If you’ve been following the Capturing CF Facebook page you’ll know I’ve being taking part in the A-Z of Cystic Fibrosis. If you haven’t been following the Capturing CF Facebook page then I encourage you to check it out!
I found U a hard letter. It failed to inspire a CF themed and interesting topic. As it’s been a while since I blogged I thought I would write a U sponsored blog post and give you an update about my exercising and K+ trial adventures.
Drumroll please… I can now officially run 5km. Yes, the rumour is true. There are still a few cough stops and sometimes the hills get the better of me but I can do it.
Surprisingly, of late, I have been running WITH PEOPLE. I strongly prefer to exercise solo so the number of witnesses to my coughing is minimised. It turns out that there is a 5km fun run not too far from home every week. I’ve been completing it with three friends and two hundred or so other people who happily arise and do exercise prior to 9am on a Saturday morning. Just turning up and giving it a go amongst the multitudes was a big step for me.
Although it feels like I’m running fast, in actual fact, I think a snail could probably overtake me if it put in some effort. My first fun run effort saw me finish in third last place. The next week I pipped one other person at the post and moved up to fourth last. Yesterday I shaved eight seconds off my time and came in fifteenth last. How did I achieve this miraculous feat you ask? Well, there’s a really old dude who looks about eighty years old whom I’ve glimpsed shuffling ahead of, and away, from me each week. He looks like he’s hardly moving but it must be a clever optical illusion because I cannot for the life of me catch up to him. Yesterday I still didn’t catch up but there was less distance between us and I held it pretty much the whole way. He’s my mark and I’m reeling him in. One day in about ten years I just might be able to take the lead off him.
As I plod along eighty year olds and five year olds stream past me as do parents effortlessly pushing triplets in strollers. One of the friends I run with could do the course twice and still be waiting at the finish line for me.
Despite the above, I am consciously choosing to give myself a pat on the back for my efforts. Six months ago I would have had trouble walking up the big hill in the park. I would have had to slow right down and concentrate on my breathing all the way to the top and then needed a few minutes to rest and recover. I still can’t run up that hill – my nemesis – but I can power walk up it, turn around and run down again straight away. When I started running I could only run for thirty seconds at a time. I can now run for more than thirty minutes non-stop. Running used to be terribly hard work that I forced myself to do. I now look forward to pushing myself. My lungs used to be the limiting factor. My lungs and the rest of my body are on a more level playing field now. My cough stops have decreased. My pace has increased. There are many positives. Of course I am impatient for more positives but I’m trying to be happy with these for the moment.
I am in week six of the known real deal trial and Dave is in week nine. We haven’t noticed anything particularly dramatic, our hair hasn’t turned blue or anything… but we are both feeling well. Really well. Surprisingly well. With no extraordinary effort. In fact I have been able to be a little less dogmatic about my treatment by knocking ten minutes off here or there or even skipping a session now and again with no immediate ill effects.
There has been an objective improvement too. I am usually a yoyo lung function performer as you can see from the chart below. However, the green circle highlights my efforts whilst on the K+ trial over the last six months. I think you’ll agree that my lung function is freakishly, wondrously stable. I have a sneaking suspicion there’ll be more of it, I can feel it in my bones.
I’ll keep you posted.