I headed back to the doctor at the end of last week for a recheck after a great appointment two weeks ago. My lung function (FEV1) had come back up eight points while I was still feeling pretty sick, so I was excited and hopeful that I would see another gain now that I’m feeling so much better. Instead of a gain, my score was back down six points, to 34. Remember when I called the FEV1 a fickle fiend? Well, that’s why. Oh the frustration.
There is really no good explanation for this drop or for why that number stays so low while my symptoms and stamina improve. Recovering from serious viruses does take time and with that in mind, my doctor hopes that over the next weeks and months we will see my lung function climb back up. In the meantime, the only thing left untreated in all this is a mold called aspergillus which grew out of my lung culture. It has been there before, but has never appeared to cause problems for me, so I’ve never taken medication for it. At this point, however, it is the last thing to try. Yesterday I started on what will be a three-month course of an anti-fungal drug to see if that will improve my lung function. The drug comes with a lengthy list of nasty side effects so we shall see if I’m able to tolerate it and finish out the course.
I’m sure you can imagine how discouraging this all is. I want to see that improvement so badly but so far my efforts and the treatments have not yielded that jump we need. But the good news is that I am still feeling much better than I was, 34 or not. I have resumed my normal life and am handling it well overall, although I’m requiring more sleep and rest. Last week I was even able to start exercising again. Welcome back, Operation Lace Up! I walked a mile and half at a 14-minute mile pace (pushing Lucas) twice, and the third time even tolerated a combination of jogging and walking at that pace (without Lucas). I’m hoping to restart the official “Couch to 5K” program yet this week.
I’m asking God to raise my FEV1, because He can surely do it even when my efforts and treatment options fall short. In the meantime I’m pressing on. I’m committed to living the life I’ve been called to with whatever health and strength I’ve been given and with joy in my heart. After all, 34 is just a number. It does not define me.
When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall
When the choices are hard
When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources
When we’ve given our all
In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
(song lyrics by Dan Burgess)
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14