I remember as a child proudly proclaiming that “I am going to be the longest living person with Cystic Fibrosis”. In hindsight, I had no idea what I was talking about. From my point of view as a 6 year old with no responsibilities or obligation, hospital visits were some what of a vacation. If I was going to be sick, I might as well hang out in a place with no school, games all day (if I was well enough), fun nurses and family to play with me, and all the chicken fingers for lunch if I wanted. Oh, and the best part, I got AS MUCH pudding as I wanted. From what I remember, it was great! The hospital also had an effect on my dreams. I guess you could say that my love of the lime light was sparked on my 5th birthday. I had my picture in the paper with Santa! I was a star of the hospital! That year I had also been stricken with strep to such a degree that my fingers were pealing and I remained in the hospital until Christmas eve. All through High School I was whippin’ butt and taking names! I did my vest 2 times a day religiously, and if I had a lot of homework, I did it 3 times. Beat that, SUCKAS! My vest was the only thing that could keep me sitting for more than 5 minutes. I thought about explaining the details and technicalities of The Vest, but check out the pictures, if their worth a thousand words, I’ll save you some reading time (see bottom of page for a good idea of the aesthetics).
After high school, I went to college.
I moved to London to study in my first semester. They were some of the most seriously Awesome Awesome Awesome 4 months I've ever had. I kept up with my routine. When I got back to the wonderful nation that I proudly call home (the U.S.A), I started to NOT ‘shake‘. (“Shake”- verb meaning to use ‘The Vest’; Derived from the motion generated by movement of air throughout the Vest that creates a shaking motion). The vest is clearly an attention grabbing treatment. If you were sitting in the room, and someone's ensemble suddenly inflated, you'd notice. :) Although ALL of my roommates I have ever had knew all about my CF, and they were completely comfortable, I still felt like the Hunchback of Notre Dame every time I inflated. I didn’t have any private space, and I always loved to have people at our dorm or apartment. All of this combined led to me skipping treatments. I began to get sluggish, very tired and I just did not feel like myself. I needed to do something about it, but I didn’t know what.
When the second semester of my sophomore year ended, I went home for the summer. I needed a change; I needed to take control of my health. I spent the summer raising my new puppy, Stella. I also started taking classes at Neumann University, and I was getting back into a Vest routine. As it turns out, I loved Neumann, so I transferred universities after the summer session.
Now a days, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is back on! I love love love Neumann University, and I am getting back into my old 'vest-happy' self. If the pictures didn’t answer your questions: ‘The Vest‘ is a treatment at home that takes measures to clear the lungs. You see, CFers are susceptible to getting colds and virus’ that reek havoc in the lungs. One has to be careful not to get strep throat, the flu, and to stay away from the common cold, because even that could do some damage. To help out with all these invaders, there are many ways to clear the lungs of the bacteria and mucus. (CF is not a disease for the dainty). ‘The Vest’ is my weapon of choice.
Now a days I’m a pretty healthy ‘CFer’. I have had my stays in the hospital, and ‘picc’ lines at home. For the past decade or so, I’ve been pretty stable. I had a check up with my doctor just before I started training for Cycling and I am in good health. I look forward to comparing my lung functions throughout my training to see what difference this treatment is making.
Here are some friends shakin it up:
(1) Zach : All is good
(2) Me: Getting my shake on
(3) Ali : Shaking the giggles out
(4) Adam : Multi - tasking