Skip to main content

End of semester update

The past few weeks have been rough.

I got a cold about 3 weeks ago. No big deal, right? I hadn't gotten a cold in 10 months, which is basically a record for me. Surely my body could fight a cold off. Boy, was I wrong. After a week of fighting the cold, I started running a high fever and felt like a truck had run me over. I finally called the doctor for some reinforcements and started on an oral antibiotic and a course of steroids. Meanwhile, my school semester had just picked up, and I was down to the last 2 weeks of school. I had to finish a research paper, take 2 finals, write a final progress report for my practicum, and give really good, productive therapy. After 4 days on the antibiotic and steroids (Monday with one week of school left), I still was feeling crummy. I checked my oxygen and noticed that it was low--running at about 90-94%. I'm pretty positive the cold had turned into pneumonia. Even walking from my bedroom to my living room made me winded. It took me two-three times as long to get ready in the morning because I kept having to sit down to breathe. Even the act of showering was exhausting. I increased my number of breathing treatments to 4-5 a day instead of 3 a day. And then, I forced myself to walk at least once an hour. It was physically draining. My schedule went as follows: get up, do a breathing treatment, walk, get ready, do a breathing treatment, go to class, do a breathing treatment, walk, rest, do a breathing treatment, sleep.  My apartment is on the third floor, so I stretched my lungs by walking up 39 steps. By the time I got to the top, I was coughing up a storm. By Wednesday, 6 days into the antibiotics, my oxygen was running a little higher (about 94-96%), but I was still very short of breath. On Friday, I checked my PFTs with my at home PFT machine. My lung function was down to 45% (my baseline is between 58-60%), and I had lost 5 or 6 pounds because my body was having to work so hard to breathe. That obviously is a pretty sucky number, but I was starting to feel a little better, and I knew I could push myself to work harder. By Monday, the last day of classes and the day I took my last final, my PFTs were up to 51%. Now, 5 days later and 15 days into the antibiotic and steroids, I'm feeling much more like myself than I did 3 weeks ago. I finally have more energy, and I'm not nearly as short of breath. My PFTs are still lower than I would like them to be, but I'm not giving up yet. I am starting on IV antibiotics at the beginning of August, so my lungs will have an extra little boost. Until then, I am planning to continue exercising and pushing myself to help my lungs expand.

I could not have made it these last 3 weeks of school without a few very important people. First, my mom came up and stayed with me for a few days. She helped me cook, clean, and exercise. She truly is a rockstar. She could've been at home doing things she needed to do, but instead she dropped everything to help me so I could finish my semester strong. Secondly, my boyfriend Eric has been incredible. He has taken on my cf responsibilities willingly and always jumped up to help me however he could. When you're dating someone with cf, you don't always get to be fun and adventurous--sometimes you just have to stay home and watch Netflix while you do breathing treatments and wash nebs and walk slowly around the apartment complex. Eric was incredibly helpful and kind, and I am truly blessed. Thirdly, my twin sister Katie drove an hour to hang out with me at my apartment the day I was feeling the worst. She is always so protective of me, and I know she would do anything for me. Finally, I couldn't have made it without my grad school friends, who helped me stay up to date on class work and practicum. They were willing to take notes for me and made sure I knew what was going on in class. For that, I am so grateful.

Here's to 4 more weeks of rest, exercise, and relaxation! CF is always quite the adventure. Even a cold can turn things on its head. But I have the best support system, and I am so incredibly thankful.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CF Walk Letter 2018

Dear friends and family,
I hope this letter finds you doing well! My life looks pretty different this year from last year. In May, I graduated with my master’s in communication sciences and disorders. I started working as a speech-language pathologist in June for a company called SpeechCare, and in July, Eric and I got married. That was a very busy couple months! I love my job; I work mainly with adults with intellectual and/or social disabilities to help improve their communication skills. My clients bring me so much joy! I love being able to help them communicate better with others. Eric and I are also loving being married. Living with Cystic Fibrosis has taught us to never take the time we’re given for granted, and we are making sure we soak up all the moments we’re given and go on plenty of fun adventures. 
My health has been a bit of a struggle in the past few years. I had a round of IV antibiotics in May and then again in September and January. I will be starting IVs within the ne…

The day that was yesterday

Wow. What a day yesterday was. Here’s what happened:
At around 4:45, my hand became numb and tingly. Because I’m a knowledgeable SLP, my first thought was “oh my gosh I’m having a stroke”. Although the numbness was my first (and only) symptom, it was so bizarre how my hand just all of a sudden lost feeling in it. About 5-7 minutes into the numbness sensation, it started traveling up my arm and reached about midway up my forearm. Due to my history of a PE and being on Amicar (a blood clotter) right now because of a lung bleed, pretty much the only option was to go to the ER. I called CF clinic, and they confirmed that I should head over there. The ER is the most disgusting place, especially in the middle of cold and flu season. They also apparently have never heard of CF protocol because I had to demand to be put back in a room immediately and for everyone who came in my room to be gowned, masked, and gloved. From the beginning to the end of the 5 hour ER stay, it was pretty disastrous.…

Thankful in the hard times

With a disease like cystic fibrosis, it can be easy to get lost in all the pain, fear, and frustrations and lose sight of what we have to be thankful for. This year has been rough. I started the year with a blood clot, quickly followed by increasing worry about the state of health care in America, all while losing a significant amount of lung function and dealing with way too many lung bleeds. However, no matter how hard the year, I believe it’s always important to reflect on the many blessings we have been given. It’s too easy to wallow in self-pity and pain otherwise. So this post is dedicated to just that—thanking God for all He has given me. 
I’m thankful for... My new husband ❤️. As I’ve said before, many CFers wonder if they will ever find someone who will choose to love them day in and day out with all the stresses that come with cystic fibrosis. Being the spouse of someone with CF is not for the weak or faint of heart. My husband has taken a crash course in medical terms, health…