Friday, May 28, 2010

stretching my lungs...

So today was supposed to be an exercise day... but since Zach has had his wisdom teeth pulled just a week ago, we are postponing our after work exercise date until tomorrow. Zach instead is going back to the oral surgeon for a follow up from his surgery. He is doing really well by the way- no complications and starting to eat somewhat normally again!!!
All of this exercise stuff started a few weeks ago when I got tired of feeling sorry for myself and decided to do something about it!

Growing up I was a fairly active child... I did what I wanted and never really had any trouble... I played just as hard as any child and could keep up with the best of them! I played a few sports in school, skipped around from team to team as I was not really the dedicated athlete type... Ienjoyed sports that my high school didn't have at the time so I played intermural sports (i.e. volleyball) and really loved it! Then on to college I went (Go Lancers!), still trying to stay active and in addition to this added a heavy class load, a part time job, and freedom (meaning I had to learn how to discipline myself to keep up with classes and good grades!) On top of all of this I would get sick from time to time... slowing me down a little bit. My college years consisted of assistant coaching basketball and playing volleyball still, and then I took up running in the mornings. I loved it- it was a high and I could pace myself and have time to myself. I did some of my best thinking during my runs.

Then my health took a turn and I was out of commission for quite some time.
My lungs decided to bring me down a notch or two and remind me who's boss... I experienced major bleeding in my right lung- this of course landed me in the hospital for a few weeks. Things pretty much stopped for me at that point. There was so much damage to my lungs after this episode, it took me about a year to regain just the iron that my body lost due to all the blood loss and the fear of a repeat episode kept me grounded. Very grounded. So much so that all of my activity ceased. I went back to school and my main focus was just to graduate at that point, so I poured all of myself into my studies, my organizations and regaining my strength.
It has been this way now for just over 10 years. My pft's have slowly and steadily declined during this time. So much so that I have taken to allowing Oxygen into my house "just in case". Admittedly I push myself, because I am stubborn and don't want to be dependant on the O2, however knowing it is there if I really do need it somehow keeps me calm.

So flash forward to a few weeks ago and a conversation with my husband that through a lot of my tears and sobbing about how out of shape I am and how I miss being able to just keep up anymore... the fact that my own stair case at home is something that I dred because I know I can't just run up them or even walk slowly up them without stopping midway just to cough and hack... is very depressing to me. If any of you know my husband, you know that he is very atheletic and I am very proud of him for that. I love that about him. And I never ever want to resent him for it... Zach usually runs each morning- this is the very first thing he does. Then every other day he works out at work during lunch in thier gym. The days he doesn't work out he works out with me, but I will get to that in a moment. Zach also mountan bikes competitivly... so some evenings after work he heads out to the trail to ride and he has a race schedule on weekends as well. I am very proud of him and all that he does to stay in shape and to do the things he enjoys.
This said, I am amazed at how patient and understanding Zach is with me. He never makes me feel lazy or inadequate. He never laughs at me or gets tired of waiting for me. When I have trouble on the stairs he waits by my side. He really is my rock, and my encourager.

So our conversation, went something like this...
Me: honey, I really want to try getting some exercise on a regular basis. Zach: Oh? I thought we got exercise on a regular basis (he's smirking while he says this and has that twinkle in his eye...). Me: NOT THAT KIND OF EXERCISE! of course that is great exercise, but I sort of meant in addition to that... Zach: Oh, well good, for a minute there I thought we were going to be one of those couples that had to "schedule" that sort of exercise!

Okay, so he's sort of a nut, but I love that nut and we are still technically newlyweds!
Anyway... Zach has helped me come up with a plan for exercising and getting myself back into some sort of shape so I dont turn into a bid dumb knot on a log.
I think it is a pretty good plan too... on the days that he is not working out at the gym, he is helping me work out- sort of his cool down days. We do this twice a week, for about an hour. he has a whole routine for me- including stretching, treadmill, basic exercises, and bike riding!

The caveat to all of this exercising is this: I know that my lungs are never going to be in the shape they were in years ago, but with Zach's patience and a little help from some extra oxygen- I can still feel good about myself and know that I am trying and not just giving up to Cystic Fibrosis. There is literally nothing else wrong with my body except for my lungs and that is so frustrating to me. I have decided once again to take charge of myself and not let CF win. So what if I have to hook up to some O2! That is what it's there for! Now that I am comfortable with that, I feel like I can do anything again and that is a great feeling. I feel like Zach and I are both doing something together that we enjoy, and it is making me a better person. I love him so much for that!
I have decided that on my "off" days I will build yoga back into the schedule. I used to do this religiously to help keep my breathing under control and to expand my breathing techniques so that when my lungs would flare up I would have this weapon in my aresenal to fight back with. I think it is time to start fighting back again!
Zach has given me something to strive for again. A long life with him. This is my goal. This is why I do the things that I do each day. This is why I fight now. For him and the life we want to have together. Exercise is just one way of making sure we reach that goal together. There are many more reasons ... but I will save them for another day!
Until then, laugh hard-breathe deep- live well!

~Audrey Kay