Friday, June 17, 2011

Apartment Hunting

My two brothers came up from Tucson last night to complete one mission, and one mission only this weekend: Find an apartment for Andrew. Andrew is my 21 year old (single, ladies) brother who will be attending ASU in the fall in pursuit of a Masters in Family and Marriage Counseling. I'm so excited to have him up here in Phoenix and am counting down the days until my little brother Grant can join him! It will be a while for Grant however as he will be going into his sophomore year at THE U of A in pursuit of a degree in Civil Engineering (I have no idea what that is either).

So, if you're in the Tempe area or live next to the light-rail, leave me a comment on some suggestions on where Andrew can live. We'll be doing some hunting on our own this weekend, but suggestions are always welcomed!

Thanks guys.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Water & The Garbage Man

Know what time it is? It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. as I mentioned, I no longer have the "linkytools" but I invite you to share your thankful blog in the comments section. Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I'm thankful for movement. My little wiggle worm moves ALL over the place these days, and I have to say it's the best part about being pregnant!! I am being kicked and bumped all day long, and sometimes I can even feel peanut do a full flip - makes me feel motion-sick! I love every part of it and I can't get enough. Sometimes I'll just sit and stare at my belly for a solid 10 minutes, just watching all the "pops" on my tummy. I am so thankful for this little life inside of me.

I'm thankful for my garbage man. No my ACTUAL garbage man, I'm talking about my hubby. Ever since we got married and moved in together, Ronnie has taken out the trash and recycling. I couldn't even tell you what day is trash day and what day is recycling! The only way I know it's trash day is that the night before around 10PM I hear Ronnie's phone reminder go off. He does so much around the house, I don't know how ladies do it without a helpful husband. Ronnie definitely gets a GREAT HUSBAND award!

I'm thankful for my maternity support belt. I read about it on a pregnant runner's blog a couple of months ago, and decided to order one, but hadn't used it until today. The last few days I've had some cramping while running and walking - and not uterus cramping, but moreso all around it (my thinking was that it was round ligament pain). So I broke out the belt this morning for my run, and boom, good as new!! My little monkey likes to push as far out on my belly as possible (we're talking strange, lop-sided lumps she's leaning so hard against me), and it made walking and running a little uncomfortable from time to time. This belt helps hold things tight, so if she is using the front of my uterus as a lounger, I at least don't feel it AND the round ligament pain is gone.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for water. A couple of days ago I wasn't feeling so hot and decided that I needed to step up my water intake. I'm always good a drinking two cups of water, ahem, with coffee in it, but rarely do I have glasses of water throughout the day. I usually have a sports drink or two mixed in with some water here or there. Well, for the past three days I have been going water crazy drinking about 128 ounces of the stuff a day. May be just coincidence or my mind playing tricks on me, but I feel so much better!

I'm thankful for the A/C. First thing you've got to know is that Mandi calls me the A/C nazi. I always say, "If you're cold put on more clothes and if your hot, take them off!". Since my wife has become pregnant I've become a little more relaxed on my A/C policy though. We haven't needed it much until this last week thankfully, but I'll tell you what, it's hot. It's about 84 degrees in our house by 8 in the morning. We're still trying not to run it all of the time, but we have been running it more than last year. I'll admit, it feels pretty nice :)

I'm thankful for weight lifting. Mandi and I have gotten back into our weight lifting routine lately and it feels really good. We've never let up on our cardio, but hitting the old weights got put on the shelf for a couple of months. We've been doing cardio about 5 days a week and lifting at least 3. It was a little rough at first, but it's getting easier and easier as we get into our groove. I'll tell you what, for a 20 week pregnant woman, Mandi is looking buff!!

So, what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

That Little Piece of Regret

Earlier on today while walking towards the fridge to get my second dose of Cayston I yelled out to Mandi “well I guess I might as well do another treatment!”. Then, for some strange reason, I thought to myself, "Man, will I be doing treatments for 2 to 3 hours a day for the rest of my life?". What came next was actually kind of strange and to be honest, kind of surprised me. Immediately after the statement I had just internally made, I thought to myself, “I sure wish I would have started doing more treatments earlier on in life”.

So that brings me to my question for those of you reading this - do you wish you would have been on the compliance bandwagon earlier? Or let me put it another way for those of you who have always done treatments - Do you ever look back and wish you hadn't done so many? I would of course hypothesize that there is not a single CFer out there who regrets being compliant, but I recognize that this hypothesis is really just a shot in the dark. Just as I tell people that you'll never regret a work out, I would like to think I could tell people that you'll never regret a treatment. I wish I could say that I was one who never missed a treatment, but I can't and therefore that little piece of regret is still with me.

The key in this however is that I'm not filled with the kind of regret that weighs me down. Do I regret not doing more treatments when I was younger? Absolutely! Do I allow that regret to stunt my progress going forward? No way! I completely realize that there is no turning back the clock and getting back to a point where I can somehow re-do my treatments. I can however from this point on hold that small piece of regret in my mind for the sole purpose of motivating me to make better decisions regarding my health going forward. Fortunately for me, when I did step up my treatment regimen, I was able to “turn back the clock” so to speak. I was able to return my lung function to a place that it hadn't been since 2003. I was able to do things physically that I hadn't been able to do with such energy for quite some time. There is of course a part of me that says, “imagine if you would have had this commitment when you moved out of your parents house” or “imagine if you was spent less time 'doing the college thing' and more time taking care of yourself”. Would things really be different? Who knows, but I guarantee it wouldn't have been detrimental to my health to be more compliant in my past.

So what's the point of his blog anyway? There really is no point, I just thought I would share some of the thoughts I was having today.

Maybe you're at that point right now where you have some decisions to make regarding your health. Maybe you're about to ship off to college and for the first time in your life your health is completely in your hands. Maybe instead of getting out of the house right now to hang with your friends you can do treatment and catch up with them 30 minutes later. Who knows what this blog will do, but if it can help some fibro or cyster out there to avoid that little piece of regret, it would be completely worth writing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Are You So Positive All of the Time?

I had a great question asked to me by a momma over on CysticLife, but asked her if I could write a blog about it since I knew my answer would be a long one. What's funny is that I actually get this question asked to me quite often. Sometimes it doesn't start with a "how" but rather a "why"(in sort of a disbelief type of a tone), which would of course have some different answers. I figure though that if one of my flaws continues to be that I'm "too positive" then I must be doing something right. Anyway, here's the question:

Ronnie, I am amazed at your attitude and I admit, a little curious. What's your secret? What drives you to be so positive? I feel that somehow maybe I failed my son. I set out 20 years ago when he was diagnosed to have him be the same way in life but he has struggled with anger more than I would like to admit. Myself too, as a result of watching him struggle. He's getting better though. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wow, what a great question. First, I think it's important to note that there is no “secret” that I have found to being a positive person. But before I even get into that I need to tell you something flat out: you have not failed your son! The only time we fail in this life is when we quit or we stop trying. Just the fact that you are reaching out and seeking the advice of others shows me that you have not quit, so believe me, you are not a failure. The problem with pinning our positive or negative attitude completely on our upbringing or on what our parents model to us obviously has some flaws. I can recall countless positive friends who had some of the most negative and pessimistic parents around as well as pessimistic friends who had some of the most happy parents in the world. Now, that's not to say that a positive role model and good modeling doesn't often put us at an advantage to carry on that attitude, but it certainly isn't the be-all end-all. However, since you did ask me for my take on it I can certainly try to pin down a few of the reasons that I'm so positive.

**For those of you about to read this again please remember that this is my experience and may or may not fit your experience.

1. My faith in God. This is a perfect example of the shoe not fitting everyone the same way. I've known plenty of Christians who were negative and rarely have a “glass is half full” mentality. For me however, being a Christ follower has translated my entire life into knowing that God was in full and complete control. And since He has already written out my story, I'm also convinced that having a negative attitude isn't going to change the ending or any part of the story in fact. When life feels overwhelming or a situation seems too much to bear its often introspection that shows me I'm trying to deal with it on my own. God makes it very clear that because of the relationship I have with Him, I'm not to feel alone with my burdens or bad situations. He calls on me to lean on Him in times of trouble and the great part is, He is never busy. I try to wake up each and every day and fulfill whatever Will He has for my life. I'm sure I've failed more than succeeded but I have faith that God will never leave my side and He'll give me peace that surpasses all understanding each and every time I ask for it.

2. None of my problems have ever been solved through anger or a bad attitude. I've always told people that I'll start complaining the second that somebody shows me concrete evidence that it will change my situation. It doesn't matter how much I complain, CF isn't going anywhere. I can complain until I'm blue in the face, yet I'll still have to do 2 to 3 hours of treatments tomorrow. I can shake my fist at God for having to go into the hospital nearly 3 months out of every year, but when the time comes for a tuneup, I'll be heading right back into the Hole. Instead of identifying all that is “wrong” in my life I choose to instead highlight everything that is right. I have a beautiful wife both inside and out. I have a family that will support me through thick and thin. So far I've woken up for 11,480 days and been able to breathe and put two feet on the ground. I'm part of a community that has shown incredible love and interest in my life. I've been able to travel. I received a good education. The point is, I have stuff in my life that other people around the world will never have access to. I've been blessed beyond measure to actually live in a country that has top-notch CF care. I don't complain that I have to do treatments, I thank God that I'm able to get all of my meds and throw on a vest. I think often times it's just a matter of taking a step back and counting all the things in our life which is right.

3. My mom. My mom will be the first one to tell you that she's not the most positive person in the world. She won't always look at you and tell you how great things are. There is one thing however that she is, and that's a realist. Not a realist in the sense that I grew up hearing about all of the death and destruction that CF could cause, but a realist in the sense that there were things I could take ownership of and if I didn't, it fell on nobody else's shoulders but mine. If I complained about not feeling well my mom's response wouldn't be “that damn CF” it would be "how many treatments did you miss last week?". When I ended up having respiratory arrest during the halftime of a football game I was playing in my mom didn't say “you need to stop playing because CF can't be controlled”, she said “what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again?”. Here's the deal, she recognized that there are things that will simply be out of our control, but she didn't dwell on them. She never made the case that if I did XYZ I would be free from all of the manifestations of CF. She did however encourage me to make sure I was doing everything possible to put myself in the best position to succeed. I think the best way to illustrate how she raised me would be through this picture: complaining about CF and refusing to do treatments is like complaining about an overflowing bathtub and not turning off the water. Does that make sense?

So I could probably go on and on about the subject, but this seems like a pretty natural place to end this blog. Ending it here also gives me a chance to come up with some more bullet points. Hopefully I did a decent job explaining some of the reasons that I may tend to be more positive than negative and I invite anybody reading this to share any reasons they feel that they have a positive attitude.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Half-way There

Welp, this is it. This is the week I've been waiting for since hearing the words, "you're pregnant." It's week 20. Week 20 means we're half way through this pregnancy and, better yet, half way to holding our precious little baby in our arms. As you can tell, I've been counting down the weeks until I could say we were half way there. When I really think about it, it's a little silly that I put so much stake on the 20 week mark...considering that means I still have 20 weeks left, which is kind of a long time. Regardless, I'm thrilled.

So here are a few tid-bits on momma. My belly is starting to show, although it's still pretty tiny. I'm hoping that means I'll stay on the smaller side throughout the pregnancy, but I think I will likely be small, small, small, and then BOOM, blow up. We shall see. My weight is climbing far faster than peanut's, with a grand total of 10 lbs (gulp...I promised I'd share, but that may change as I grow ;-) !!) My acne is getting better, but it's still not great. I think it's going to be with me until peanut is born, but I've accepted it at this point. It's been a good lesson in vanity and accepting that which I cannot change.

As many of you read, we had an ultrasound last weekend and found out that we're having a little girl (high fives and big smiles). We are totally thrilled at the idea of having a baby girl, although we've decided to hold our excitement back a tiny bit until we have another scan at 28 weeks to confirm that it is in fact a little girl. It may sound silly, but I've seen way too many stories online of parents being told "girl" only to be told "boy" a few weeks or scans later. So Ronnie and I still call peanut, "peanut" but we do slip in "she" and "her" pretty frequently.

And for that reason, we're still holding off on buying adorable headbands and tutus for another several weeks. But my mom is going to be in town in two weeks, and as some of you may remember reading in previous posts, my mom is like Martha Stewart. Anywhoo, she's only here for a few weeks, and she probably won't be back until it's baby time, so I don't want to miss my chance getting her great, this is the stuff that moms and daughters are supposed to do together. Therefore, we're starting to think about the nursery, and are going to make all the big items neutral, and then just add gender-specific touches (ie furniture, bedding neutral; pillows, wall decor gender-specific). I think the nursery is just as much for mom and dad as it is for baby...since parents spend a lot of time in there. So we're making it a space that feels really relaxing and calming (this stress ball needs relaxing and calming). So below are two pictures of my nursery inspiration...I'd love to hear your thoughts!