Well, as with much of life, I have good news and bad news. Good news first: I went to the doctor on Thursday and it's official...I'M OFF IV MEDICATION! The picc line is out! I'm freeeee! I can now train as much as I want and have less treatments to do.
Now for the not-so-good news: my doctor, along with my entire family, have forbidden me to participate in the Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon on August 2nd with my roommate. Even though my stubborn half knows I can do it, and wants to do it in spite of everyone's advice, I think this time, I'll sit out. I think I'm ok with it. My boyfriend, Tim, is thinking about making the Lighthouse Tri his first (instead of Redman) and my roommate is definitely still participating so I will be there to cheer them on. I can still train for the Redman Sprint Tri in September, and even though it goes against my competitive nature, my swimming could probably use the extra training time.
So today, I begin my official tri training. I found a program online that is meant to prepare a person for a sprint tri in 12 weeks. I only have 10 weeks until my tri so I'll be jumping into the 2nd or 3rd week of the program. I can do most of those distances now, but don't worry, if it's "too hard" (again with the relativity) I'll take it down a notch...really.
UPDATE: Since it's so hot outside, my mom freaked a little when I told her I was going running. It's my fault. I'm still trying to get used to how long these daily treatments actually take. I'll get up earlier in the future. So today I'll do the elliptical trainer. I don't know how long I'll do it. Is there some kind of conversion chart out there that can tell me how many minutes on the elliptical is equal to miles (or mins) running?
I'm so excited! Today I got to go to the gym legally for the first time since going into the hospital! Don't kid yourselves, I've gone a few times behind my doctors' and parents' backs. Today though, my dad said I could go if I didn't "go crazy". Luckily, the word crazy has a very vague definition so I just did what I wanted to do.
I went in this morning after doing the watering (price of my room and board) and all my treatments. Melissa, my summer roomie, and I made a "workout mix" on Sunday so I put that on my ipod and hopped onto one of the stationary bikes. I went fairly hard for 12 miles (about 43 mins if the meter can be trusted) and then coasted for another 7 mins to make a grand total of 13.5 miles in 50 mins.
Overall, I'm thrilled about how today went. I only coughed a little, which exercise will always do (and therefore counts as 1 chest pt) and I felt great! The Lighthouse tri's bike leg is 12 miles on a flat course so it's encouraging to know that at this point I can handle that. The only downfall was that I definitely broke the "no sweating" rule. Oh well...the dressing and picc come off on Thursday anyways right? :)
As you might have already guessed from my dramatic improvement in post frequency, I am extremely stir crazy and bored. :) I guess there are worse ways I could express my boredom.
The reason I wanted to post today is that I went on a bike ride yesterday! I'm not technically supposed to be sweating yet as my picc line is still in, but I went on a short ride yesterday evening anyway. Melissa and I rode about 1.5 miles up to the local pharmacy and back. It felt great! It was so nice to be outside and moving around. I could feel myself breathing hard, but I didn't cough much at all. I could even hold a conversation with Melissa the entire way! It sounds silly to be so pleased with a 3 mile bike ride, but I really am thrilled. Lately, since I haven't been allowed out of the house, training and working out are literally all I can think about. Talk about obsession! I think I'm going to go on another short ride tonight. Hopefully it won't be too muggy so that I don't sweat too bad.
On another note, I found a really awesome website today. One of my main turnoffs about the cf community (as it was presented to me) was its negativeness and seemingly low standards. I always hated people telling me that I could live a "full" life (meaning without sports and lots of treatments) with cf yadda yadda yadda. This website though talks about people who are extraordinary. There was one particular individual who after having a double lung transplant went on to complete 18 triathlons and is currently training for the ironman. Another guy raised his FEV1 (lung function test) score like 30 points by swimming! He was on the list for a lung transplant but now he functions with his own two lungs, and swims a hell of a lot better than I do. Reading this stories, I realize that I have no excuse not to live an extraordinary life...and I love it!
So now that I'm tired of having deep philosophical discussions on this oh-so-popular blog, I thought I'd write about my current "illness": BIKE FEVER. Yes. Bike fever. I've got it bad.
Up until the last few months my 21 speed trek mountain bike has been everything I could ever want or need in a bike. However, in seeing the multiple 10k bikes at the King Tut tri back in April and struggling through the 33 mile redbud bike tour Jessica and I did, I've realized that if I ever want to get in to triathlons or cycling, I'm going to need something better.
Here's the problem: all the pretty/cool bikes cost waaay more than I can afford. I mean, let's face it, I'm a grad student. The good news is though that since I'm being super cool and living with my parents this summer :-/, I'm not paying rent. And before I got sick, I was working full time. So, that means I do have a little cash to spend on this venture.
So, here's what I've been looking at:
This is, price-wise my most viable option. It is the trek 1.2. The msrp is $879.99. It's got shimano sora components which I've heard aren't the best, but all the reviews I've read say that this bike is pretty solid.
This is the Cannondale CAAD9 7. It is a little more expensive ($899 at a local bike shop) but has slightly better components (shimano sora and shimano tiagra). Still though, the reviews all list "poor components" under the cons section while saying that it is a solid bike.
Then, even more expensive, is the Jamis Ventura Race which costs about $1,284.99. It has shimano 105 components. This is the part where I really wish I knew something about bike components. In reality, 1,300 is probably a little over my price range, especially considering I'll eventually want peddles and fancy shoes to go with it, but I MIGHT be willing to spend that kind of money if the product was that much better. The problem is that I have no idea what kind of difference components make. None. Zip. Zero.
The last month or so of my life has been somewhat of a roller coaster. At the end of May, I moved out of my apartment and into an "apartment" that is attached to my parents' house in Edmond. My friend Melissa came down from Virginia to live with me. Originally, the plan was to train together for the Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon at the beginning of August. However, like many things in life, our plans changed.
For the past 3 summers, I have worked as a therapy tech at a local rehabilitation hospital. However, this summer, my boss informed me that he didn't have hours for me and I would have to find another job if I wanted to work full time. Crap. Knowing that in this economy my chances of getting hired for the summer anywhere else were minimal, I decided to talk to the head of nursing in the same rehab hospital and see if I could be a nurse tech for the summer. Nurse techs work 12 hour shifts and see some pretty nasty stuff. Let's just say that I now know exactly why I'm going into therapy and not nursing.
I think I've mentioned before my obsession with being "normal". I hate telling employers, coaches, teachers etc. that I have health issues. I don't want special regulations or concessions. I want to do what I do just like everyone else. So, I didn't tell my boss about my cystic fibrosis. I didn't tell her that fatigue can make me really sick, nor did I tell her that I'm supposed to be doing a lot of treatments which are difficult to fit into a 12 hour work day. I also didn't stop training for the triathlon with Melissa. Maybe I have a superwoman complex, or maybe I'm just childish, but I honestly thought I could handle it. You see, in my head, I'm not sick. I'm normal, and there was no reason (in my mind) that I could not work an extremely physical job for long hours and still train for a triathlon.
I soon found out how very wrong I was. I lasted a week before the trouble started. After a week (3-4 days of 12 hour shifts) I started to get really fatigued. I hadn't been good about doing treatments so I got sick. It wasn't a "bad" sick at first. It was the kind of thing I deal with often, and fight off either on my own or with a round of oral antibiotics. So, without getting too worried, I started myself on the typical antibiotics and started doing my treatments more (if not perfectly) diligently and continued to work my normal shifts. Instead of getting better though, my health continued to decline. I got sick to my stomach several times a day, coughed all day and all night, and lost my appetite. I lost around 20lbs. I couldn't walk for long periods of time without feeling like passing out, and stairs were almost entirely out of the question. It wasn't until a particularly painful bike ride with Melissa that I finally decided to call the doctor.
I went in to my appointment, they tested my lung function, weighed me, and immediately drew up my hospital admission papers. I spent 4 days in the hospital receiving iv antibiotics and liquids (I was really dehydrated apparently) before being discharged with a picc line and a long list of 3x daily medications and treatments. I am not allowed to sweat (it'll mess up the dressing), swim, or work until the picc comes out.
Looking back, it seems as though I have a tendency to take one step forward and two steps back in life. I get in shape, do the things I want to do, work hard, and then reality (I guess) catches up to me and I end up on the couch with tubes coming out of my arm, forbidden to leave the house (omg she might sweat!). On the one hand, I'm extremely grateful. I feel so much better (I can even do stairs!) and I know I'm fortunate that so little intense treatment "fixes" me. On the other hand though, I'm furious. I'm furious that this happened, that I may or may not be able to do the triathlon with Melissa now (I'll be fighting for that one), that my Dr. wrote a letter forbidding me to work over 8 hours a day and 40 a week, and most of all, I'm furious because I know deep down, that this was preventable (at least to a certain extent).
Basically my ability to see myself as normal is rapidly diminishing. I now have more daily treatments to do even when I'm not sick, and frankly, I'm semi-ok with that. At this point, if it'll keep me out of the hospital (which was a horrible experience btw), I'll do it. I guess my "normal" will just have to change a bit so that my entire life doesn't come to a grinding halt. Call it maturity, call it "all growed-up" call it what you want, but I've always been a path-of-least-resistance type person in most areas of my life and right now, that path is medical compliance.
I signed up for the Redman Sprint Triathlon on Sept. 20th, but I'm not allowed to start training until July 9th. So, until July 9th, I'll be here, grudgingly taking care of myself and treating my disease. :)
Well summer has officially begun, and it brings a whole new way of looking at training. This summer, I'm working 12-hour shifts at a local hospital 3 to 4 days a week. Also, my friend Melissa is living and training with me this summer while she does her CPE.
All of this means that my training schedule (and life for that matter) is very different this summer. First of all, 12-hour shifts are long. I mean...really long. I have complete and total respect for anyone who does them for a living and am unbelievably grateful that I'm only doing them for the summer. They also make training on those days somewhat challenging. My first day, I got up and did the elliptical trainer for about 20 mins. The incredible soreness and fatigue I felt throughout that long day may have been because I had run hard that Monday or because that day sucked in general. Either way, it successfully discouraged me from working out the rest of the work week (through Thursday). If I weren't training for triathlons (one sometime this summer with Melissa and one in September with Tim) I would think that only working out on days that I don't spend 12 hours running around a hospital (3-4 days a week depending on how many I work) would be completely acceptable. However, that's not the case. I'm one of those people who has to improve every time they do something. I'm also competitive. So since Melissa is a better runner than I am right now, and the swim during the King Tut tri was so atrocious, 3-4 days a week of training just isn't going to cut it.
Here is my tentative plan. I work at the hospital Monday-Wednesday doing 12 hour shifts every week. Every other week, I also work an 8-hour shift on Thursday. Every Friday, I teach Spanish at noon for an hour. So, on Sundays I want to do my long run. Then Monday can be a rest day. Tuesday I can get up early and go to the gym (taking my scrubs to change into afterwards) for a swim. Wednesday I can take off again (or maybe just stretch). Then Thursday I'll go back to the gym before work for a swim. Fridays I think should be my double day. I'll probably rotate which two I do every week. On Saturdays, there is a really fun spin class at the gym, so that'll be my bike day. I figure, once my mileage need starts to exceed the class, I can always ride my bike around and to the gym before class.
I know my plan is lopsided. I just don't know of another feasible way to arrange it. I have to be at work (about 30 mins away) at 6:45 so working out in the morning makes for a very early day. And other than watering my mother's plants and cooking (terms of my "lease" lol) I have no other obligations on my non-work days. What do you think?