Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ups, Downs, and More Downs

Life with a life threatening illness is full of ups and downs... Unfortunately, for me lately, there have been more downs than ups. Many of you have heard the recent news of the horrible Gatlinburg fire that happened Monday night, but before that fire, east Tennessee had been dealing with wildfires for a month or so. Due to extreme drought, there have been fires all around Knoxville. Because of that and the fact that we are located in a valley where the air just kind of gets stuck, we have had air quality alerts almost every day. There were days when you could actually see the smoke just hanging in the air. My lungs started becoming tighter and more restricted feeling with every air quality alert. It got to the point where I had to stop going outside with my student for recess, because after just 20 minutes outside, my lungs would be in a lot of pain.

Fast forward to the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I started getting sick on top of it all. My nose became congested, and my cough turned from a dry, nagging cough to that wet, miserable cough those of us with CF know all too well. That brings us to November 30th when I had my clinic appointment. I knew my lung function was not good due to all of the factors working against me, but it was a question of how bad had it gotten.

Needless to say, I went into the PFT with a bit of anxiety and nerves. As soon as I started, I couldn't make it through the test without starting to cough from my lungs getting irritated. The first test showed 38%, and my heart dropped. The next two read 40% and 41%, so we stuck with the 41% as the official result. Unfortunately, that is another 4% drop from my last appointment when I had had a 2% drop.

After talking to my doctor about all the factors involved in my lung function drop this time, we decided to try oral antibiotics and steroids to try to jump start my healing. I am going to be doing a follow up PFT in two weeks to see if there is any improvement. Then we will go from there.

So what do I do now??? I keep going. I keep working out. I keep doing my breathing treatments and taking all of my medications. I keep fighting. I keep knowing that my hard work is paying off even if I'm not seeing it right at the moment. That's all I can do. I refuse to go down without a fight, and I have to think that in two weeks, I will be feeling better, and my lung function will be on it's way back up.

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