Although it’s only been a three weeks, it seems like a lifetime ago that I had my line placed and started my IV antibiotic. Time has been crawling along as I am waiting to be free from this disruption and back to usual life. I’d say things have gone as well as possible. It’s certainly not fun. I’ve been forced to follow an infusion schedule which interrupts my sleep and my plans. The medication itself contributes to a tired feeling and gives me restless nights and bad dreams. I’m only supposed to lift a maximum of five pounds with my right arm which majorly cramps my style. The infected congestion has been very stubborn about leaving my lungs so I’ve had to do unpleasant things in an effort to clear it which has made my back and head unhappy. We had to miss a planned vacation due to the timing of my treatments.
But there have been many blessings as well. My sister came and stayed for eight days! I never get that kind of time with my sisters. Jaime has been able to take some time off this week for a little “staycation.” Having him around has been a treat for both Lucas and I and has allowed me the flexibility to get extra rest. I’ve been going back to bed every morning after my first infusion. Having the ability to do that has made a giant difference in how much strength I’ve had through this ordeal, even if my days haven’t started until 10:30am. And thankfully, my lungs are feeling much better than they did at the start of all this. I didn’t even realize how poorly I’d been breathing until I started breathing better. What a relief!
The better breathing brought with it a rush of adrenaline–the kind of adrenaline that makes me want to do 100 projects. Jaime has been helping me keep those impulses under control. Last weekend was the first weekend without soccer for Jaime, and being the first-rate husband he is, rather than planning a relaxing weekend for himself, he decided to help me tackle a few yard projects I’ve been dying to do. These are things I knew I couldn’t attempt on my own with a PICC in my arm, but with Jaime’s help and supervision we got a ton of work done. He only scolded me a few times for lifting things he thought were too heavy or being a little too crazy. We had a few conversations that went something like this:
Jaime: How did those wood chips get spread? Those bags are heavy! Plus you shouldn’t be breathing that stuff in!
Betsy: Well, I didn’t really lift it, I sort of tipped it. And I wore a mask.
Jaime: How did those rocks get over there? They definitely weigh more than five pounds!
Betsy: I have two arms, remember?
Jaime: Don’t you think you should take a break?
Betsy: But it’s really nice out and yard work makes me happy. It’s therapeutic!
Jaime: I have to run an errand. While I’m gone DO NOT finish this project by yourself!
Gardening and yard work really are therapeutic for me. I have always loved to be outside. I enjoy growing flowers and veggies. Being in nature invigorates me and gives me peace–both things I needed during these weeks!
I’ve been spending time almost every day exercising on the treadmill or outside as well and have worked up to walking two miles in 27.5 minutes. Lower back pain has made running impossible for me since the fall. It’s frustrating not to be able to jog but my doctor assures me that walking this fast will be just as beneficial. I’ve been able to continue my 10,000 daily steps as well.
I also had my 39th birthday last week! It’s crazy to think that was my last birthday in my 30s. Having cystic fibrosis gives me a different perspective on age, though. I’m so grateful to have made it this far and I’m hoping for many more years. The current predicted median survival age for CF patients is around 40 years of age. I don’t exactly love all the new lines on my face or the fact that I’m getting more forgetful or that I spend a few hours each day with an ice pack on my back. However I know that aging is a blessing and I don’t take it for granted.
My birthday was a lot of fun! My favorite gift was a card that Lucas picked out and personalized for me. Never mind the words, he thought it was the most beautiful card in the store and wanted me to have it. We also had a nice dinner out and got rained on at a soccer game which was a lot of fun!
Tomorrow morning is my last infusion and the nurses will come out on Wednesday for my final blood draw and to remove my line. Then it’s sweet freedom for me! I’ll see the doctor the following week to check my progress. I’m hoping and praying that this round of IVs will have done the trick and I’ll be able to find stability again.