If At First You Don’t Succeed

Standard

Well, I have been putting off this post for quite some time.

A couple months back I wrote about a promise I made to Betsy. Knowing how much of a drag running had become for her, I pledged to run every day that she ran. It was meant to be an act of solidarity. It was meant to encourage her, to make her feel like she wasn’t the only one drudging through something unpleasant.

“What a good husband!” they said.

“What a noble gesture!” they proclaimed.

Well, I failed.

I started off well enough. It was May, the weather was great, and Betsy was really knocking it out of the park. I was feeling really inspired and motivated by wife’s unrelenting will. She didn’t enjoy it but there she was, out hitting the pavement or revving up the treadmill day after day. And so was I. On occasion I missed a run but I always made it up the next day.

Then came August and the start of the soccer season.

Suddenly I was busy coaching and I started to miss a day here and a day there. Before I knew it I “owed” Betsy four or five runs. She graciously offered me the opportunity to hit the reset button and start over. I declined. I thought I could catch up. I would just go every day the next week and I would be all square. But I didn’t. One week turned into two. And before I knew it I was going to have go running every day for the next two months in order to match Betsy’s total.

I suppose there were a few somewhat legitimate excuses but in the end they were really just excuses. Exactly the sort of excuses that Betsy can’t afford to make. I’ve gone from feeling like a failure to feeling like a complete loser. In the classic 1990s movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Robin of Locksley’s loyal companion, Azeem, suggests that “there are no perfect men, only perfect intentions.” I guess he has a point.

Picture2

It’s hard to argue with a man that carries a sword like that.

So I am getting back on the horse. I suppose I could go on about how I plan to stay on track and how this time will be different but when it comes down to it, actions speak louder than words. And I have to get to running! So I’ll just leave you with the wise words of William Edward Hickson:

‘Tis a lesson you should heed,

Try, try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try, try again.

SnueatO

Juuuust kidding!

Advertisements

Progress

Standard

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Betsy’s blog. She’s had a few weightier things to write about recently, and we thought it would be a good time to lighten the mood with a Lucas diet update! Back in June I wrote about our attempts to wean Lucas off of baby food. It’s really hard to believe that less than six months ago his diet consisted mostly of pureéd fruits and vegetables and liquefied chicken mixed with various baby cereals. A lot has changed since then and we’ve learned a lot about our boy in the process!

Lucas eats a lot of different foods.  He eats grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken quesadillas, cheeseburgers, beef empanadas, homemade chicken nuggets, pizza, kale chips, apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, peas, corn, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, avocado, broccoli, tomatoes, graham crackers…oh, and pancakes. That’s a pretty substantial list! We were worried that Lucas’s diet might not be as healthy after he transitioned to solid foods but so far that has not been the case. Grilled cheese is still his favorite!

It's a bird, it's a plane...no, it's Lucas eating a cheeseburger with a side of banana and cucumbers!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s Lucas eating a cheeseburger with a side of banana and cucumbers!

Gardening helps. Over the summer Betsy planted a garden and Lucas got really into it and helped water the plants and harvest the produce. His willingness to try something new seemed to increase if he had just picked it. His favorite? Kale! Betsy used to mix it into his “green” pureé but now Lucas prefers it in crunchy, chip-form.

So do Bubble Guppies. Bubble Guppies is one of Lucas’s favorite kid shows. There was an episode recently where the Guppies go to “Fruit Camp”and participate in a race with obstacles (i.e. trying new foods) along the way. Gil earns a point for the team by eating a carrot. Then Deema is faced with the last and most difficult obstacle: broccoli. She hesitates at first but tries it and finds that it’s “delicious!” Well, that was enough for Lucas to ask for some broccoli too. I’m not sure if he really likes it or if he only likes it because the Bubble Guppies like it. Either way, he’s added another healthy vegetable to his diet and, unfortunately, so have I.

Thanks a lot, Deema.

Thanks a lot, Deema.

Texture still matters. There have been some real head scratchers along the way. We experimented with some pretty tried and true kid favorites like macaroni and cheese and ravioli but Lucas really didn’t go for them. Strange because what kid doesn’t like macaroni and cheese? It turns out that he didn’t like the texture. Too rubbery? I’m not sure exactly. But the good thing is at age four we were able to have a conversation about it and we agreed that if he tried some other foods, we could replace ravioli with something that he liked better!

Appearance matters too. We’ve still had the occasional meltdown over food. A month or so ago Betsy and Lucas had come with me to a soccer game and we decided to go out for pizza afterwards. I was thrilled. For the longest time I had just wanted to have the freedom to leave the house and not worry about packing an entire meal of baby food to take with us. Lucas was excited too…until the pizza arrived. It had a much thicker crust than he was used to. It wasn’t quite deep dish but still it was different enough for him to deem it “not pizza”. After a lot of patience (from Betsy) and persuading (also Betsy) he did eat some of it. Since then we have limited our patronage to pizza joints that have a hand tossed crust option on the menu. 🙂

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (again!). Lucas has absolutely no sweet tooth, just like his mother. Despite my best efforts, Lucas has zero interest in cookies, donuts, cake, or candy. For his birthday, I went all out and made a cake decorated with his favorite farm animals. I even made a frosting barn! Lucas admired the artwork but wanted nothing to do with eating it. Betsy was no help either. So I ate the whole thing myself (I’m not sure whether to feel proud or ashamed). One of Lucas’s little friends from church got him to try a cookie after the service one Sunday. He gave it the old college try but after a couple of bites he gave it to me to finish. He really doesn’t like sweets.

11873494_10207292005487953_3943589714524135772_n

My masterpiece: The Barnyard.

Traditions. The town I grew up in is about 15 minutes away from where we live now. There is a bakery in that town that is famous for its fresh baked German soft pretzels. They only make them on Saturdays. Lucas really likes his carbs and so one Saturday not too long ago I was determined to see if he would try a pretzel. He also likes salty things (just like his mother) so I thought it might work. Well, he was hooked after one bite. And it’s now become a weekly ritual. It’s great because it gives Betsy a chance to sleep in, Lucas and I have a fun morning out just the two of us, and then we all have soft pretzels as a late breakfast when we get home. We have the leftovers for breakfast on Sunday.

Saturday's new tradition!

Saturday’s new tradition!

All in all, Lucas has made a ton of progress and we are super proud of him! It’s been fun to see him try new things and like most of them. He even tried seaweed at preschool the other day! That’s right, my son prefers seaweed to cookies. Who would have ever guessed?

FEV1 Day

Standard

Today I visited my CF clinic. If everything is going smoothly, I visit the clinic every three months for a breathing test and a physical exam.  I give a sputum sample so the doctors can keep tabs on what bacteria is growing in my lungs. I also see a social worker, dietician, and physical therapist once a year.

Although the breathing test is only one aspect of my clinic visit, it is an important one. It is also the part of the visit that gives me the most anxiety. That little number holds a lot of weight in the CF world, and my FEV1 is often uncooperative. So even though there are more facets to my clinic visit, and more measures of my overall health, clinic day always feels like FEV1 day.

This has not been my best year health-wise. I started out the year with a series of illnesses that resulted in my FEV1 falling from 49% to 32%. It then rebounded to 40%, dropped back to 34%, and settled at 42% for several months. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from that finicky FEV1 today. My doctor and I were both hoping that the score would continue to improve from 42% and I would get back to my 50ish baseline. I am always hopeful that at the very least, the number will be stable. But I haven’t been feeling as well this fall as I did over the summer, so I had my doubts.

And sure enough, it fell again, this time to 38%. My doctor feels that this drop is due to asthma. I struggle with asthma in addition to my CF and my asthma symptoms are the worst in the fall and winter. Fall is difficult for me as the weather cools and is often damp. I am very allergic to mold which is prevalent under the rising leaf piles. The mold gets stirred up and assaults my system as the autumn winds blow through. The doctor switched one of my asthma medications and added a new one, and we will see if those measures can get that FEV1 headed back in the right direction.

Of course this latest developement is disappointing. I always hope to see good numbers when I visit the clinic. I have used many f-words to describe my FEV1. Finicky, fiendish, falling, and fickle have made the blog. Boy would I love to use fantastic or fabulous instead. But alas, this was not a fabulous or fantastic FEV1 day.

Tonight as I reflect on my appointment, the feelings of frustration are there, but there are also feelings of peace. I really, really want to see that FEV1 improve. What I wouldn’t give to see a 49 or 50 again!  But even at 38, I have a full and happy life. Today is FEV1 day, but tomorrow is not. Today that number holds weight, but tomorrow, it matters less. Although that number shows weakness, tomorrow I will wake up a strong woman because I will take hold of the strength that God gives. Tomorrow is an ordinary day–a day in which I get to live that full and happy life. I will take care of my son and teach my students. I will talk to my friends, and relax with my husband. I will do whatever work God puts in front of me. My body is broken and so I struggle. But my life is full of love, laughter, and joy. I am whole.

Ventura Family-60r2