Friday, January 31, 2014

Disappointing but not discouraging

I don't usually write so many posts in one week but since I had my doctor's appointment this morning, I'm going to go ahead and write another.

The appointment was disappointing but not discouraging. My numbers were down about 6 points so my doctor will check my sputum culture and decide what antibiotics I need to be on. Winter is notorious for being the toughest time for me anyway. I'm also going to change how I do my TOBI Podhaler to see if that increases my numbers.

Like I said, I'm disappointed but in no way discouraged. I'll continue to work hard in the gym and do what I have to do to beat this disease. There are a lot of battles in the war against CF and today my body lost BUT my mind won. I still have a positive outlook and look forward to going back in 3 months and showing those doctors what Andy Lipman is all about.

A long time ago I wanted to be this guy...

I haven't given up on that dream just yet!

Don't worry about me. I will continue to fight and some day I will win.

Thanks for listening.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow-Pocolypse 2014

Tuesday night was absolutely the craziest driving day I've ever encountered. We joke about Atlanta drivers when snow hits but this was absolute chaos. I watched as people abandoned their cars on the side of the road. My commute home is normally 40 minutes. On Tuesday, it was 400 minutes (six and a half hours). I'm a southerner born and raised but snow doesn't scare me nor does ice. I've driven in both many times. Still what happened in Atlanta a few days ago was like a scene from "The Day After Tomorrow." Everyone was losing their minds. People were calling radio shows with stories of commutes of 8 hours plus and how they were losing their minds. School buses were still dropping kids off at 7 o'clock at night. People were handing out food to motorists whose cars were either stuck on the ice or who had run out of fuel.

The scariest part for me was that I didn't have the choice of staying at someone's house. I had to get home to do my therapy. That's all I could think about. Fortunately I had enough gas and I was given a great shortcut by mom that probably saved me at least an hour. Thanks Mom! I haven't ever seen that many blue lights flashing in Atlanta. There were tons of accidents. I probably witnessed at least a dozen. There was a bright side too. There were a lot of good samaritans out there. People offered their homes to those who needed places to stay. We actually took a family in too. People were handing out food on the side of the road. I saw strangers helping strangers push their cars off of the ice. It was refreshing in many ways.

What has this storm taught us in Atlanta? Probably not much. We probably need a better mass transit system that can reach the suburbs instead of mainly the city. We don't have the equipment to handle a storm like this nor should we spend the money to do so since storms like this occur every 3 to 5 years. I do believe that every kid should learn how to drive on ice when taking their driver's test and maybe adults need to get recertified too. We have over 6 million people in this city and they all left for home around the same time and that was another problem. I wish that our mayor, who quite frankly does not have the ability outside of the metropolitan area, had the authority to tell everyone when they could leave for home. The schools should have left first.

Thank goodness Tuesday is over but it sucks being the laughing stock of the country. Perhaps we'll be ready next time but I doubt it. I know this. If aliens wreak havoc, they'll probably want to start in Atlanta. Chaos is guaranteed especially if they have a little white powder that they can pour from the sky for a few hours.

I hope everyone got home safe on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Enjoy the Super Bowl.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What's up Doc?

I'm heading to the doctor this Friday.

The picture above is what came up under Google when I typed in doctor.

This is what I envision though.

I return to the doctor after a 12-week absence. I'm hoping the news will be good. Last time, my numbers went up a little but they still weren't at my baseline. I've gained a few more pounds (mostly muscle) as my doctor advised. The thing about cystic fibrosis though is it doesn't care if you're as positive as Tony Robbins or as muscular as Hulk Hogan. All it cares about is destroying your lungs and your digestive system. I have been working my tail off the last 6 months including using a personal trainer for 3 months. Every morning, I am now jumping rope 100 times, running from 4.0 to 8.0 on the treadmill and working out with weights. On Sunday, I don't lift weights but I still work out my abs, run and jump rope. God may rest on Sunday but people with cystic fibrosis can't afford to.

I have a few other reasons to stay healthy.

I can always tell when my appointment is coming up. I'm a lot moodier during the week and this week is no exception as Andrea and the kids will probably attest to. I think it's just my fighter's mentality that is coming out. I work out a lot harder the week of my appointment as well. I constantly question if there is anything I'm not doing that I could be doing to improve my lung function. The answer I'm sure is always yes but I feel I get the most out of myself in the 24 hours I get everyday.

The truth is that I'm not perfect although I sometimes hold myself to that standard. I did eliminate gummy bears from my diet but I still eat M&M's. I wish I could work out more than 30 minutes a day but with my 40-minute long therapy treatments twice a day, I can't afford an entire hour to work out.

I'm very good about doing my treatments and taking my pills. I'm on a streak that would make Cal Ripken, Jr. proud.

Yeah, but let's see you put on a vest for 80 minutes a day Cal.

I know that there is a chance I'll go in on Friday and the doctor will give me bad news. I am doing my pulmonary function tests and probably having my blood drawn for my glucose test to see if I have CF-related diabetes (CFRD). Preparing myself for bad news does not insinuate that I have a negative outlook. That's just the reality with having this disease. Still I know that I'm doing everything in my power to stay strong especially during this season which is typically when I'm at my worst healthwise. This freezing weather is not helping things. I know that with cystic fibrosis, and pardon the pun, that I'll always have a puncher's chance.

Avery said something that I posted on Facebook the other day that nearly had me in tears. I told her I couldn't make her school service Friday morning in which her class is leading. She told me "It's okay. It's more important that you go to the doctor and stay healthy so you can make more of these things." Before you think she's the sweetest child in the world, she also said something else the other day when someone asked where she got her blonde hair from. I said that I had blonde hair. Avery said, "I didn't get it from you. You have a lot of gray hair. I don't have gray hair." Little does she know she caused some of that gray hair and I'm sure she'll cause a lot more when she's a teenager.

By the way, who was the overall champ in the 7 and under gymnastics this past weekend? This girl. That's who. Sorry I have to brag as a proud father.

Avery Lipman - gymnastics star!

Regardless of what the doctors tell me on Friday, I'll continue to work hard, stay regimented and take the advice of my physicians. Most importantly, I will continue to live my life and be grateful for every moment that I get on this earth. My life isn't easy but there are tons of other people in this world that deal with far worse. I am blessed to have Andrea, the kids, my parents, my sister and a great group of friends and family.

T-minus 69 hours till I walk through Emory's doors.

Ring the damn bell!


Friday, January 10, 2014

An update on my life

Winter is here and it is cold! Record low temperatures right now in Atlanta but things should warm up this weekend. I'm sure people in the Northeast and Midwest will make fun of us as a lot of schools were closed on Wednesday. Were they closed for ice all over the roads? No. Extreme snow? No. Any snow? No. We closed them due to frigid temperatures. Relax, I went to work so don't characterize me as one of those snow-fearing Atlantans.

It feels this cold minus the snow!

So it's winter time and I'm still trying to be positive. I'm trying to focus less on the cold conditions and more on the positive things going on around me. Avery continues to kick butt at gymnastics (picture below). Occasionally I pick her up from gymnastics practice so I get to watch the tail end of her practices. I can't believe the kind of shape she's in. I also try to go to all of her meets. I'm really proud of her because she's extremely self-motivated. The girl is more flexible than a rubber band.

She's a beast (I mean that in a positive way not in the Alec Baldwin sort of way)!

Ethan continues to enjoy basketball. The kid has an interesting scoring line through 4 games. 0 points, 8 points, 8 points, 0 points. I guess he's all or nothing like his dad.

If only the Atlanta Hawks had him, Philips Arena would be sold out every night.

Andrea is doing great as well. She has done an awesome job turning our new house into an actual home. We hung about 100 pictures the other day. I'm beginning to regret all of the sports memorabilia I've collected over the years.

It's still winter and regardless of how positive I am, there are moments when I get down. The important thing is that I recognize these moments and I make sense of them. My health is a little bit on the downturn. I'm currently on two antibiotics after just finishing my TOBI. The new TOBI podhaler I use saves me about 70 minutes a day of treatment time every other month HOWEVER I find it much more difficult to use. I tend to cough more when I'm on it and breathing the powder in is like nothing I have ever experienced. It's almost like swallowing a bug except I know it's coming and swallowing a bug is a bit more disgusting. Still I have to admit that I look really good. That's not a vain thing. That's not bragging and if it is sobeit. That's a pride thing. I've worked really hard. I'm up from 165 to 170 now and I now have a real 6-pack (one that's not in my fridge). My goal is to stay between 170 and 175.

Work is going well. For the 3rd consecutive year, DiversiTech had it best sales year ever. We are now in the Top 60 private businesses in Atlanta. As great as my job is (I'm the purchasing director by the way), I'm starting to think about what I want to do outside of DiversiTech. I love speaking and speak to benefit the Wish for Wendy Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation about a dozen times during the year. I am now starting to seek paid gigs and start a new business outside of the foundation. I'm still in the early stages of this but I already have some leads. I also thought about being a standup comedian but to be honest I am not sure being funny as a profession is for me. I am more corny as many of my friends will attest. My jokes are not that creative.

I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions however I would like to work on being more fiscally savvy this year. I feel like that has always been one of my weaknesses. I don't spend a lot of money however I also don't invest it very well either. I'm already in the process of changing that.

Softball is over. I was thrilled that our team took home another title a few weeks ago. It's good to have a break though and I can focus on attending the kids' sporting events.

I'm starting to work on a new event at Wish for Wendy. Thanks to Ray Shelor (the grill master from DiversiTech), Andy Auchmuty and Peachtree Packaging, we are having our first ever Wish for Wendy Home Run Derby sponsored by Peachtree Packaging this fall. We are really excited about it but I'm still working out the details so it's not only fun but brings in a lot of money to help cure cystic fibrosis.

Join the hit parade!

I hope that all of you had a Happy New Year and that 2014 brings you many celebrations.

Best Wishes,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

25 predictions for 2014

I was reading how some people put $100 to $200 bets on Auburn to win the national title before the season with 450 to 1 odds. All of them came close to winning some serious cash. I thought "What are 25 things for 2014 that I would definitely bet on if Vegas took any bet?" Well, here you go:

25. Taylor Swift will write another song about another ex-boyfriend who hurt her feelings.

24. There will not be a single sports title amongst the 3 Atlanta pro teams (if you want to include the Dream, 4) and at least one of those teams will lose in heartbreaking fashion.

23. Dancing with the Stars will feature a few stars but most people we've never heard of.

22. Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox will not have a job by May.

21. Justin Bieber will un-retire and will say it's because the fans wanted him back.

20. Miley Cyrus will do something controversial.

19. Paul Rudd will star in multiple movies.

18. A politician will have an affair that gets ugly.

17. Peyton Manning will endorse something new.

16. A former child star will go to rehab.

15. The Chicago Cubs will not win the World Series.

14. Roger Federer will not win a grand slam in 2014.

13. The Kardashians will be on at least 60% of magazine covers at your local grocery store.

12. Tiger Woods will win a Major.

11. Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn will get engaged.

10. Someone will claim to have found Big Foot but will have no proof.

9. A celebrity will come out with a sex tape.

8. Derek Jeter will announce that 2015 will be his final season.

7. Jennifer Anniston will find the mirror.

6. This year's "The Bachelor" will be the most controversial season EVER per Chris Harrison.

5. Tony Gonzalez will return to the Falcons with a few games left to go after one last shot at a ring. They will fail.

4. Charlie Sheen will lose his kids and get them back.

3. There will be a re-make of a classic movie and it will suck.

2. Juan Pablo will propose on "The Bachelor" but they will be broken up by Dec 31, 2014.

1. And the number one thing I'd bet on in 2014, none of you will make a comment on this blog entry. Ha Ha! (If someone does, I reserve the right to change number 1).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 25 things I didn't know until I started watching The Disney Channel with my kids

Here are the Top 25 things I learned now that I watch the Disney Channel and listen to Radio Disney with my kids:

25. Ariana Grande is not a new meal at Taco Bell...but it sounds delicious!

24. Austin and Ally is not a spin-off of Kate and Allie.

23. Austin Mahone (Disney Pop Star) is not the star of Austin and Ally.

22. There is actually a guy on Dog with A Blog who was at my Bar Mitzvah. Hi Adam Kulbersh!

21. A.N.T. Farm has nothing to do with Animal Planet...and neither does Dog with A Blog or Fish Hooks for that matter.

20. Though Justin Bieber just retired, he is not old...though his antics are.

19. I can have a song written about me. All I have to do is date Taylor Swift.

18. R5 is not a new car model.

17. Good Luck Charlie is not Charlie Sheen's new reality show nor is it a letter from Denise Richards addressed to Mr. Sheen.

16. The Wizards of Waverly Place has nothing to do with Harry Potter.

15. Radio Disney is not a place to hear "It's a Small World After All."

14. Bella Thorne is not a type of flower.

13. Teen Beach Movie is the equivalant of "The Christmas Story" on Christmas Day on TBS. It's on ALL THE TIME!

It's probably on as we speak.

12. There is only one 30-minute show centered around Mickey Mouse who in my opinion IS Disney.

11. Miley Cyrus was once a sweet innocent girl.

10. If you wanted to see what Gary Coleman's Arnold Jackson character from Diff'rent Strokes would look like if played by a girl watch Zuri from Jessie.

9. If you want to see Saved by the Bell for this generation, watch "Austin and Ally."

Sorry Zach Morris!

8. If you like irony, watch Shake It Up because the show never actually does "shake it up." It's the same plotline every episode.

7. If your kid likes to be called by their first middle and last name (ie: China Anne McLain or Bradley Steven Perry), they will either be a serial killer or a star on the Disney Channel. I'm not sure which is worse.

6. Frenemies is actually the name of a movie. I am now sending ideas to Disney as we speak. Check out my new shows "Athleticouch-potatoes", "Courag-Just scared", and bash-full of life".

5. If you have a show idea which features a smart young kid, a not-so-smart older kid, happy-go-lucky parents and an animal that talks, call 1-800-WDISNEY. You'll move to the front of the line.

4. If you ever wondered what it would be like to combine "Diff'rent Strokes", "Mr. Belvedere" and "The Nanny", tune into "Jessie."

3. Liv & Maddie is a show about 2 twins who are nothing alike but they are played by the same person - Dove Cameron. This is the exact opposite of Full House where 2 sisters (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) played the same girl (Michelle Tanner). I just hope Dove Cameron makes half the money the Olsen twins did.

2. There is actually a guy on Jessie who was at my Bar Mitzvah. Hi Adam Kulbersh! (Yeah, same guy, but I have to get to 25 here).

He saw me become a man 27 years ago!

1. And the top thing I've learned from watching the Disney Channel and listening to Radio Disney is my kids have me wrapped around their little fingers!