Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sound Off Saturday: Treatments and Vacation

Being a holiday weekend, we couldn't help but think of a great Sound-off Saturday topic: Vacation and Treatments.

When we're not in the routine of work (which is really just on vacation or during holiday weekends), treatments are the one part of our routine that must stay the same - which isn't always easy while trying to enjoy a break from our normal day-to-day routine. Obviously, when we travel, go on vacation, or have a "staycation" during holidays, treatments are still a must. For some reason, vacations are the only time that I really notice treatments. When we're in our normal routine, I never really notice Ronnie's first 2-3 treatments during the day. He does them back in his office, while we both work in separate rooms, so it doesn't affect my day, routine, plans, etc. The night treatment (which Ronnie always does right before bed) I notice more because I normally wait up for him to finish so that we can fall asleep together - maybe silly, but I just really love going to be together. I hate the thought of Ronnie crawling into bed and not having his wife say, "Goodnight" and "I love you" right before falling asleep. But all in all, on a typical day, treatments go unnoticed by me and they don't affect my daily life and routine.

But the reality of 3-4 treatments a day sets in when we're on vacation. And I will be honest, I am not the biggest fan of all the treatment time when we're on vacation. Often times we'll have to push off breakfast, come back mid-day regardless of what we're doing, or rearrange plans to make sure that we get all of the treatments in, while still getting out and enjoying vacation. I start to feel even more aggravated (maybe a harsh word, I can't find the right one. Annoyed? Perturbed?) when we're with other people (friends or family), and I feel like we're holding up the whole group because we have to get treatments in. And I'll be honest, I always feel a little guilty on vacation because I get annoyed with the treatment schedule, but then I realize that it is only my reality for a week, while it's Ronnie's reality every day. And that really puts into perspective that me feeling inconvenienced is silly and selfish.

ANNND now that I've let you into my horrible, inner-most thoughts, let me now give you the flip-side and what I constantly remind myself when these nasty little thoughts creep in. The rational side of me knows that the treatments are necessary...and maybe even more necessary because we're generally thrown off our workout routine as well - so we're not working his lungs with as much exercise either. And whenever the thoughts start to arise of, "Maybe he could just do 2 treatments today?" or "How about he just does 3 instead of 4?" I always step back and remind myself of one thing: I'd rather get home from vacation and have him healthy, than get an extra two hours a day of "fun," only to get home and have him feeling like crud; having to climb and uphill battle to get feeling good again.

I feel a little bad verbalizing my not-so-positive thoughts about treatments on vacation, but I know that I'm not alone in my thinking. Sticking to treatments during vacation (or anytime your routine is thrown off) is simply just not easy. But I always find that when I really step back and think about it, doing the treatments is far more awesome and beneficial than anything we could do with the two extra hours we'd have if Ronnie skipped his treatments. So this holiday weekend, Ronnie will be getting in all of his treatments, but you better believe we'll be packing the other 22 hours of the day with TONS of fun!!

Ahhhhh yes, treatments and vacation, my ultimate double edged sword...

So which side of the sword should I describe first? Let's go with the side that cuts some of my fun time out of vacations. Now, let's be clear, I'm the first to admit that I'm not Mr. Vacation and rarely am I the one chomping at the bit to go on one. We'll get to the reason I'm that way when we get back to the other side of the sword, but for now let's stick to the side that cuts me away from what I enjoy about vacations. Generally when I'm away and enjoying some other place I'm around family. That has to be the number one thing that I like about vacations. It's nice to be able to be around family 24/7 and the fact that you have the option to go out and "explore" with them is a bonus. One bummer about treatments and vacation is that it takes some of the spontaneity out of just "getting up and going". Things need to be more mapped out to make sure I have the time to get in my 3-4 treatments for the day. Whether it's 3 or 4 usually depends on the altitude, weather and how I handled the flight to where I was going. That's the thing with this CF life - there's really no "getting away" which is the biggest reason why most people want to go on a vacation in the first place.

Alright, enough of Debbie Downer. Since only about 7% of me feels the way I was talking about above, let me get to what the rest of the 93% of me thinks; the other side of the sword if you will. I love treatments on vacation because they feel like they restore some order or a sense of routine while away from home. I know that I've mentioned this before, but I am a routine guy. If my routine is thrown off, my whole day seems thrown off. It's especially that way if I miss my morning treatment - which probably happens 1 out of every 365 days. On the rare occasion that I do miss that first treatment, or heaven forbid, my coffee, you can pretty much count me "off" for the rest of the day. I usually like to go all out on vacation and pack in as much stuff as we can, so it's nice to have 3-4 times throughout the day that I can recharge my battery.

Another thing I think about while doing treatments on vacation is the more I consistently take care of myself, the better chance I will have to enjoy more vacations down the road with my family. Plus, being at the top of my game while on vacation gives me the energy to "keep up" with the rest of my family as they are doing the "vacation thing". I've always found that if I get out of whack with my treatments on vacation, not only do I not feel as good during the activities, but that it's hard to get back into rhythm when I get back home. You guys know how it works - one missed treatment leads to two, leads to 4, leads to a week, leads to a month. I don't know about you, but I can't afford to even miss 2 treatments in a row. I figure the longer I can keep up my treatment routine, the longer I'll have to feel good while on vacation. Does that all make sense?

Anyway, we thought it'd be fun to bring Sound Off Saturday back. Keep in mind that we just threw out a general topic to each other and then agreed to "sound off" on it. I have no clue what Mandi wrote and she has no clue what I wrote. The first time we read it will be the same time that you do.

Now it's your turn...sound off!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sinus Surgery Won't Aid Lung Function in CF

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 28 - Endoscopic sinus surgery doesn't improve microbial pathogen load or pulmonary function in young cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, according to a retrospective medical record review.

"Prospective studies are needed to evaluate potentially short-lived effects of surgery on these variables, as well as to assess subjective or symptomatic improvements from a quality-of-life standpoint," Dr. Alexander J. Osborn of the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children and his colleagues conclude.

Treating inflammation of the upper airways can improve pulmonary function in asthma patients, Dr. Osborn and his colleagues note in the June Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Nearly all CF patients suffer from rhinosinusitus, they add, and the severity of these symptoms has been tied to worse pulmonary function.

To investigate whether the unified airway model might hold true in CF as well asthma, and determine if treating sinusitis might improve pulmonary function, Dr. Osborn and his team reviewed medical records for pediatric CF patients who had undergone endoscopic sinus surgery in their practice.

The 41 patients in the study, whose average age was about 11, underwent 91 procedures in all, with a median of 2 per patient. The researchers excluded procedures performed within 2 years before or after another surgery, to ensure that preoperative values represented a patients' real baseline state. This left 56 procedures for analysis.

Using several different measures of pulmonary function, the researchers found no differences before and after surgery. And their analysis of the 62 procedures for which pre- and post-operative cultures were available showed no effect of sinus surgery on microbial pathogens.

Sinus surgery likely helps asthma patients' pulmonary function because the sinonasal area may be the sole source of inflammation in these patients' airways, Dr. Osborn and his team suggest. "In contrast, CF leads to chronic infection of both the sinuses and the lungs," they add. "Eliminating the inflammation or bacterial load in the sinuses still leaves a significant inflammatory source in the lungs."

The lack of improvement in pulmonary function and microbial colonization seen in the current study "does not obviate the need for surgery in these patients," the researchers add, pointing out that patients do see symptomatic improvement after the surgery.

"The lack of effect of endoscopic sinus surgery on pulmonary function test results and respiratory tract microbial pathogens in our study highlights the need for prospective assessments of postoperative quality-of-life improvement and of adjunct medical therapy efficacy," they conclude.

Original Post: Medscape Today


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Hole-in-the-Wall

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 a hubby who surprises me with the best surprises ever. When I got home from small group on Tuesday night, Ronnie surprised me with a clean house. In just a few hours he dusted, scrubbed, swiffered, mopped, did laundry, you name it. It was incredible. I am so thankful for my hubby.

I'm thankful for family time. As you've read, my parents are in town. I am so thankful they could be here and we could all spend time together. Last night my parents, bro and sis-in-law and Ronnie and I went to dinner and had my dad help with some chores/to dos around the house that we needed some dad knowledge on. It was a blast.

I'm thankful for routine. While I'm thankful for my parents being in town, it has thrown off our routine a bit and I am feeling a bit out of whack and missing our daily and weekly routines. It reminds me why I am so thankful for a steady routine in my life on a regular basis.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for Eazy-E. No, not the rapper, my father-in-law. There is one thing that Eric and I don't have in common (and believe me, we have more in common than he'd care to admit), he's been around grass his whole life and I have not. One thing that sold us on our house was the big expansive yard that came with it. Only problem was that I had exactly zero experience with a yard. My idea of landscaping was dirt, gravel and cactus. I wanted to learn how to maintain my yard because of how important it is to Mandi, and so far, I have about a C average. In the last couple of days, spots that are usually nice and green in my yard have become brownish and other spots just aren't coming in. Eric took a look, diagnosed the problem, and off to Home Depot we went. We came back with some fertilizer with bug preventer, grass seed and a hand held seed spreader. He also taught me how to "thatch" the grass which is something I only thought existed in movies :) Thanks Eazy, I'm hoping to see a lush lawn in a couple of weeks!!

I'm thankful for hole-in-the-walls. We were looking for a restaurant nearby that none of us had been to for a dinner spot tonight. So I used my trusty o' YELP app and searched out some places nearby with good ratings. We ended up picking a Korean place just north of downtown Chandler. The reviews were good, it was close and we were all feeling Korean food. From the outside, the place was a very typical hole-in-the-wall. Very nondescript, kinda dirty and nothing flashy whatsoever. It was a different story on the inside however - nicely decorated, very clean and best part, not a white person in sight. I know that has nothing to do with the actual look of the restaurant, but I happen to think it's a very good sign when their are nothing but Korean peeps eating at a Korean restaurant. My theory was proved to be right as the food was great and it even was awesome enough to please the oft traveled Eazy-E. Well done "hole-in-the-wall!!

So, what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Workout Wednesday: House Cleaning

Before I get to the house cleaning part of this blog, a little bit of an exercise update for ya...

I've been really hitting my stride in terms of working out lately. No, my foot isn't 100% yet, but it is bothering me less and less. Just in the past couple of days I've been able to go on a 4 mile hike, a 2.5 mile walk, a 2.4 mile bike ride and a 45 minute spin class. I was a little worried that all of the variety of workouts was going to tweak my foot a bit, but so far, so good.

My foot is finally to the point where I feel comfortable being on it multiple times a day and therefore have been able to re-implement my morning walk/bike ride. It's really stunk not being able to get up and go first thing in the morning, but I really wanted to give my foot it's best chance to heal. I've really been missing my morning walks for the most part because of how much I believe in them. I feel SO MUCH better on the days that I do something first thing in the morning. I don't know whether it's because I "jump start" my body or because I cough up a gallon of mucus, but whatever it is, it works! If you're looking to start some type of exercise routine, I would HIGHLY suggest starting out with a morning walk. I know that I am so thankful that mine can resume.

I had another spin class today and yet it again, it kicked my booty. Every time we go back I try to push it a little bit more than the last time. What's cool is I'm able to keep up with the instructor much better than before and don't feel like I'm going to puke for the entire time. Now I'm down to feeling like I'm going to barf for only half of the class...small victories. This is another workout I would highly recommend. It's low impact. You have a motivator in front of you the entire time. And you can go at your own pace. I promise you that it will get you sweating a ton and breathing really heavy.

And finally, my most surprising workout of the day, cleaning the house. Mandi hung out with some of her girlfriends tonight so I wanted to surprise her with a clean house when she got back. Between getting home from the gym and handling some work issues, that didn't give me much time to get it done. In all, I dusted, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, cleaned the toilet, Swiffered the entire house twice, mopped the entire house and did the laundry. Let me tell you, I had to break out my sweat rag from the spin class to wipe off the liquid pouring from my forehead. So here's the deal, if you think working out isn't for you, start with this. Write out a list of all the household chores you will do and an amount of time you plan on having them done by. Time yourself and see if you can meet your goal. If you do, lower the time the next time that you're doing those same chores. Maybe it's because I'm out of shape or maybe it's because it works, but all I know is that cleaning the house makes me sweat up a storm!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Great Things About This Weekend

This past weekend we had a bunch of good stuff happen to us. So much stuff in fact that I figured I would put it all down in a list of the top ten cool things about this weekend. These are in no particular order except for the last one - it's definitely #1 on the list:

Grilled pineapple with cinnamon and sugar - Nancy (mom-in-law) made some excellent side dishes to our dinner on Friday night. I don't know how she managed to pull it off, but after flying for 24 hours, she still had the energy to whip up dinner. That woman has some serious skills in the kitchen, and the grilled pineapple did nothing but bolster my opinion.

People watching at Starbucks - I like people watching period. People watching with Eric (pop-in-law) just brings it to a whole new level. His comments are entertaining and it's always a pleasure to join him at one of his favorite spots back in the states - good ol' Starbuckaroo's.

Breakfast at the Post Office - Before church on Sunday we all went to one of my favorite breakfast spots in Scottsdale. It's called the Post Office and pretty much everything they make is good. I got a create your own omelet with one of my favorite combinations: ham, american cheese, tomatoes, spinach and green chilies. Mmmmmm, mouth is water just thinking about it. As a bonus, we were a couple of tables away from Jared Allen, defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. Big dude.

Movie watching - I love sitting down and watching movies. I actually prefer to watch movies at home rather than go to the theaters. Not only is it cheaper, but I can stretch out as I please and pause when necessary. We ended up getting a very "manly" movie which, cussing aside, was pretty good. And by good of course I mean entertaining. Just a lot of fight scenes, shootings and things blowing up. What's not to like?

Pool lounging - I've never claimed to be a "sit in the sun and fry" kind of a guy, but hanging out in the pool is one of my favorites. We always end up coming up with whacky games or challenges that make it even more enjoyable. This time it was seeing who could throw a ball across the pool and make it land (and stay) on a raft as well as going back and forth across the pool without swimming and only pushing ourselves off against the wall. I guess you had to be there :)

Watching Nancy adjust to the new timezone - So you can probably imagine that it may be a bit tough adjusting to a country that is 15 hours behind the country that you just left. One of my favorite things about the in-laws being back in the states is watching Nancy fight to keep normal wake and sleeping hours. Sometimes she adjusts rather "quickly" and sometimes she doesn't adjust at all. You can bet your bottom dollar however that you will catch her napping on the couch every single day at various times. Maybe we should start making bets?

Picking the folks up at the airport - It's always very exciting seeing Eric and Nancy for the first time in a long time. Granted, Mandi and her mom webcam almost every single day, but it's obviously just not the same. Seeing the smile on my wife's face as her parents make their way to our truck is a particularly special moment for me.

Coming home to a painted house - I know that Mandi touched on this yesterday, but I have to reiterate how good it feels to come home to a painted house. It's amazing how a single coat of paint can seemingly transform a room. We know have every single room in our entire house painted to our satisfaction with the exception of our master bathroom toilet room. Now that the painting is done, here comes the fun part: Mandi coming home with furniture to fill the newly painted rooms. First up, the nursery.

Hiking - We all set out on a hike Saturday morning to the mountain where Mandi and I got engaged. The entire loop is 4 miles and Mandi and I did 3 miles of it. Eric and Nancy were considerably faster on the way up and we didn't want to make them wait for us to make it to the top, so we stopped at the second check point. I'm proud to report however that I hiked all 1.2 miles to the first check point without ever stopping - that's the first time that has ever happened.

Time with Family - Do I really need to say anything else about this?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Best Feeling Ever...

"What is?" You're probably thinking after reading the title. But unfortunately you will have to bare with me a bit before I get to that...

As some of you may have read in a few posts recently, my parents are in town (WAHOO). We picked them up from the airport on Friday afternoon, and spent the weekend with them, and Josh and Chrissy (bro and sis-in-law) up at my parent's house. It sure is great having them in town! Friday late afternoon we hung out in their pool and then grilled steaks for dinner. Saturday, Ronnie, my parents, and I hiked a mountain near their house (you've maybe seen pictures from the top of's where Ronnie proposed to me!), then we all went to hang out at Starbucks for a bit (my parent's favorite weekend morning tradition - they love the people watching!). After Starbucks we headed back home and spent the day in the pool, watching TV, eating far too much junk food and brought some Thai food in for dinner. Saturday was one of those days were you're actually tired at the end of it, but from doing nothing at all. It was awesome. We always have fun floating and playing in the pool together - making up pointless games to occupy our time, reading magazines, catching up on life, and busting each other's chops. Sunday was much of the same. We went to breakfast and church in the morning, came home, and hung out in the pool some more, watched a movie, and brought pizza in for dinner.

It is so fabulous having them in town. I am just happy to know that the fun does not stop this weekend...they'll be here for another couple of weeks! YIPPEEEE!! But the weekend did have to come to an end, and Ronnie and I headed back down to our house Sunday night, to get a good night's sleep in our own bed and start Monday morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for work. Unfortunately, we aren't taking the week off, even though they're here, so we had to get back to our house so we could maintain somewhat of a routine. So anywhoo, as I was saying, Sunday night we headed to our house, and before unloading the car, came inside to check out the painting. "Huh?" You're probably thinking. You read that right, while we were gone for the weekend "vacationing", painters were here painting!! BEST.FEELING.EVER!!! I can't tell you how amazing it felt to come home to chores done, that I didn't do! I do feel a little guilty that we had painters come and paid them to do a job that we could have done. But painting makes Ronnie's lungs tight, and I figured I probably shouldn't be painting several rooms (we're playing musical rooms to get the nursery in the room we want it) while pregnant. So we had painters come and paint those two rooms, and while they were at it, paint the 2 bathrooms associated with those rooms AND paint the laundry room. So while I still feel a little guilty, seeing an almost fully painted house after a weekend of NOT painting is super exciting!

So there you have it...the best feeling ever revealed :)