It’s been three days since my last check-up and I still have three bruises from the three different times they tried to draw blood from me. I’m pretty sure my veins are tired of being poked and prodded, that’s why they hide and roll when it’s time to go into action.
A few months before this appointment, my nerves started to get to me. It happens every time. You would think that after 21 years of going to the doctor on a consistent basis that it would be just “one of those things”. But it’s not. Satan likes to tell me lies when he knows I’m the most vulnerable. He knows I’m susceptible to believing Him when I’m scared.
How does he do this?
Just a couple of weeks before my appointment, I began having dreams about needing a lung transplant, a feeding tube, even death. I tried to talk to those I was close to about it, but I think it was hard for them to understand and/or comprehend what I was going through. It honestly doesn’t seem real-that those things could actually happen to me. No one could find anything to say that helped me. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that from those that I talked to-I really just wanted someone to listen and show they cared (I am so thankful for those of you that were willing to listen to me and let me cry in your presence). For weeks, I put my guard down and immediately I was frightened by the “what-if’s”.
Thankfully, after I began to seek The Lord consistently and specifically about this situation, I knew that those “what-if’s” were just that, and I prayerfully asked God to speak His truth into my life. I prayed circles around a peace of mind for my appointment and for a good report from my new doctor. After spending a week in NYC on vacation, I knew I couldn’t handle disappointment (although I knew if I needed to, I could with God’s help).
The dreams eventually stopped with the excitement of our trip to New York coming up. I couldn’t focus on my appointment! But still, every once in a while, those fears would creep back in. So I changed the verse that I was memorizing last week to Isaiah 25:1, “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”
That verse helped me to remember that no matter what happened at the appointment, that God was still in control. He is faithful to us, even when we are not faithful to Him. That’s a huge blessing in itself!
The day of my appointment, my family and I went to Cracker Barrel so I could eat a big breakfast before getting on the scale. I remember sitting at the table, munching on my turkey bacon and multi-grain and granola pancakes, and thinking about how much peace I had about my appointment. It felt almost as if it wasn’t real that I was going to the doctor that day. My heart flooded with praise to The Lord for answering my prayer.
As soon as we ate breakfast, we were on our way. I immediately started drinking water so that my veins would open up for the blood draw. I brought a blanket in with me to my appointment so I could keep warm for the same reason (we’ve done a lot of research on how to prepare for a blood draw-yes, it’s a big deal).
The first person I met on my new CF care team was the nurse, who asked just basic questions about myself for my chart. I then met with the social worker and we talked about insurance (and how much we hate it). Then I went to do my PFT (pulmonary lung function test-measures how well the lungs take in and receive air; a healthy person normally gets about 120%). The first three times I did it, I got 90%, 90%, and 87%. My baseline is 90% (meaning: any lower than that and it’s time for the hospital), so I was frustrated. Kristi (who was helping me with the test), could tell, so she asked if I wanted one more shot at it. Of course I did. I blew as hard as I could into that machine, and still got 90%. Ugh. I miss the days where I could get 110%.
I then got to meet the dietitian! I was so excited to meet her. It was the first time that I had seen an RD for myself since I changed my major to nutrition. She was concerned because my BMI is an 18.2. Since you may not be familiar with what that means, a normal BMI (Body Mass Index-a measure of body fat based off of height and weight) is 18.5-24.9. So my BMI is considered to be in the “nutritional failure” category.
My weight was 109 pounds. I normally fluctuate between 105-110, so I was glad to be near the top of that range! However, my ideal weight is 133 pounds….
So after explaining to the RD how I absolutely love fruits and veggies and not so much brownies, cookies, donuts, or anything really sweet, I told her how I try to add fat to the things I like. She seemed impressed and was glad to see that I do what I can to eat fatty things as well as eat healthier. She was concerned though, that since I’m a nutrition major and based off of the food I eat, that I would be focused more on eating healthy rather than gaining weight. But my mom assured her that I had always been this way and I always had a VERY healthy appetite 🙂
Next, she asked me about my enzyme intake. Ehhh. I’m not so good at that. I’m supposed to take 2-3 enzymes with high caloric snacks and 5-7 with meals. But if you know me and you know how much I eat in a day, then you might understand how hard it would be for me to remember to take enzymes every time I eat. IT’S HARD. But, I’m getting better. It’s easier for me to remember at meals, so I have to work on remembering when I snack. So if you happen to see me one day and I’m eating something, ask me if I’ve had my enzymes. Please and thank you 🙂
Finally, the last thing the RD asked about was exercise. I don’t think I’ve ever said this on my blog, but I hate exercise. I never have the desire to go the gym. I used to! I used to enjoy running too, but not so much anymore. But, Karli got a bike a few weeks ago. I decided that looked like fun and she needed a buddy, so I told the RD that I had planned on buying a bike (and using it regularly) as soon as I got back home. She agreed that was a good plan. (I would just like to say, I bought the bike yesterday and Karli and I have enjoyed several rides on it already! It’s sometimes a struggle for me to keep up with Karli, but it’s a challenge, and I enjoy those).
Next, my new doctor, Dr. Burk came in with his nurse practitioner. His handshake was firm, and I knew right away that I liked him. My dad commented later that he knew he liked him as well because of his handshake and his handmade Western belt buckle. LOL.
Dr. Burk asked both my parents and I to tell him my story. So my parents started out with how I was diagnosed and what the doctors told my parents to expect since I had this deadly disease- basically no life. Dr. Burk turned to me and said, “That shows you how wrong we can be sometimes.” I smiled and nodded. I liked him.
Then I proceeded to tell him how I eventually decided to not take my medications and how I ended up in the hospital for the first time since I was five. I told him how it’s always been an uphill battle for me. I struggle to do what’s best for me. He understood. “Age-appropriate inappropriate behavior,” he said. I nodded, and told him that I really do desire to be healthy and take my medications consistently. I told him how well I have done this summer, but that it’s hard during the school year.
When he found out that I want to eventually help other CF patients as an RD, he basically told me that I have to learn to practice what I preach. He’s right. I can’t go around telling other patients to take their enzymes when I can’t remember to take my own. As silly as it sounds, I had never thought of it like that. I guess I had always assumed that I would “grow up” by the time I needed to. But if I think about it, I have two semesters of college left. I think it’s high time to “grow up”.
Dr. Burk wasn’t concerned about my PFT being at 90%. He said we need to focus on preservation. The fact that my previous PFT test was 93% isn’t huge change.
Before leaving the clinic for my blood-draw and chest x-ray, Dr. Burk said to me, “I expect big things from you.” I smiled, and in my head I replied, “Challenge accepted.”