Saturday, June 27, 2015

Blood... Oh my...

Thursday night was one of the scariest experiences for me with cystic fibrosis to date. This past week, I was at the beach with my husband's family thoroughly enjoying myself and every minute of the vacation. I was feeling great. My lungs felt clear as they usually do during my time spent at the beach, I had been going on long beach walks, playing games, swimming in the water (watching carefully for sharks :/ ), and completing my workouts provided by my wonderful trainer.

Everything was going better than I could have even hoped until that night. After finishing my breathing treatment for the night and finishing the chapter I was on in my book, I lied down to go to sleep. The feeling came on quickly, and it is something that I had never experienced before. There was a crackling in my lungs that told me I needed to cough which is common in my lungs, but it was followed by a gurgling feeling that truly felt like I was drowning. When I coughed to try to clear it out, my mouth filled with fluid which completely confused me.

I ran to the bathroom to spit it out in the sink... It was bright red. I quickly realized what it was. I was coughing up lots of blood. The sink began to look a bit like a murder scene with blood in the sink, on the mirror, on the faucet, on the counter, and on my face. It was terrifying. I have never been a fan of blood as it is, but when it is coming from my lungs, it is on another level. I won't say I panicked, but there were definitely tears in between spitting blood, and my husband was a trooper. While I had read a little bit about this happening in CFers, he had no clue it was a possibility. He did offer to call 911, but I reassured him that I didn't think it was necessary.

Normally, I would have called my CF doctor right away, but unfortunately, it was 2:00 am when this finished. I called them first thing Friday morning to see what they wanted me to do about this new issue. They decided to start me on an antibiotic, because many times, hemoptysis (bleeding from the lungs) can be caused by an infection. They also told me to lay off my Pulmozyme and hypertonic saline for 3 days to give my lungs a rest. (However, I am going to continue counting these days as being compliant with my treatments seeing as I am just following doctor's orders.) Since that night, I have coughed up more blood 3 more times, but I'm hopeful that it's finishing up since it's been 16 hours since my last episode.

It is just a reminder that living with cystic fibrosis is an never ending battle. No matter how well you are taking care of yourself, it can still rear its ugly head and remind you who is really in charge.

So how does this change my game plan? It doesn't minus these 3 days of no treatments and the antibiotics that I am on for 2 weeks. I will go back to being 100% compliant with my treatments, and I will work out as vigorously as I have been after a few days of rest. Life goes on. The fight continues. I have a lot to live for, so I will continue fighting to make that happen.


  1. Sounds very scary. I'm glad you're starting to feel better.

  2. I'm a nursing student and though I've been reading about CF, I wanted to understand how someone living with CF functions on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your story! Best wishes to you!