Saturday, March 12, 2011

Experiencing a Pulmonary Exacerbation

Starting February 26, Ethan and I went on an 8 day vacation.  We spent four days in Disneyland and another four days in the Phoenix area for our annual Spring Training Trip.  Disneyland was non-stop.  We walked all day and didn't stop until late in the evenings. I was tired by the end of the day, but that is expected with exerting all that energy.  But by the forth day, I was just purely exhausted.  I was walking slower and just really did not want to do much in the park any more.  I took a lot of the day to just sit and enjoy the environment.  But I was so tired, I thought for sure I was getting sick.

By the time we got to Phoenix, I felt horrible.  I thought getting a good night sleep would help, but it really did not.  Soon, I started having a heavy feeling in my chest, with a shortness of breath.  I could tell me lungs were getting "junky."  Soon, I started coughing more than normal and I was still completely wiped matter how much sleep I got.  Disappointment was setting in that I picked up a cold while on vacation.

After returning home, my coughing continued, but I saw slight improvement with using my Vest again.  I continued to be tired and had a decrease in appetite.  I notified my doctor and soon started a course of stand-by Cipro.  The Cipro has really helped, as I feel my lungs are lighter and  not so clogged up, although I am still coughing.

During all of this, I made the hard realization that I did not catch a cold.  I experienced a CF related pulmonary exacerbation.  Usually, my CF symptoms are trigger by catching a cold.  But this was different.  I had no other cold symptoms...only CF related symptoms.  This may have been one of the first exacerbations not brought on by a cold.  This is hard to face...did I run myself down by doing too much at Disneyland?  Did I put my body through too much?  I have always been able to just go, go, go.  CF has presented complications in my life before, but for the most part I have always been able to push through, coming out fine in the end.  Living the most normal life I can.  But this is different. This stopped me in my tracks. Is my limit changing? How do I avoid this in the future? Is this a sign that CF will take over my life? Do I just need to be more careful?

 It is hard facing my own immortality.


  1. You know that I know what you're going through. I am seeing and feeling myself slowing down and it's not fun. Sending you lots of love and huge cyber-hugs...

  2. I know what you are going through and I'm sorry that you had that happen while you were on vacation. I know how you look forward to vacation and that's a big disappointment. I'm glad the Cipro is helping you feel better.

    Hopefully these exacerbations will be far apart. They usually start pretty far apart and then as you age and the CF progresses they get closer together. You're a young thing (lol) so you have a lot of life yet to live. Don't let it hold you back. (You know I have the same genes as you and am speaking from experience of a 50 yr old!)

  3. I hope you are feeling a lot better and I am sorry that you got sick on your vacation. That really sucks.

    I can relate because I often feel it is hard to live in the moment with CF and not be so worried about monitoring the disease's progression. I just try really hard to view each instance as an isolated event and not make assumptions about what it means. Maybe (probably) it is a bit of denial, but its how I get through it. I'm here for you if you need me!