Kindergarten

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Lucas started Kindergarten on September 5th. It’s hard to believe he’s been in school nearly four months already. Overall it is going great! It’s a long day, but he’s handling it and is happy to go each morning. Here’s a few things we’ve learned about Kindergarten from our observations and conversations with our big guy:

  • Lucas’s favorite “subject” is recess. No surprise there! Is there any other answer for an elementary-aged boy? If so, I’ve never heard it.
  • Lucas is popular with the ladies. He regularly comes home with hearts and cards and pictures from various admirers. I know my days are numbered, but for now, I’m happy to report that I’m still his best girl.
  • Kindergarten is pretty academic nowadays. Lucas’s backpack is filled various worksheets he’s completed and he is reading and writing and doing all sorts of things that weren’t on my radar in Kindergarten. He seems developmentally ready for what they’re asking him to do, so that’s great! However, I get just as frustrated as he does when they miss recess because they’re busy with academics. I can always tell if he’s had recess or not when he gets home from school based on his mood.
  • Lucas takes what he learns in school and puts it to good use at home. They recently had an engineering unit at school. When he and Jaime were experiencing some technical difficulties with snow bricks cracking and breaking while they were building a snow fort, Lucas assumed the role of teacher including a written message to all the “engineers” in the house, listing the problem that needed to be solved. Lucas’s solution was to figure out how Superman used his heat vision to seal the cracks in the Daily Planet building after a villain attack and use that technology to seal the cracks in our snow fort. We’re still working on it.
  • Along with learning things at school, he’s trying to teach his classmates a thing or two. He came home in early December, horrified that none of the kids in his class realized it was still fall and that winter didn’t start until December 21. He told them but no one believed him. I heard him have the exact same conversation with our 10-year-old neighbor. When she disagreed with his pronouncement, he pulled out the calendar. I have to admit it was fun listening to her try to explain away the words “Winter Begins” written in bold, black letters on the 21st. I mentioned that his classmates were referring more to the winter weather and perhaps they didn’t pay as much attention to the actual dates of the winter solstice, but he dismissed my explanation and concluded that they just weren’t as smart as he is. We’re still working on the humility thing.
  • Every day after lunch recess, the class has quiet time when the kids can rest, read, or draw. Lucas chooses to draw every day and has gone through a few distinct “periods”.  The first several weeks of school he was drawing rainbows and cats.  Then he entered into a list making phase. Next he started drawing pictures of our family every day. Currently he’s been making cards for Jaime and me. These creations are the my favorite thing to find in his backpack! (Bonus points to anyone who can read the letter 🙂 )
  • Lucas seems to like his teacher, but this year he almost exclusively talks about the other kids. He’s more social and integrated than he was last year, and handles the inevitable moments of chaos a lot better than he did in the past. In general he seems much less anxious. Yay for growth!
  • Now that he’s in Kindergarten, there are several rules Jaime and I must abide by.  For example, the word “potty” is banned from our home since he’s not little anymore. He does NOT require hand holding to cross the street, no exceptions. We are not allowed to be around when he’s changing his clothes. He asks us to leave his room and shuts the door, or if he decides not to kick us out, he changes in the closet. If he requires any assistance in the bathroom he asks us to close his eyes. (It’s pretty hard to assist that way, but we do our best.)
  • Lucas really likes to be on time to school. I mean, really.  He has not been tardy even once nor has he missed any school so far.  Even though he did not inherit that trait from his father, Jaime deserves a lot of credit for getting him there each day! I deserve some, too. Lucas is such a late riser than it often takes all hands on deck to get him clothed, fed, groomed, and out the door on time. (Picture a pit crew).
  • Speaking of grooming, Lucas likes his hair smooth. He will not leave for school, be seen in public, nor admit anyone into our house until it has been slicked down. Apparently you can adore your father without approving of his hair choices.
  • Lucas knows several older kids at school that he’s met in our neighborhood or through soccer and he always says hi when he sees them at school. It’s one of the first things he reports on when he gets home. Knowing older students makes him feel like big stuff!
  • There must be a lot of music at school judging from the plethora of songs Lucas sings when he gets home. Lately it’s been a song about shapes and Jingle Bells. For the first few months, it was a version of Yankee Doodle which he sung incessantly with minor variations. Over break he started humming the Final Jeopardy theme which he informed us is the signal for quiet work time. I’m glad there’s lots of music involved in his schooling and that he still feels free to sing out whenever the mood strikes! I also wouldn’t cry if I never heard Yankee Doodle again.

I am very proud of Lucas for handling Kindergarten and the long school day so well.  It is a pleasure to watch him grow and mature and become more independent, even if it is a little bittersweet. I’ll never forget all those years when he stuck so close it felt like he was an extension of my own body. Somewhere along the journey he gained the confidence to be out there on his own. It’s good and I’m glad. We love our big Kindergarten boy!

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Photo by Jess Marie Photography

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A Year in Review

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Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done.

~I Chronicles 16:11-12a

Happy Holidays a little late! I’m sorry I’ve been absent from my blog for so long. Jaime told me I’d better get something published before people started to worry about me! My writing has gotten pushed to the back burner. It’s not as though life is busier than before, it’s just been different since school started in the fall. Somehow when my routines and responsibilities got rearranged, the blog got pushed out of the mix. I miss writing here, so stick with me. I’ll be back in 2018.

Last night Jaime and I were talking about the highlights and low points of 2017. I like reminiscing about the past year before I venture into the new one. It’s fun to remember and relive the happy times and good to note that we did, in fact, survive our challenges. And there were a few–Jaime had a really tough, busy stretch at work for the first few months. I had a rough summer health-wise and had to have both IV antibiotics as well as oral antibiotics and steroids during what are usually my healthiest months of the year. A bunch of my hair fell out (gotta love side effects). I lost some lung function. I had back problems and spent months in therapy. We had to cancel a trip to Chicago in the early spring because of the Jaime’s work situation and we missed a planned vacation to Tennessee in July due to my illness. I woke up with pink eye on Christmas Day (apparently I was on Santa’s naughty list) and I am on antibiotics now for a virus gone rogue. Those were some of the low points.

Ah, but the highlights! There were many more of those. The tooth fairy made two appearances here and one at Grandma’s which was a fun first for us and Lucas. Lucas played on his first two soccer teams with coach Dad, and so far has not broken anything  in spite of all the soccer balls he kicks and scoops and does who-knows-what-else with around the house. Jaime’s mom courageously fought cancer with surgery, chemo, and radiation and was given a clean bill of health. We participated in the Great Strides walk for CF in May and were showered with support. We had several gatherings with Jaime’s family and visits from my family. We traveled to West Michigan for beach time and reunions. Lucas, Jaime, and Grandpa Ventura took a trip to Washington D.C. to see Manchester United play. We went to Wild Kratts live and Detroit City FC games. We hung out with our friends. Lucas did great in Young Fives and he transitioned smoothly into Kindergarten.

I realize at this point I might be overdoing it, but I hope you’ll allow me to share a few more highlights. 🙂

Lucas helped me brush up on my geography skills and he learned to ride a two-wheeled pedal bike. There were ten new deer signs installed within a few miles of our home which was mega exciting for our resident six-year-old. We did some nice landscaping in our backyard and my garden was extra beautiful. I had a healthy fall and even got through my first virus in November without needing antibiotics.  My back issues improved and I was able to start jogging again. I got to go on two field trips with Lucas and his classmates and Jaime went to two in-class parties. We both got to see him read a self-authored book to his class about what he was thankful for, and we both made it onto the book. Lucas got interested in Legos and I’m living vicariously through him as they were not marketed to girls back in my day. (I didn’t know what I was missing.)

We laughed a lot this year and experienced much joy. We cried a bit too, and faced some tough disappointments. But our consensus is that we have a really great life and we’re extremely thankful to God for all the blessings and the challenges and the various facets that make it ours. God has always been faithful to us and we know that will never change.

And so we look forward to whatever 2018 will bring.  Jaime and I will both turn 40 which is shocking (and somewhat disturbing). It’s quite a milestone from cystic fibrosis perspective though, so I think we’ll celebrate rather than mourn (any black balloons that show up on my doorstep will be immediately popped). I’m sure there will be more soccer and Legos and more visits from the tooth fairy. There will be good times with family and friends. There will be struggles. I always feel some nervousness as I look out toward the future, wondering what is coming my way. I can’t quite see how certain things in my life are going to work out. But it’s not my job to know. I don’t need to be afraid because God has promised never to leave me, always to help and strengthen me, and He’s promised to finish the work He has begun in me. And so with a nod toward last year’s challenges and a heart brimming with thankfulness for the blessings, we’re stepping forward into a new year.

May your new year be full of blessings, may you know God’s love, and may you take hold of His strength during the tough times.

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.

~I Chronicles 16:34

Odds & Ends & an Update

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Last month passed quickly, and without any posts from me! I thought that once Lucas was in school all day I’d be sitting on the couch twiddling my thumbs, but somehow that has not been the case. The days have flown by with almost no couch-sitting. I am settling into my new routine. I have a new work schedule which I’m getting used to. I definitely have more kid-free time than I have had for the past six years, but between physical therapy appointments for my back, other health maintenance activities and appointments, work, and running the household, I’ve not been bored. I’ve enjoyed finishing a few projects that have been half-done since Lucas was born, like his baby book! I’m sorry to say he will never know certain pieces of information (like when his last two molars came in) due to my negligence in recording the information at the time, but I’m pretty sure he’ll continue to live and thrive not knowing.  Thankfully!

One lesson I’m learning in these first weeks of having more time is that my productivity addiction is alive and well. I have been unable to be super productive since Lucas was born–in part because of the demands of caring for a young child, and in part because of the progression of my disease and the resulting loss of energy. I am one of those people who tends to put productivity on a pedestal, perhaps because deep down, my self-worth is too wrapped up in what I can or can’t do.  Clearly it’s something I need to continue to work on. There have been days recently when rather than relaxing, resting or enjoying some quiet, I’m wondering what else I can get crossed off my list. It feels good to get to the end of the day and be able to point to ten things that I accomplished. But just because I can get more things done daily, doesn’t mean I should wear myself out doing so. Being more restful affords me energy and an uncluttered mind to be fully present for the limited time I get to spend with Lucas once he gets home. Note to self: that is more important than any number of completed tasks. What can I say, I’m a work in progress!

I have been spending some time exercising and getting steps each day, but I did break my 10,000 or more steps a day Fitbit streak in early September. The streak lasted for 410 days, so it was a little sad to let it go, but it was the right choice. I broke it on Labor Day weekend. We were with my family for a reunion and I simply didn’t have the energy for both our planned activites and my 10,000 steps. When I mentioned to my dad that I would be breaking my streak, he reminded me that these goals that we set for ourselves only have value as long as they are serving us. The Fitbit streak did serve for me for a while! It helped me to become more active and build stamina. It kept me moving (and therefore healthier) during some emotinally challenging months. However, had I forced myself to get 10,000 steps that day, I would have been harming myself just to uphold the streak. That, my dad said, is serving the goal, and in doing that, it loses its value. Wise words, don’t you think? I don’t need to be a slave my goals. With that in mind, it was much easier to let it go.

Last week I headed back to the CF clinic for my three-month check up. After a rough summer, I was pretty nervous to see where my lung function had landed. It was 35%. That was definitely disappointing as I hoped to at least get back to 38% after all the treatments and therapies I went through this summer, but I wasn’t exactly surprised. In spite of that 35%, I have been feeling more stable this month and am hoping that there is still some healing taking place that will allow me to regain what has been lost. The good news is that my oxygen saturation was 99%, my heart rate and blood pressure were normal (in spite of doctor’s-office-induced anxiety!) and all other aspects of the exam were good too.  In other words, my body is doing a great job of coping with the low lung function. I’m exceedingly grateful for that!

Lucas and Jaime are doing well. I’ll write a separate post about Kindergarten soon, but for now I’ll tell you that Lucas is doing great handling the long day and he loves his classmates and his new school. We are so proud of him! He has enough energy left over to play soccer, this season for a team comprised of kindergarteners and young fives from his school and coached by the best coach in the world (Jaime). 🙂 I just love watching those two together on the field and it’s fun to see how much confidence and skill Lucas has gained since the spring. My boy is growing up!

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Fighting for the ball!

At practice the other day, Lucas came to the sideline where I was watching and told me he was going to go back out on the field and score a goal, just for me. And he did! He was so excited and I felt honored. He’s been growing and changing so much lately and is relying on me less and less. His sweet words and actions sure help as I’m adjusting to these changes.

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Gooooooooooal!

All in all we are doing well! Life has its challenges but we are experiencing many wonderful blessings too. And there are always fresh reasons to hope.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed. For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~Lamentations 3:21-23

 

More Conversations with Lucas

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Today is Lucas’s first day of Kindergarten. It’s his first full day experience with school going from 8:56am-3:59pm (yes, that’s really the official time!). I have so many mommy emotions to deal with. Someone stole my tiny baby boy and replaced him with this big, semi-independent six-year-old. He’s more than ready for this phase of life, but me? Well, I’m working on it.

The good news is that I finally have a solid stretch of time to attend to a lengthy to-do list! So naturally I’m going to ignore that and sit on the couch thinking about Lucas and writing about him 🙂  Here are some funny conversations we’ve had with him the past few months.

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L: Mommy! While Daddy was hugging you I ran upstairs and hid your Mother’s Day surprise in my room!

B: Oh wow! Okay, I won’t go in there.

L: It’s okay, you can go in there because you can’t see it. It’s in my closet behind the sign that Uncle Tony made for me. On Sunday Daddy and I will see if you can find it.

J: Um…

L: Don’t worry Daddy! I didn’t tell her what it was.

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L: Mommy, why don’t you ever take a shower in this bathroom anymore?

B: The shower is broken and we haven’t gotten it fixed.

L: Why?

B: Mostly because it costs a lot of money to get things like that fixed and we don’t really need to use that shower.

L: Oh. But I know Mommy!! You can have my tooth fairy money to fix it! Would that be enough?

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L: Mommy! Come look at this! [holds up his potato chip]

B: Okay, what am I looking at?

L: My chip! Look!

B: Okay……..????

L: Can’t you see it’s shaped just like Vermont?

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L: Mommy, Grandma Waterloo said I have eagle eyes. What does that mean?

B: That means you have really good eyesight, because eagles can see tiny things from very far away.

L: Oh! Does Grandma know I have really good earsight and nosesight too?

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J: Lucas, do you know one way in which you and Mommy are alike and I’m different?

L: Mommy and I are smart and you’re forgetful?

J:…Um…I was going to say you and Mommy were born in Michigan and I was born in Ohio.

L: Oh.

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B: Lucas, come quick! There’s a wild turkey in the street!

L: Whoa!

B: Or maybe that’s a pheasant? No, it’s a wild turkey. I think. I’m not sure.

L: I love it so much! I’m going to say thanks to God. Dear Jesus, thanks for sending a wild turkey but it might be a pheasant to Middleton so we could see it. Amen.

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L: Mommy, look! There are dandelions in our backyard!

B: Yeah, I see those.

L: Wow, this is our lucky day!

*

B: …and when Joseph was in the far away place, God was still with him. Isn’t that great?

L: Yes! And when Joy and Bing Bong were in the memory dump, God was still with them.

B: Um, well…

L: And when Joy and Sadness got sucked out of headquarters God was still there.

B: Uh…

L: And when Riley moved to a new house, God was still with them in California!

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J: It’s time to go but I have to get something out of my car.

L: I thought we were taking your car!

J: It’s kind of smelly right now. I think Mommy would prefer if we took hers instead.

L: Oh. Well don’t mind smelly as long as it’s not too smelly.

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L: Mommy, do you know what we forgot to do yesterday?

B: What?

L: Read Bible stories after lunch.

B: Oh, right. Let’s be sure to do that today. We can also read that book about hermit crabs I have in my office if you want.

L: Okay. But let’s read the Bible stories first because I like God better than hermit crabs.

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L: Mommy, did you know monarch butterflies are poisonous?

B: They are?

L: Yeah, they’re poisonous if animals eat them. But don’t worry, I’d rather stick with sandwiches anyway.

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That’s all the conversations I have for today, and it’s only 11:30 am! T minus four hours until I can leave to pick up that sweet and funny boy from school. I guess maybe I’ll have a glance at that to-do list afterall. Happy September everyone!

Conversations with Lucas: Brains, Bathroom Talk & Big Words, Predators & Prayers

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Our Cutie Comedian

L: Daddy, let’s play the chasing game! But we should take our socks off so we don’t slip.

J: I’m going to leave my socks on, my feet are cold.

L: But Daddy, I really, really want you to take your socks off!

J: I’m too cold! But if I slip I’ll take them off.

L:  [Thinks for a moment…] Okay Daddy.

[Game commences]

L: Daddy, pretend you slipped!

[Jaime purposely slips and falls]

L: Okay, now take off your socks.

J: Hey!

L: You said if you slipped you’d take off your socks!!

B: I think someone outsmarted you…

J: You tricked me! But I tell you what, if you catch me, I’ll take them off.

[Frantic chasing ensues]

L: Daddy, pretend you let me get close to you…

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[Lucas and Jaime are doing a puzzle of the United States]

L: Um, Daddy, that’s not where Nebraska goes!

J: Oh man, you’re right!

L: Yeah. I guess you’re not the smartest human in the world.

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L: Mommy!

B: What up?

L: I just went potty.

B: OK.

L: But Mommy?

B: Yes?

L: You might want to go clean the wall.

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L: Mommy, upstairs is Daddy’s bathroom, downstairs is your bathroom, and this is my bathroom.

B: Really.

L: Yeah. It’s special. Try your hardest to keep that in mind.

*

L: Guess what I know about science?

B: What?

L: Chicken poop helps flowers to grow! But not human poop.

*

L: Mommy, I’m all done with my lunch!

B: That’s great!

L: See! Look at my plate. It’s barren!

B: Barren?!

L: Yup! There’s nothing there!

*

L: Mommy, at my farm Henny is smart. King doesn’t know anything yet.

B: Oh?

L: Yeah, King’s igernant. Wait, what’s that word again?

B: Ignorant?

L: Yeah igernant.

*

L: Mommy, what does endemic mean?

B: Endemic? Where did you hear that?

L: On Wild Kratts, the one called Lemur Legs. It means an animal that only lives in that place like the lemurs in Madagascar.

B: Oh. Hey wait, if you knew what it meant, why did you ask me?

L: I just forgot for a moment and then I remembered.

[Lucky break…I was going to have to look it up]

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L: Mommy, come look! The mouse is living with the owl in my barn!

B: Really? Won’t the owl eat the mouse?

L: No, this owl eats different kinds of mice. It eats technology mice.

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L: Maybe we can get Madagascar from the library again.

J: Sure, we can do that.

B: Really? There were some scary parts. If we do we might have to fast forward through the scary parts like where the crocodile swallows the…

L: OR WE COULD JUST STAY CALM.

L: I do like Inside Out better than Madagascar. Inside Out is kind of lovely. Madagascar is kind of scary.

*

[Bedtime prayer]

L: Dear God, please help Mommy’s fingers to feel all better.  And please God, send us a new glass bowl.

*

L: Mommy, why are you just standing there?

B: I’m a little nervous to get on the treadmill.

L: Why, Mommy?

B: It’s just hard for me.

L: Don’t worry, I’ll pray for you! Dear Jesus, please help Mommy be brave to run on the treadmill so she can get all better. We love you, thanks, in Jesus Name, Amen. There. Do you feel much braver now?

B: So much braver Little One. ❤

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The Glory of Week Three

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Happy New Year a month late! I didn’t intend to let so much time pass between my last post and now, but things got extra busy with the holidays, and after…well, I just felt a little uninspired.  I suppose that sometimes I need a break, even from things that I greatly enjoy. I follow several CF blogs and when someone doesn’t post for weeks on end, I begin to wonder if they are alright. I hope none of you were concerned!

We had a wonderful holiday full of family time, fun, and relaxation. Here’s a few of my favorite photos from Christmas:

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Christmas morning!

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Lucas made Jaime a hat…

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And me a necklace 🙂

The new year started with a bang…in the form of a virus that hit me on January 2. Admittedly, it wasn’t my favorite way to ring in the new year. Unfortunately, Lucas caught my virus and missed a whopping four days of school the second week of the month. This virus made him sicker than he has ever been and seeing that made me very grateful for how well I weathered it.

I wrote in December about my uncommon cold and this virus progressed in the same way, except for one notable difference. My doctor was out of town when I got sick, and the day it became clear that I needed antibiotics was a Sunday. Because of these two factors, I was prescribed antibiotics by an on-call doctor who has never met me. To his credit, he listened carefully to me, allowed me to (respectfully) question his antibiotic choice, and even accepted my personal recommendation for what antibiotics I thought I needed (based on what I guessed my own doctor would have prescribed).  And I must say, I chose well for myself. I started to feel better after just a few doses. The one difference, though, is that this doctor prescribed me three weeks of antibiotics rather than two. I used to always get three weeks, but lately my doctor has been giving me just two weeks of treatment. Two weeks is sufficient to kick the infection, but three weeks is just so wonderful. I simply love week three.

That may sound strange, but week three of antibiotics is the closest thing I get to a vacation from CF. Of course I use that term lightly. I still have to do treatments and therapy every day. I still have to take a handful of pills with each meal. I still have 40% lung function. CF never really takes a break. But by week three of antibiotics, the infection is gone and my chronic levels of bacteria are lower than normal. Because of this, I produce less mucus and cough far less than I usually do, even at my healthiest. My chronic cough is hard on my body in many ways. When it vacates or lessens for a bit, my life becomes easier. Here’s a few things I noticed last week during week three:

Monday: I woke up earlier than usual and still felt rested. I breezed through my treatments in record time because there was so little coughing and so little mucus to clear. Lucas and Jaime hadn’t even left for school and work and I was already through my morning routine! What to do with all my extra time?!

Tuesday: I (almost) made it to my 9:45 am Bible study on time. That. never. happens.

Wednesday: I had so much free time after my speedy treatments that I decided to go for a walk in the morning. And run some errands. I picked up Lucas for school. I decided to run more errands with Lucas. Let’s hear it for energy!

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One errand was to buy a birthday gift for Lucas’s cousin. He can’t wait to give it to her!

Thursday: I had a friend over in the morning. No need to preserve my kid-free time after I knocked out my entire to-do list yesterday! My friend commented on my clean house. That’s right, a clean house at the end of the week!!  I picked Lucas up and after lunch, we decided to put up some new maps we bought for his room. Several hours later all the wall decor in his room was rearranged and re-hung. I had five hours of tutoring that evening, but who needs to rest when it’s week three!

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Lucas is thrilled with his world map and US map (behind). He can start teaching me geography now.

Friday: CF decided to remind me of its presence this morning. In all my productivity yesterday I forgot my digestive enzymes at one meal. I spent the morning feeling sick to my stomach, but I was still able to get out for a brisk walk before I picked up Lucas, because #weekthree.

Saturday: I took my last dose of antibiotics. It felt a bit sad to bid farewell to my security blanket. I knew I would have a few more days of feeling better than usual, and with that in mind, I headed out for a walk. I surprised myself by powering through 2.5 miles in 38 minutes.

Sunday: I decided to do as much as possible to get into good shape before the adjustment phase hits and went out for another walk. I got through three miles in 48 minutes. Not bad!

Monday: Week three was technically over but I still felt great. A former student texted me and asked for an emergency tutoring session before an exam. Tacking on two extra hours of tutoring didn’t seem like a big deal so I agreed. (This just in…she aced her test!)

Tuesday: Week three’s extra energy was still fueling my fire so I decided to write a blog post on top of my Bible study and tutoring today. And here I am 🙂  I’m thankful for week three and for each day of feeling strong and energetic. I’m learning to enjoy these days as a gift rather than focusing on the fact that they won’t last.

Because they won’t. I know that things are going to get more difficult in the next few days. I also know that I’ll get through it and adjust to my normal once again. It will mean longer breathing treatments, earlier nights, later mornings, less productivity, more coughing, and more exhaustion. I’ll have to start over on my running goals and pace myself throughout the day. But it’s still a wonderful life–my own wonderful life. And God always supplies the grace and strength that I need. The glory of week three is behind me but there are blessed and happy days ahead!

The Uncommon Cold

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Cold and flu season. The bane of my existence.  Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the viruses lurking around every corner this time of year stir up a bit of panic in those of us with chronic lung disease.

The past few years I’ve gotten my first cold just before the holidays, in December. This year, I got my first cold at the end of October, and I was less than enthusiastic about its early appearance. It started on a Thursday evening while I was tutoring. My throat began to feel a little dry, a little sore, a little unwell. The panic set in. Calm down, it’s just allergies, I told myself. But I had a nagging suspicion that was confirmed when I woke up the next morning with all the classic symptoms of the common cold.

Those first days of a cold cause a great deal of stress for me. CFers can never just “relax” and let the virus run its course. For the average person, a cold means a short period of annoying, uncomfortable symptoms, followed by the return of normal life. The common cold usually lasts 7-10 days. If you are a CFer reading this, I’m pretty sure you just laughed or rolled your eyes. I don’t remember the last time a cold lasted 7-10 days for me. For CFers, the common cold means annoying, uncomfortable symptoms, but it also includes the threat of a much more serious infection that can result in weeks of illness. Sometimes these illnesses can result in the permanent loss of lung function. The common cold is plain scary.

My cold lasted, from that first scratchy feeling in my throat, to the day I woke up feeling like myself again, exactly 38 days. Over five weeks. Here’s an outline of how my [un]common cold progressed:

Day 1: Uh oh…sore throat…the feeling of impending doom sets in. My poor husband is subjected to a great deal of my angst which is bubbling over as I see the worst case scenario playing out in my mind and sadly bid farewell to my six-month, illness-free streak.

Days 2-8: I sludge through the cold symptoms while trying to keep tabs on the health of my lungs. I worry. I ask Jaime 100 times a day if he thinks my cough sounds okay. It does. I try to relax.

Day 9: The virus hits my lungs. Each breath is a cacophony of various wheezes and hums and vibrations. I call the doctor and start on two oral antibiotics.

Days 10-16: I wait for my cough to improve. Still waiting. “Mommy, why are you spitting your fungus in the toilet?” Lucas asks. He tries to join me but he’s only got saliva in there. No fungus (or mucus) for him. I laugh and thank God for five-year olds. Still waiting on that cough. C’mon antibiotics, you can do it!

Day 17: My cough beings to improve. The Hallelujah Chorus plays in my mind. I try to join in. Yeah, my cough isn’t all the way better yet. I leave it to the angels and keep quiet.

Day 22: I can finally say my cough is back to normal. But this is already my last day of antibiotics. I take my last dose and hope it’s not too soon. Bye-bye security blanket.

Days 23-28: These are blessed days of feeling good. But I know what’s coming…

Day 29: The Adjustment Phase hits.

Days 30-38: I cough and cough and cough and cough (and cough). I have many wonderful friends, but this week, Motrin is my best friend. I need it to get through the day. I remind myself that this will pass. It will.

Day 39: It did! I wake up and realize I can make it through the day without Motrin! My cough is quieting. My muscles are less sore. I don’t have a headache. I’m through my cold and ready to start another illness-free streak. There’s that Hallelujah chorus again! I join in. It still sounds better in my head, so I decide to save that one for the shower.

The good news is that all things considered, this cold was relatively mild and manageable. I was able to function fairly well through it and I’m sitting here today, six weeks out, feeling good. I’m so very grateful for that! Perhaps an early cold this year will mean less illnesses overall this season. A girl can dream.

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Kisses from this little guy always make me feel better when I’m sick.

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Kisses from this big guy help a lot, too.