'll meet someone who will bring you down and make you feel like you're worthless. Occasionally you'll look in the mirror and see a person you never wanted to see. Life is never easy and there are plenty of moments when we wish we could just jump into a well and never climb back up. I've been there. I know that many of you have been there too. My purpose for writing these 10 ways to stay positive is not to anoint myself as the king of positivity. It's to let you know that there are different ways to look at situations to make them easier to deal with. You can take a negative and make it a positive. There is a great line from Rudy where Rudy's friend tells him that his dad always told him that "Having dreams makes life tolerable." I viewed that statement as saying that through the tough times, we need to keep our faith that things aren't so bad. I hope these 10 ways to stay positive will not only show you that things aren't so bad but they actually show you that they're pretty damn good.

Top 10 ways to stay positive:

1. Some people view failures as negative consequences of trying and not
succeeding…I view them as learning experiences.

2. Some people view having a disease as being a victim. I see it as being a survivor or even a fighter.

3. Some people say they struggle with their disease. I say I battle my disease.

4. Some people say life is unfair. I am grateful to be living.

5. Some people define living as breathing. I define it as much more than that.

6. Some people think losing is the worst thing that can happen to someone. I think it’s quitting that is far worse.

7. Some people think a disease steals your normalcy. I believe that it brings you an opportunity to make a difference.

8. Some people view depression as a negative. I view a failure to act against depression as a negative.

9. Some people view mistakes as daggers. I view them as opportunities to learn.

10. Some people have a disease. I will never let my disease have me.

Now go kick some ass!


The Falcons, Lance and everything sports

Most of you know that I love sports so I'm using this blog to discuss my feelings on this week's topics.

1) Lance Armstrong - I have a problem with the fact that he not only lied but blamed people and tried to make others look bad. Now he's admitting his banned substance use because he wants to compete in triathlons and more bike races. I have a problem with that. America loves comeback stories. Trust me. This isn't one. I thank him for all he has done for cancer patients but as far as Lance the man, I don't think he deserves a comeback story.

2) The Falcons - I nearly called the final score on my last blog and almost called how the game would go. I'm going to try this again. Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Mike Smith and the entire team removed a huge monkey off their back by finally winning a playoff game. They are also at home. SF is ridiculously good and John Abraham will need to be a force for the Falcons to have any shot. I believe that this will be a very close game. If this was played in SF, I'd pick the 49ers to crush the Falcons but it's not. I believe the Falcons trail most of the game but Kaepernick finally makes a big mistake to cost the Niners the game.

Falcons 26
49ers 24

Falcons vs. Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Rise up!!!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Yeah, I'll say it. This Falcons team is different.

A lot of people including the experts are saying that the Atlanta Falcons will once again be one and done and will lose to the Seattle Seahawks. The birds will definitely lose this weekend - I am referring to the birds from Seattle. This Falcon team may have a lot of pressure but I'm predicting that they will explode on Sunday. They will destroy the Seahawks. The 'Hawks will make it close late but the Falcons will hold on.

Final score prediction:

Falcons 31
Seahawks 24

Go Falcons! Soon to be known as the FalCANS!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Today's appointment results

First off, thank you for all of the kind words that everyone sent me going into today. Anyone who has been through a disease or a personal issue knows how important it is to feel like you're not dealing with it alone. I always feel comfort from Andrea, my kids, my parents and my sister but it was wonderful to have so many positive messages sent to me yesterday and this morning.

I remember a month ago when I got the news that my numbers were slipping and I was very disappointed. Despite doing TOBI treatments that month, I woke up a bit earlier and hit the gym. I made this video to motivate me. I promised I wouldn't reveal it until after my next appointment. Here you go. This was from early December.

As promised, I used the picture of Andrea and the kids for motivation today.

Here were the results from this morning and a personal thank you from me to you.

Grateful to have so many great and caring friends,


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tomorrow I see the doctor

First off, Happy New Year everyone. I hope that 2013 is a spectacular year for everyone full of celebrations.

Several of you have been asking about my health and I just wanted to say thank you. Recently I've been writing a lot about silly things to keep my mind off of my health though I will say my top ten things I've learned about the bowl games was very impactful (ha ha!). I don't openly talk about my health in person but I do tend to write about my feelings on my blog so here goes.

Tomorrow is the big doctor's appointment. My numbers have been down lately and I've been on multiple antibiotics. My last appointment was disappointing but still it was only 4 points down (it's been down by as much as 30 before). In the past, I would have gotten depressed, blamed the world and lamented about the appointment for weeks. I have changed the way I see "bad" appointments now. I give myself a day to get upset and then when the alarm clock beeps at 6am the next morning, it's time to "RISE UP!" I stole that from Samuel L. Jackson and the Falcons so forgive me.

I now look at these "bad" appointments as challenges to return to my old form. I think about things that doctors have said in the past.

"As you get older, your numbers are likely to decline."

"Working out will probably not do a whole lot for your overall health."

"Don't overdo it."

I take every challenge as something very personal.

You don't think I can do it? Well, let me show you.

Over the last month, I have doubled my Pulmozyme, finished my TOBI, and finished a couple of more antibiotics. It's been exhausting but it hasn't stopped me from working out at Lifetime Fitness once a week and 6 times a week in my home gym. I'm still running about 5 miles a week. I walk Magic most mornings and evenings to get even more fitness in. While some people ease up when they are sick, I do the opposite.

I am also eating a bowl of gummy bears every night. That has nothing to do with fitness. I just wanted everyone to know that I'm not exactly Ivan Drago.

Ivan Drago from Rocky IV

Am I worried about tomorrow?

Absolutely. I have a lot riding on tomorrow. I don't want to go on IV antibiotics and miss significant work time. I don't want to have more tests done. I don't want to make that phone call to my family that things aren't going well. Most of all, I don't want cystic fibrosis to win.

Doctor's appointments are one thing but "bad" doctor's appointments are another...especially when you have a terminal disease which is what cystic fibrosis is. Negative appointments are tough to get over. The last time I was there my doctor wanted me back 2 weeks later. That's so frustrating. It's as if the appointment didn't count. I have to go right back. Does that tell me that the doctor is concerned? Does that mean my doctors appointments will become even more frequent? Does that mean I better start liking the hospital cafeteria food? I can't speak for the first two but heck no on the third one. It used to be that I worried about my own welfare but now I'm more concerned for Andrea and the kids. I just want to be able to contribute my share. It's tough enough when Avery asks me why I always have to do my therapy or when Ethan asks why I have to spit in the toilet. I wish I was "normal" but I also know that because of CF I have the ability to help others. Still there's nothing like having a disease like CF. I have seen or heard of people my age and younger succumbing to this disease. Granted, I'm fortunate with my health compared to most but I wouldn't be human if those lost relationships didn't affect me negatively.

How am I feeling?

I feel like I'm getting stronger. My workouts have reflected my increasing stamina. That doesn't always mean my pulmonary function tests will reflect that. Still, I remember the advice my old doctor the late Lindy Wolfenden used to give me. Don't let what's on paper affect you. If you feel good, that's the most important thing. I suppose she meant "Mind over matter."

Dr. Wolfenden

How am I feeling MENTALLY?

That's just as important as the question about my physical health. You can't have one without the other when it comes to CF. I feel relatively confident that tomorrow will go well. Still, I have the worst case scenario in the back of my mind in order to prepare myself to contend with my depression if the appointment does not go well. I've had really bad appointments where all of a sudden my mind went to complete darkness and I could picture myself dying then, having no memory of the past or present and just disappearing from everyone's memories. It's a pretty disturbing feeling. I don't want that feeling to return. I think since I've started seeing a regular therapist, psychiatrist and been involved with a sponsor, I've been less likely to experience these episodes.

My appointment is at 8am tomorrow morning so please keep me in your thoughts and prayers and help me achieve a good score on the pulmonary function tests. I always choose one picture for motivation when I take as deep of a breath as I can in the tube and then exhale. I usually don't reveal it to anyone but I'll share it with you today.

This is from Sea World in December.

I also choose a song in my head to fire me up. It's usually the same one. Most of you will be surprised to know that it's not "Eye of the Tiger." It's from another 80's movie though. Here you go...

Motivated yet?

I am ready to kick some serious ASS!

Wish me luck! Thank you for reading.


Doctors can measure my lungs BUT they can never measure the size of my heart.

10 things I've learned from Bowl Games

10. Directional schools should never be allowed to be in BCS games. See NORTHERN Illinois.

9. If a team loses by more than 40 points, they should be given a one-year bowl ban. See Purdue who played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl though they showed no heart.

8. There are way too many meaningless bowls. Just put together a 16 team tournament with the top 16 teams in the country. Ratings will go crazy and we won't have to watch Mississippi State play Northwestern anymore.

7. I want to come up with some new names for bowls with horrible match-ups: Kent State vs. UTEP in the Home Depot Toilet Bowl on ESPN 8 the Ocho.

6. I think there should be a non-televised bowl that pits the 2 best teams on probation. And they should play at Alcatraz. It's Miami, Florida vs. Ohio State live from Alcatraz in the U.S. Bail Bonds Bowl. The loser gets another year of probation. That adds the excitement even though you can't watch the game.

5. Alaska should get a bowl game and it should be the 2 most undeserving teams that go. Maybe Prairie View A&M vs. Texas A&M - Corpus Christie.

4. If a team is in the Top 10 but does not get in a BCS Bowl, they should be able to choose the bowl they go to and the team they play. It's the Georgia Bulldogs and the Kansas City Chiefs live from Honalulu. Georgia is a 2 point favorite.

3. The National Championship game should automatically have a spot for the SEC Champion until someone finally beats an SEC team in the title game.

2. I think all of the bowls should be on the same day like the old days. Spreading out the games is not exciting at all.

1. And the number one thing I learned from watching the bowl games this year is that none of them matter except for one and that's just sad. Can't wait for the playoff system!!!