Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What a difference a year makes?

It's been almost a year since I've updated my PFT History on this blog. I have a good reason for not updating it however...I forgot to :) Well, I went to update it tonight armed with new numbers today from clinic, and was actually surprised at what I found. Surprised for a couple of reasons actually. First, as I already stated, I was surprised that it had almost been a year since I updated my numbers, and second, I was surprised to see what they were almost a year ago. To be exact, the last time I updated my PFTs on this blog was November 14th, 2011. So what were my numbers almost a year ago today? Well, I had an FVC of 88 percent and an FEV1 of 74 percent.

For those of you who have no clue what those numbers mean, I'd like to refer you to this blog for a quick course. If you'd like to see an older video of me doing a Pulmonary Function Test, click here. And if you skipped past those last two links but still what a super quick refresher here it is...

When you hear about someones PFT results you will usually hear two numbers FVC/FEV1. They are both given in percents like 88%/74%. The FVC measures how many liters of air I can take into my lung. When expressed in a percent, it's based on how many liters I should be able to take into my lungs given my sex, age, height and race. If I should take in 4 liters of air but I instead take in 3 liters, my FVC expressed in a percent would be 75% because 3 is 75% of 4. An FEV1measures how many liters of air I can blow out of my lung in the first second of exhalation. When expressed in a percent, it's based on how many liters I should be able to blow out of my lungs in the first second given my sex, age, height and race. If I should blow out 3 liters of air in the first second, but I instead blow out 2 liters, my FEV1 expressed in a percent would be 66% because 2 is 66% of 3. Make sense now? No? We're still moving on :)

I was excited for my clinic day because I was going to be able to do some PFTs for the first time since my hospital admission in late July. Since being discharged in mid-August, I've been working my booty off in the gym. I'm not sure what I left the hospital at, but I believe it was somewhere around 80%/74%.  I wasn't sure what I was expecting to blow, but for me, I've always been of the opinion that anything but down is good. I of course am always shooting for higher numbers, but I'll never be greedy if the "only" stay the same.

All three of my blows were consistent and they all felt good. My final numbers were 87% over 74%. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't even a smidgen disappointed, but that quickly dissipated when I reminded myself how great I feel. There are times when our numbers don't exactly reflect how we feel. That can be both to the positive and negative side. Sometimes our numbers are low, but we feel great and sometimes our numbers are high but we feel awful. Well today, my numbers were baseline (my average PFT that they expect) and I feel great! I'd say there's nothing to complain about!!

I was then even more delighted with my results from today when I went to go enter them in my PFT History. About one year ago today I had virtually identical numbers. But I thought are numbers were supposed to go down every year when we got to be old farts like me? I've told you that not everything you read or your doctor says is true right?

So what do I do now? I shoot for even higher numbers next time. I work even harder in the gym. I focus even more during my treatments. I make it a goal that in October 2013, while I'm celebrating my wife's 27th birthday and my daughters 2nd, my numbers are the same or higher.

All I can do is wake up every single day and decide that I will do everything possible to put myself in the best position to succeed.

If I can do that, as Jerry Cahill would say, I cannot fail.