Over the past several weeks, I have been asked some questions regarding CF. I thought I would take this blooooooog to sit down and answer them. Maybe sharing ways I deal with it can help others, and maybe there are others with CF that can contribute answers that can help me as well. So, here are four different questions I have been asked with my simple answers:
- HOW DO YOU FIGHT CF? I fight it mentally and physically. Physically, I fight it by exercising, eating healthy, and taking certain meds. These meds are pulmozyne, albuterol, and hypertonic saline (salt water). These are inhaled through a nebulizer by a compressor. It’s a basically a bong…..I smoke a bong. These three things must work together for me to stay on top of CF. If you take one of these out of the equation, it will not work and my health will fall. When I say I exercise, I don’t use that word lightly. I train consistently and with intensity. I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself. I really believe that doing this has kept me from being admitted to the hospital for nearly 25 years. My memory is not great, but I believe my last admission was at 12 years old. I started working out during my freshman year in high school, and since that time I have not been back to the hospital. I don’t think that is a coincidence. Eating healthy has done wonders as well. Not only do I feel so much better, but I can breathe a lot better too. Eating healthy helps to fuel my body to fight CF, especially in fueling it to exercise. I never liked the doctors’ and dietitians’ advice through the years to basically eat junk for the sake of getting in those calories to gain weight. With eating healthy and not eating junk, I have never had a problem with weight. Ever. Now, as far as fighting CF mentally, I’ve mentioned this in a previous blooooog that I treat it like my villain. I love superhero stuff and how the hero has to figure out the villain’s weakness to defeat him. I look at CF as my own villain and I have been figuring out over the years what his weakness is so I can defeat him. I think so far that I’m doing pretty well with that.
- HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO EXERCISE? Staying motivated to exercise can be a tough thing. It’s very easy to get bored or get burned out. This may sound weird to others with CF, but I don’t stay motivated by focusing on lab results from a doctor visit. I don’t focus on that. Don’t get me wrong….it is motivating to see my lung function reach 100%. Instead, I focus on my training and results I can see from that. Can I sprint up a hill ten times? Can I run a 5k? Can I deadlift 300 lbs? I get more motivation from reaching my training goals than anything in a doctor’s office. As mentioned before, I’ve been exercising, working out, training since high school. I’m 37 now and am still doing it. One thing I love is variety. Doing different things has kept it fresh. If I went in every week and did squats, deadlifts, and bench press….that’s enough to bore me. I make sure I change things up often. Sometimes, I’ll do a program for a month and then do something different. Sometimes I’ll do a program for 6-8 weeks and then I’ll do something different. I am currently finishing up a 3 month training program that is focused on strength with the sumo deadlift, specifically. Not only is variety important, but rest is just as important. I am always careful that I’m not constantly going and going and going with no time of rest. Not only a day or two of rest during the week of training, but resting after a training program as well. When I finish this 3 month program this week, I am going to slow down a bit and do a de-load week to give my body a chance to recover from 3 months of hard training. Programming rest into your training is called “periodization,” and this is just as important as training itself. Another thing to help me stay motivated is setting goals. That’s how I begin when I sit down to write a program for myself. I think about what goals I want to accomplish: strength goals, cardio goals, distance goals, beating record times, etc. Setting goals and beating these goals helps me to see results and keeps me motivated.
- IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC YOU HAVE CUT OUT OF YOUR DIET DUE TO HAVING CF? IF SO, WHY, AND REPLACEMENTS? I have never been to the point that I had to stop eating or drinking something because of CF, but I do feel it’s important to limit things so my health will not suffer. The very first thing that comes to mind is Soda pop. Pop is not good for anybody….we all know that. It is definitely not good for me, with having CF. Drinking pop contributes to diabetes, which is a problem for Cfers. It also can hurt your liver, which is also a problem for CFers. The one thing I notice immediately when I drink it is the dehydration. It just dries out my chest and makes me cough. It’s harder to breathe. This can last for hours. Pop is probably my biggest weakness. It tastes soooo good. Why do all the bad things for you taste so good? It took me a long time to get to the point that I have it limited in my nutrition. The best replacement for pop is water. Water is the best thing you could ever drink. It keeps you hydrated and keeps your cells energized. I personally believe it helps me to breathe easier as well.
- HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR DAYS WITH CF? I have a full-time job as a welder and I have a wife and two kids. Managing CF can be tiring. As mentioned earlier, I work out and take meds. I want to do all of this without throwing my family to the side. That’s why I am building a gym at home. I don’t want to spend time driving to a gym and driving back after a workout. Instead, simply going outside to the garage and getting my workout in quickly is better. I currently work 2nd shift. So, here’s a usual day during the week for me: I get up at 8am, eat breakfast with family. Workout from around 9:30 -10:30am. Then I take my meds for about 30 minutes. Hang out with the family until I have to go to work. If I can I Get a little power nap for 20-30 minutes before work. Go to work and do a shift for 9-10 hours. Come home and settle down before going to bed. That’s a basic day during the week. The weekends are different. It’s a little more laid back and not as scheduled. With managing CF, I make sure I workout 5-6 days out of the week.
I appreciate these questions that you have asked over the past several weeks. If you have any other questions you’d like to ask, you can ask them via the comments section or via email in the “contact” section. When I get more in the future, I’ll post another Q&A blooooog. Until then,