From the Blogposts » inbox

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) for CF

Today’s guest post on a technique called osteopathic manipulative treatment is brought to us by Jill Roberts. She is a UF alumni just up the road from me, now living in Oklahoma. We “met” on Facebook via the CF connection many of us have as mutual friends and she told me about osteopathic manipulative treatment this week. I was intrigued, so I asked her some questions I had and offered her a guest post. I asked my doctor about it and he didn’t have any info on it for CF, but he didn’t warn me to not give it a try. Ask your doctors at clinic and check it out if you’re interested. That’s how it happens, so I hope you enjoy the topic as much as I did.

Patient receiving osteopathic treatmentRecently, a friend of mine was devastated because the OB-GYN who delivered her first child was now considered out of network and she couldn’t continue to go to him for her second pregnancy. She was frantically trying to find a new physician as she was 3 months pregnant. Another friend said, “Do you want to go to a MD or a DO (osteopathic physician)?” She said, “I would really prefer a MD as I have never been to a DO.” I quickly pointed out to her that the physician that she was crying over was in fact, a DO. Most people do not know the difference between a MD and a DO. The fact is that both DOs and MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. Where a DO differs from an MD is that DOs “combine today’s medical technology with their ears to listen caringly to their patients, with their eyes to see their patients as whole persons, and with their hands to diagnose and treat patients for injury and illness.”

OMT and my experience with it

I have CF and had a double lung transplant in 1997. When my health started to decline, I was hospitalized a lot for “tune-ups.” The CF center I went to was a teaching hospital for a large medical school. I grew up with MD physicians, residents, and student doctors. One time when I was hospitalized, an osteopathic resident was doing his pediatric rotation at the Children’s Hospital. He was the lone DO among a whole bunch of MDs. He developed a special interest in me and he asked my mom if she would be willing to let him try OMT (osteopathic manipulative treatment) on me. She agreed and he snuck me into a treatment room. [Read more…]

Sick and Tired – CFers Down!

Behind BarsI think 80% of my CFer friends have been working too hard, stressing out too much, or hanging out with the “sick crowd” this spring. It seems like every time I look at Twitter or Facebook, someone is going to the hospital, getting IVs, or wiped out and laying in bed.

It appears that my transparency about compliance yesterday resounded with quite a few of you who are busy. Starting my treatments back up has started a plan to not work until after lunch because getting my treatments done around 11am and then working for an hour before lunch is really no way to go about your day, so I’m using the mornings to completely take care of myself. Relaxing and doing my crap.

Doing night treatments are as big of a pain because we usually watch TV, which we can do while I do my Trio and Altera stuff, but it’s out of the question when I’m doing my Vest, although Beautiful can watch shows while I do my sinus neb if she is up by the TV.

I’ve got one more episode of Lost to go before I jump back into “24” Season 2. Everyone said to ditch Heroes after Season 2, so I can wait before finishing that season if it’s going to be my last. If ALL of my friends say it stinks after that, I have to question those who watched it until the end… maybe those are the ones not to take TV and movie advice from, eh?

So, that’s what I’ve done to completely rearrange my life to get/stay healthy. I feel a little better now, but I still feel junky in the morning. What steps are you going to take to both have a life and keep your life?

Be Compliant… or Else!

Fatboy - new shirtIt’s sad to say, but I’m talking to/about myself with this one. I’ve been writing a post for 4 days now, but I’m in a completely different state of mind now, so I’ll post it later as a reflective piece. Today, I’m kicking butt and taking names again, but Friday wasn’t so much of the same.

I went for an unscheduled clinic visit Friday because Tuesday was a day of misery. I was wheezing and whistling. Each breath was labored. I was coughing up junk with each cough and I was having dozens of spazzes every day. The only things not happening were bleeding or fever.

I was down almost 10 lbs since Feb. 18th, but I blew the same PFTs: 35%. It didn’t make sense how I could feel this bad and still have 97% O2 sats while constantly being out of breath. 97%!! I don’t have that when I feel like a friggin’ ox!

The doctor came in and took a look at my numbers and what I wasn’t doing every day came from Sue… and me. He asked, “Why?”

Chronic entrepreneur

I’ve been under a lot of stress making sure we have enough money to pay our bills each month now that Beautiful stays home. The amount our budget has gone up since I worked in the office is profound, and now we’ve subtracted her income from the mix. It sure makes budgeting easier to just say, “This is how much you need to earn this month,” but I feel the physical effects of the stress in my lungs.

[Read more…]

Not Letting Your Guard Down

I came up with a new analogy for cystic fibrosis this morning talking to Beautiful. I’ve been struggling with my breathing and nose for so long now, she is sad that she’s never seen me struggle to breathe for so long. We’d have always done IVs by now, but we are waiting until June because of my many, many resistances. Between you and me, I don’t think it will be lung functions that put me on the transplant list, it will be resistances. When they no longer have any way to fight the next infection, we sort of have no other way to turn.

Oh, my new analogy, you say? Right. I’m the bunny trail king.

World-class boxer

I can’t let my guard down. Having CF is like being a really, really good boxer. I’m sure it’s happened otherwise, but even the best boxers of all time got knocked down a good many times in their careers. What makes a difference between them and the guys who are never remembered is how hard they hit when they get back up again. My whole life has been like that Chumbawamba song: “Tubthumping,” a.k.a. I Get Knocked Down (minus the drinking and “pissing the night away”). Can you tell I graduated in 1997? You always identify most with the songs and movies of your youth.

We can enjoy the good life… for a while, but then CF comes around for another round and tries to kick the crap out of us. It usually succeeds, to a degree, knocking us on our butts and calculating our next move. The key is to keep a good head on and get up again. This is where so many people fail with dealing with CF and other chronic illnesses.

If you don’t get up, the disease wins.

If you don’t get up, you have destined yourself to a life of people either feeling sorry for you or getting on with their lives and leaving you behind to wallow in your own self-induced misery.

It’s not enough for us to wait for regular life to come around and knock us down, even though that will happen, too. We have been dealt a bad hand and I, for one, am out to see how big I can win with this hand. It’s different than just bracing yourself for the A/C going out in your car or your roof starting to leak. The stakes are bigger.

“The Plan”

You have to set up your defenses of a healthy weight, improving your immune system, staying away from sick people, doing your treatments, getting good medical care/coverage, and surrounding yourself with positive, realistic people who are on your team.

Be on the lookout for the warning signs: increased coughing, weight loss or loss of appetite, being worn down, odd smells of any sort coming from your body that all indicate a rising infection. Then contact your clinic right away to let them determine what the next steps should be in light of your history.

Call to arms

A lot of us are getting knocked down right now. I know of at least a dozen of my readers and Twitter friends who are either in the hospital now or have been in and out all Spring. I feel you. I’m right there with you, just not in the hole myself. I’ve cut back my hours working on projects, took a couple of naps this weekend, and really took some time to take care of myself to recharge for the week.

Together, we can do this.