I have happy things to report today! First an update on Operation Lace Up. Last night I reached my goal of running two miles without stopping! I consolidated the first five weeks of the Couch to 5K because I wanted to complete the two-mile run before my follow-up pulmonary appointment. A good friend of mine came over and ran the two miles with me. It was the hottest day of the year so far (a high of 90 degrees) but we ran around 8:00pm and it felt surprisingly pleasant. I was able to complete the two miles in about 27.5 minutes (roughly a 13 minute 45 second per mile pace) which I was very pleased with! My friend just ran a marathon a few weeks ago at a much faster pace, so I’m pretty sure it was more of a stretch for me than her, but she was kind enough to break a sweat at least 😉 It was so great to have her support!
Today I had my pulmonary appointment. I’ve had a few moments of anxiety about this appointment the past few weeks. Even though I’m feeling great with low levels of congestion and (relatively) high levels of energy and activity, I was worried about that cantankerous FEV1 score. I was hoping to see a gain but my scores don’t always correlate with how I’m functioning. This morning I woke up feeling peaceful with a verse from the Psalms running on repeat through my head:
“She will have no fear of bad news, her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Her heart is secure, she will have no fear; in the end she will look in triumph on her foes.” Psalm 112:6-8.
What blessed assurance!
Then my phone started blowing up. At first I wasn’t sure what was happening. I got one text with a photo, than another, than another. You see, unbeknownst to me, Jaime had purchased some “breathe” bracelets from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and offered them to family and friends to wear as a show of support and solidarity. People started sending me pictures of themselves wearing the bands, saying they were thinking of me and praying for me this morning since it was my appointment day. I didn’t have any time to worry because I spent all morning overwhelmed and moved by the amazing show of love and support.
I carried that joy with me into my appointment and scored a 42 on my FEV1! That is an eight point gain from five weeks ago and boy, I was thrilled. During my exam my lungs sounded clear, my oxygen saturation was normal, and my doctor was extremely pleased with the improvement in my symptoms and my increased exercise tolerance. I’ll go back in 6-8 weeks for another check. They will be monitoring me more closely as long as I’m taking the anti-fungal drug. I hope to see more healing take place in the next few months and hope to see my FEV1 get back to my baseline of 49 (or surpass it!).
I’ve mentioned before that a lot of good has come from the presence of cystic fibrosis in my life. Today was a day overflowing with blessings that come only from this struggle. Fighting a tough battle like I did this winter with my health and experiencing victory is a spectacular feeling. Setting and reaching reasonable exercise goals in spite of a compromised body feels fantastic too. Physically, running is hard and not enjoyable. But persevering through the challenge is exhilarating. I thank God for the strength He gives me to press on.
Being on the receiving end of extravagant love and support from family and friends is also an amazing, moving experience. Jaime commented that I have a lot of people who love me and care for me and that are in my corner. And it’s true. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family and many loving friends. In case you didn’t know, the phrase “in my corner” comes from boxing. The cornerman is a teammate or a coach who assists the fighter during the match. They stand back from the battle, in the corner of the ring, and help the boxer with the fight through coaching, advice, instruction and encouragement. They can’t throw punches or get right in the fray, but because of their proximity, they provide invaluable help and support to the fighter.
It’s the same with my cystic fibrosis. I’m the only one who can actually fight my battle. No one else can do the dirty work for me. But my loved ones stand in close proximity to me and help me through my battles by reaching out with love, with prayer, with help, and with the encouragement I need to keep up the good fight. I know for certain I could not do this alone. So thank you friends and family for being in my corner, in the ring with me, experiencing the bitter moments of frustration and defeat as well as the sweet moments of triumph and victory. Thank you being God’s dispensers of grace, and love, and strength. Thank you for crowding my corner.