Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Does CF Consume Your Life?

Do you feel like CF consumes your life?

I get asked quite a bit if it feels like CF consumes my life since I do so many treatments and make sure that I exercise daily. I of course don't feel like my life is all about CF, but I thought it would be handy to put it into numbers to see if I could make it more clear. So, for this little exercise, I'll take 2012 vs. 2008. I'm taking these two years because they seem to be the average year before and after I got serious, or better put, "re-serious" about my health.

2008 in hours
Treatments: 547
Exercise: 182
Hospital Stays: 1680
Total hours devoted to cystic fibrosis: 2409 or 28% of all available hours

2012 in hours

Treatments: 1095
Exercise: 547
Hospital Stays: 720
Total hours devoted to cystic fibrosis: 2362 or 26% of all available hours

So when you look at those numbers, it looks like a wash right? I'm still devoting basically the same number of hours per year towards "taking care of business" when it comes to CF. However, looking deep into the numbers you'll see that in 2012 I am spent double the amount of time doing treatments, triple the amount of time exercising but less than half of the time in the hospital when compared to 2008. I don't know about you, but I would MUCH rather be doing treatments and exercising vs. being in the Hole. 

There are a couple more important numbers however that need to be thrown into this equation:

2008 lung function
Highest high: 79% FVC 68% FEV1
Lowest low: 64% FVC 54% FEV1

2012 lung function
Highest high: 87% FVC 74% FEV1
Lowest low: 78% FVC 63% FEV1

**It should also be noted that
a) I started a new predicted model in 2009 that would have actually had my 2012 numbers even higher compared to my 2008 numbers and
b) Since "on average" "they" say that "lung functions declines by 2% per year", my net gain is actually even higher!

Now, CF is definitely more about lung function and those numbers don't always correlate with how I feel. I can tell you this without a doubt though, if I had to quantify how I felt in 2012 vs. how I felt in 2008, it wouldn't even be close.

In 2012 I could...
breathe better.
laugh longer.
run further.
sleep sounder.
expect a brighter future.

So if 2012 was an average year of awesomeness, 2008 wouldn't have even of registered on the same scale.

We all know that cystic fibrosis is about more than just numbers. But sometimes, numbers can help make things more clear. By looking at the numbers above, it's clear that the more I did for my health, the more my health did for me. Sure, a quarter of one's life devoted to anything seems like a lot, but I can tell you this, I've enjoyed the other 75% of my life a whole lot more in 2012 than I did back in 2008.