Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter is almost here...but that's not going to stop me!

It's been a while since I've written a blog. October and November were crazy as we were in the midst of a move PLUS we had Wish for Wendy which raised about $325K for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 14 years, we have now raised approximately $1.9 million. I'm pretty proud of that number because it's going to go a long way towards finding a cure for this disease.

Thanks everyone!

It's always tough for me to blog this time of year as winter (though it's still a week and a half from officially being winter) is a very difficult season for me.

"Why?" you ask.

First off, it is very cold (even in the south) and cold weather affects those of us with cystic fibrosis. My lungs take a beating this time of year and therefore I've had some of my worst pulmonary function results and bacterial infections during December, January and February.

Due mostly to my CF issues, I have experienced major bouts of depression in the winter. I tend to have these moments when I think about being in a dark coffin for eternity and being erased from everyone's minds. There's a part of me who thinks I'm being ridiculous and another part of me that is frightened by those very thoughts and how true they could be.

My sister Wendy died in the winter. Granted, I never met her but it was this season growing up that I could tell was a lot more difficult for my mom to handle. I can't even imagine what she and my dad had to go through.

I also can't stand the time change which means I wake up in the dark and I come home from work in the dark. For someone who loves to play outdoor sports, this is not a pleasant feeling.

Baseball season is over and by now usually all of my sports teams have let me down. This year is no exception. I know that seems silly but the Braves are a very big part of my life. They got me through some really tough times both as a child and an adult. No matter how bad things got, I could always turn on TBS at 7:35pm after an episode of Sanford and Son and there would be Skip and Pete to tell me about the pitching matchups.

Winter despair

To prevent depression from filling my mind with desperate thoughts, I am working my tail off in the gym this year. I started with a trainer a few months ago and can really see a difference. I've put on about 5 pounds of muscle and my cardio has increased drastically. I went from not being able to do the jump rope 50 times to doing 3 sets of 50 and sometimes a couple of sets of 75. I was doing the treadmill at a speed of 4.0 and now I'm up to 7.0. I'm doing two sets of 20 pullups a piece twice a week. I'm doing 10 sets of stairs once a week (up and down) and lifting more weight than I have since college.

Working out = Beating depression

The other day I had my Mr. Myagi moment when Daniel catches the fly with chopsticks. We were at the end of our workout and my trainer laughs when I wanted to try and do dips on the rings. She said one of their trainers who was a gymnast in college has been practicing for weeks and can now do one dip. I said I could try it. Seeing her mouth open in shock was priceless as I did 5.

I caught the fly!

I'm still playing softball for another few weeks as the playoffs are starting. After that, I am not participating in any sports other than taking Ethan to basketball on the weekends. Still I walk the dog most mornings and run on the treadmill every morning prior to doing the jump rope 60 times.

My next doctor's appointment is in February and I don't want to be doing OK. I always worry about doing OK. Not anymore. I am slowly becoming the old fiery Andy. I want to shock the doctors. I want to shock the statistics, the so-called experts and anyone who thinks they know what my lung function should do. I always hear that as I get older my PFTs will decline. My opinion is to be EXCEPTIONAL you have to believe that you can be the exception. I do believe that and I will continue to work my butt off until I prove them all wrong. My lung function is currently around 84%. The doctors want me to be between 82 and 87% in February. I want to be 90%. I know it's not realistic but neither was making it to my 40th birthday and here I am!

That's my goal!

I am trying to look positively as winter arrives. This February my daughter turns 8, my son is in his first basketball league and Andrea and I will soon be at 5,000 days together (It's April 20th for those of you keeping track).

So in summary, my health is vastly improved, my outlook is increasingly positive and I'm ready to shock the world come February.

Seasons greetings to all.



  1. I always get bummed in the winter months, I like to jog oustide. I hate the dark, I have horrible night vision. Which = me not leaving the house after 5pm. I love that you work out to stay postive. I work on craft/DIY projects ,well and blog. Nice lung function. I'm keeping mine around 58-62% I'd love to get to 70% eventually. your fellow CF Blogger, Cheriz (