Monday, November 17, 2014

From Fall to Winter

Fall is slipping away and winter etches in a little more each day. Just last week we began noticing a beautiful layer of frost covering the ground each morning, making our morning coffee routine seem absolutely necessary and comforting. The fireplace is a blaze in the early hours just before dawn and well after sunset. The couches are littered with warm blankets with the sole purpose of snuggling. I love this time of year.

I love a fresh start that an approaching change of season exudes. For us, winter is a time of slowing down. We find ourselves at home more, in the kitchen more, sharing our time more, and relishing the slower pace of life during these months.

I haven't ran since completing the half-marathon in September. I've been nursing the knee that caused me so much grief and just finished up physical therapy a few weeks ago. I'm exploring new workouts in hopes to aiding in my running once I start up again.

I'm eagerly looking forward to Thanksgiving. This year we are hosting my side of the family at our new home and I'm so delighted. I've already begun planning the festive menu. I love to cook and I love to eat and I love to share that with my family and friends. One thing that I'm trying to hold onto is the idea of being present in the here and now. I'm trying to enjoy Thanksgiving and the harvest season rather than looking past it to Christmas. I'm not watching any Christmas themed movies, which are relentlessly playing already. I'm not changing my decor from fall/harvest to Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I truly and honestly want to take in the Thanksgiving season, The here and now.

Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Do you eat turkey or ham? Inquiring minds want to know!

So, while life is moving a tad slower these days I'm hoping to seek this space where my thoughts become text more often.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Where I Am

Today, I'm in a much different place than....say.... this time last year.

Today I listen to sad music and watch sad movies with ridiculously sad plots because for some crazy reason it makes me feel closer to death. My death. Unpleasant?!

Sure...but that's where I live and survive. Somehow the grayness pushes me to successes. The world of unpleasantries is grey with no sunshine. The world where no one survives is my reality. No one with CF comes out unscarred, or unnamed. I lose a minimum of 2 friends a week.  My world is a marry-go-around of emotions. I log onto FB or  some other social media forum and find out that another CF'er has lost their battle.  Emotions run raw.

Do I trust God? Do I seek revenge? Do I pass over it as though I've never heard their name?


God is forever good. He alone can turn devastation into love. My God is awesome.

I'm at a place of love. God has used me to show hope and promise. God has used others with and without CF to show hope and promise. Today, I'm home thinking and pondering God's journey for me. I do believe my path lies in helping those who need it. I will encourage and support.

I'm engrossed in about 10 books. All centered on God. All showing what hope is out there if we accept. I love my God.

I'm at a place of love. Of God. My reading list is all centered on God, He alone has brought me to this place. He is my salvation, no other! I hope you can trust how great my God is.

God helped me achieve my goal of completing a half marathon. I truly have no doubts.

I don't discriminate. God loves us ALL. I believe that whole heartily. God knew from the beginning of time what kind of difficulties we'd face. He is here to deliver us. Sin or Saint. I'm most certainly a sinner.

Engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage, yet I'm forgiven. Having taken drugs, yet I'm forgiven. Harboring hate in my heart, yet I'm forgiven. So, much more....yet I'm forgiven.

My God is amazing!  His love can move you. Can restore you. Whether you identify as homosexual, gay or lesbian, jew or gentile. His love is redemptive. I love ALL of God's people.

I'm in a place of reading, cooking and simply living in the presents of those who love me.

I love finding a new recipe to cook. I love setting the table for six rather than 2. I love feeding those I hold near and dear. I love all that God has provided.

I've identified as a self-mover. Meaning....I'm moved. No else could pick my feet up or my head.... just God.

The more I got to know God I came to understand how he loves us. His love is what lifted my feet and head. He alone carried me when my body was weak. He loves me enough to see my dreams come true. He rejoices as I succeeded.

I believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason. I hurt my knee during my first attempt at a half-marthon for a reason. The reason was hard to understand at first...but its for His glory. God gave me a reason to take a that I could see what had been accomplished. What so many had pushed me to achieve. I'm so grateful.

Where I am is place of worship. A place where God is completely in control. As place of understanding. Man, my God is amazing. I sure hope you spend sometime getting to know Him. To understand how much He loves YOU. To build a relationship that is so deep, nothing...I mean NOTHING...can separate you from Him.

Do you know my God?


Monday, September 22, 2014

Bucket List is One Item Shorter: Half Marathon Complete

I'm still in disbelief that I actually ran and completed 13.1 miles. I mean, healthy-non CF infected folk- struggle with running that many miles. I couldn't be prouder of myself. Yep, I'm tooting' my own horn.

I've learned so much about myself during all these years of running and training. The thing with running is that even if you have a running buddy you're still on your own. You must have the physical and mental strength to keep going. Sure, having a buddy adds a level of competition which can and does carry you but at the end of the day its just you, your body, your mind and a good pair of running shoes. I guess thats why I'm hooked on running. The self-esteem boost.

When I'm running I'm just like any other person. I'm normal in a weird way. I'm battling exhaustion, breathing, wanting to walk, etc-just like any other ordinary person. Sure, I've got a few tacks on the wall that are drastically different from the other runners, but they too have different tacks than I. Some are faced with age, some are running to lose weight and a better lifestyle, some are burning rubber to overcome injury and the list is endless. We all have our "issues". This is what makes me normal amongst all the other runners.

I was as well trained for this run as I could be given the past 12-months health issues. That said, the last 3 miles were grueling. My lungs felt amazing, I'd done my feeding for a full week leading up to the half, I only drank water for 3 days prior, I stretched my muscles the day before, etc. However, at around mile 8 or 9 my knee starting hurting. I just ran thru the pain to the next water station. It was then that I knew something was really wrong....but I wasn't ready to give up. We continued walking/running hoping the walking would help but it didn't in fact the pain got worse and worse. My usual pace is 11:30 minute miles, but with the knee pain we were more like 13:30 min/mile for the last 3 miles. I had in my mind that I wanted to finish under 3hrs, so the last 3/4 mile I ran, grimacing in pain the entire way. We finished at 2:58:34; just under 3 hours.

Many times during those miles when my knee pain seemed almost too much to handle, I thought of all my friends with CF who are facing end stage disease, waiting for new lungs, struggling with coping and so much more. There pain has no end in sight. If they can continue battling and remain hopeful then I had to finish for them. Even in unexpected pain I pushed through. I knew my pain was temporary. The finish line was in site.

Its funny because at approximately 12.5 miles my running buddy-my mother in law-says "I'm about ready to cry for you".

I looked at her with so much pain across my face and said, "don't you dare, I've still got over half a mile, I've got to keep my shit together...."

We ran in silence both reflecting on all the ups and downs of this journey. All the times I had to step back and play a deck of cards that CF dealt and how we'd pick up the pieces to start over again. Running 13.1 is not just a bucket list item its also a opportunity to prove to myself that I am capable of anything. CF can't take away my drive, passion, and determination if I don't let it. 

My grand finish was met with ugly sobbing. I cried for myself. I cried for all my friends who have passed away never getting an opportunity like this. I cried for all my friends who can barely walk around their homes with oxygen. I cried because their struggles have carried me when my body was too tired.

13.1.......just an item on a bucket list.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm Still Breathing....Promise!

Who has a blog yet doesn't write for over 3-months. Oops! Sorry, for the unannounced break. I sort of took a break from all social media. A lot happens inside social media communities, particularly one with the majority whom suffer from a terminal illness. The terminal part starts to take a toll and hit WAY to close to home.

But I've reconciled and I'm back.

Life is good over here. I'm fairly healthy. I'm training for my second attempt at a half marathon in Sept. 

The past few months I've:

Gone to physical therapy to help the muscles in my back. They spasm from coughing so much, they do what's known as muscle scrapping. Which involves taking a stainless steel tool and literally scrapping along the muscle to help the muscle fibers lay flat. I generally end up pretty bruised but I'm a believer!

I've gone on a few hikes. This was such a fun day as we hiked up Saddle Mountain. 

  (My two Sister-in-laws (left) and Mother-in-law (right))

These girls remind me to NOT take myself so seriously.  Sometimes CF is all consuming and they break me out of that, reminding me that life is about SO much more and that is OK to laugh.

Then we celebrated the 4th of July. In March we moved to a small town about 20 miles west of Portland, OR. Turns out we get a free fire work show from our front yard

Then last weekend we pedaled for 32 miles for the CF Cycle for Life. I was so honored that one of my physician rode with my extended family and myself.

I do believe that brings you up to speed. All in all I've been do fabulously. I'm also back into training for an upcoming half marathon in September. Life has me busy which is better than the alternative. 

Thanks to everyone who has emailed, text and contacted me via FB. I promise life is good!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Delayed Goals

Ever since running the 10-mile portion of the Newport Half Marathon last September I've had my heart set on completing a full half marathon. In late November I found one that was close to home with a very appealing course-so I signed up!

I had no expectations on meeting a personal record or anything more than simply running and completing on my own accord. Thru out winter I had some ups and downs with my health which delayed training to some degree but nothing that was so severe that I thought I would have to place this goal on hold.

However, in April I found myself faced with a difficult decision whilst sitting in a clinic room. A trip to the hospital in hopes to stabilize or regain lost lung function or delay said hospital stay until after the half marathon. It might sound like a no brainer to some but for me it was a decision that took me 24-hours to make after consulting my husband.

You see I have a dream to run 13.1 miles. I don't know if this will be my only chance. I don't know if I'll find myself in a dire health situation that would cause me to not be able to ever accomplish this dream. However, the hospital... the medications... the treatment... will all be there should I choose to delay by two weeks.

I just wanted to be able to put my dreams first instead of my health. I get so tired of having CF come before nearly everything. I wanted it just this one time....

With that being said, living as long as possible in as good as health as possible for my husband, my mom, my brother, my dearest friends- is and will always be more important than any race or run. The high of accomplishing this small dream is nothing in comparison to all the amazing things those in my life bring me. I want to be around and healthy enough to enjoy life with them. So, just 24-hours after being in clinic I had my bags packed for the hospital.

I had made a game play to run/walk the Hippie Chick Half on Saturday, May 10, 2014. As the date quickly approached I began to become aware of just how weak my body was from being sick. The night before the run I made a call to not participate in any fashion. With my bodies weak form coupled with uncertain weather conditions I felt it was too much to risk this early after hospitalization and home IV's.

My dream is not crushed. Its simply delayed. My spirit is not broken just a bit bummed.

I will accomplished 13.1 miles!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Great Strides 2014

Team Kari Doodlin' had a rocking year this go around. Our team fundraising goal was $750 and as of yesterday we at sitting at $1085. We've officially been Team Kari Doodlin' for two years now and we're the little team that could. We hope to raise the bar each year in both team members and donations raised.

A huge THANK YOU to all who donated and all my amazing team members. The walk is always bittersweet; remembering those who have lost their battle while striding forward to help those who are still fighting.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What a Whirlwind

B and I moved into a brand new house that we've spent the past 5-months witnessing its construction. Its been stressful, its been fun and its thrilling to call it ours.

All the anticipation of moving into a beautiful new home has come and gone. We're starting to settle in and get back into a normal routine. During the great packing expedition I sort of lost my routine and felt off track for most of the last 2 months. I was keeping up on my treatments but my exercising was more sporadic than routine. Plus all the moving is down right physically exhausting, at least for me!

This week, though, I feel I'm gaining ground on rebuilding my routine. We're living in a new town which creates new opportunities for exploring new running routes. Since the home is new we still have a few finishing touches, like building a fence for our backyard. Until that is accomplished I have to walk the dogs a couple of times a day, which is as good for me as it is them.

This weekend is the MTJME 5K. I'm excited to run around my new little town for such a great cause. Then I'm only 4 weeks away from running my first Half-Marathon. I'm nervous that this move has greatly impacted my training but I'm still gonna make the attempt and if walking is what takes me over the finish line, then I'll take it.

I'm eager to leave the whirlwind behind and settle into life in the new place.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Something to Celebrate

I'm sure many of you get tired of hearing about me running. I'm sure many are asking the question "what's the big deal?" "how many times can someone be joyous about exercise?"......RIGHT?!

I ask the same questions and the answer never changes.

Because I can! 

Because someday I won't have the capacity to exercise!

I celebrate the simple fact that I can run, I can exercise, I can get down and push my bodies limits.

Almost daily, I read about someone with CF struggling to breathe. Daily, I read that someone I share a disease with has died.

When I'm running I feel alive. My muscles burn and my heart feels like its gonna leap from my chest but I feel so incredibly alive.

When I ache from CF I feel the exact opposite, I feel weary. Running gives me perspective and I celebrate that.

Each run- no matter the distance, gives me a reason to celebrate. I achieved my goal. Each successful training session is reason to celebrate. I can't tell you how many times I've been brought to tears just because I accomplish my training goal, there is no feeling like being alive.

What's your reason to celebrate?


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Honored! Top 35 CF Blogs

I'm so honored that someone has placed me and this space where my thoughts become words as worthy enough to nominate as one of the Top 35 CF Blogs.

I started this space for therapeutic purposes but it has slowly transformed into so much more. Just as this blog has transformed so have I. I've realized the power of turning pain into purpose, strive into success and sadness into beauty.

My greatest goal for this space is to inspire my readers and fellow CF'ers to see this disease differently than the heartbreak it often brings. To see the humanity in it.

Thank you ALL, I'm tremendously honored.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5K Ghost Runner for More Than Just Me Foundation

On April 12th, 2014 I will be running a 5K around my neighborhood as a ghost runner for the More Than Just Me Foundation. I'm sure your wondering a few things.... Whats a ghost runner? What is the More Than Just Me Foundation?

The More Than Just Me Foundation (MTJM) is a great organization set up to help those with CF and their families. This foundation differs from the CF Foundation in that they support the patient and families directly rather than through funding research. Both aspects are equally important. MTJM is an active approach to assisting those in need.

Click here for more info on MTJM 

MTJM is hosting a 5k run in Florida, but since I'm in Oregon I will be running as a "ghost runner"; meaning I'll just run my little 5K anywhere that is convenient while others run in Florida. I'm seeking pledges in hopes to help those who are struggling with the financial side of CF related care. If you'd like to make a pledge to my campaign please click the link below:

More Than Just Me 5K-Pledge

I truly do think its important to support those who are struggling to pay for care. We can create new medications or new technologies to make life easier but if those who need it can't access them because of barriers such as finances then what good are they?

I look forward to seeing how much we can secure together. I'll be putting my feet to the asphalt along with $25 of my own dollars. Won't you help me help others with a $5 pledge? It's easy and only takes a few seconds: PLEDGE


Thursday, January 30, 2014

What to say?!

CF is such a funny disease. Ok, not really humorous but fascinating. Its the only disease that affects and attacks every single part of the body. Lungs, pancreas, kidneys, blood sugar, sinuses, heart, reproductive system, vitamin levels, and disfigures the fingers and toes.

You know the saying "when it rains it pours?" That saying is perfect for CF, because if one thing happens it creates a cascade affect. CF isn't like most. Once you think you know whats going on and feel as though you've got a grip its all taken right out from under your fingertips. We are constantly playing a guessing game. Dealing with and sorting through a million layers of issues.

It's felt like its pouring over here for some time now. The worst part is the feeling of being alone or that no one really understands the struggle. It seems that all anyone can say is "I am sorry" or "I know exactly how you feel" which if I'm honest is complete crap. How could you?  I get that they're trying to be empathic but the reality is that you don't know and by saying you do minimizes what I'm struggling with.

I get that its difficult to find the right words to say to someone like me. Sometimes saying nothing is SO much more powerful than a book full of words. Having someone to just listen to me, without giving advice or placing judgement, is just what's needed. I can't tell you how many times in my 31 years I've heard someone tell me "it'll all work out" or "just stay positive"; as if I'm not already doing everything I know to remain positive.

The best thing you can do to support me is take a step back, breathe and listen. I just need someone to hear me, to lend an ear and possibly a shoulder.

If you have someone close to you who is dealing with some hard medical stuff below are a few things to avoid saying.

But you don't look sick: People expect sick people to look a certain way, but 96% of chronic illness and disabilities are invisible.

You need to think positive: Um, this is just crappy. If positive thinking would cure us, we wouldn't spend billions on toxic meds and doctors. This also indicates that it's our fault we're sick because we just aren't thinking positively enough.

Get well soon: HA!

You're just depressed: Depression cannot be described as 'just depressed'; its much more than that. It's the worst feeling in the world.

You just need to take you mind off being sick: That's just not gonna happen and not helpful. The disease is apart of you. Keeping my mind on my illness is what is keeping me alive. I've got medications to remember, doctors appointments to attend, etc. It's an ingrained part of me.

You need to be strong: The strongest person in the world will have bad days. We all do, because we're human and we need to let our feeling out.

Remember, if your struggling for words you don't have to speak. We humans have many levels of communicating.  A loving smile. A soft but grounded hug. Lending our ears or shoulders.

I'm looking forward to dry soil.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Bold New World....

Managing a chronic illness is beyond time consuming. It takes every minute of every day consciously engaging to simply stay in step with a chronic illness. However, I'm always learning new ways to simply and to reduce time spend.

I was a later user of an iphone or of any phone that allowed the use of apps. I'm finding that its a bold new world, with so many options in terms of electronic organization. I've found a few apps that I really love but one in particular has really helped me!

MyFitnessPal, has been life changing. Seriously. Having to track caloric intake plus counting carbs for insulin dosage can be daunting.The App allows you to enter what your eating or scan the barcode from the huge database it also remembers/stores your foods that you enter. The best part is that as you add food it allows you too see what your calorie, carb, sugar, fat, etc counts are. It also allows for exercise to be entered. All this is based on what you've entered as your body type, exercise level, and work type (sedinary, active) or you can over-write the whole thing to enter what calorie level you want. For me, I over-wrote it as 3000+ was not a preset setting :-)

For someone who must achieve 3000+ calories a day plus give 1 unit of insulin for every 15 carbs consumed, this apps makes it so easy and simple to track. The very BEST part is that I can take this information to my doctor. They can easily access what I've been eating and if based on what I'm eating I'm getting enough insulin.

Anyways, technology is pretty cool and in this case it's helped me simplify. In addition, I feel like I'm more accurate in my calorie reporting and carb counting.

Do you have a favorite app to help simplify your health? I'd love to hear about it.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Girl, Her Thoughts and a 1000-Piece Puzzle

Ever thought a problem or thought to death? I mean, have you ever rolled something around in your head to the point of its near death?! One of my WORST habits is doing just that. I can take almost anything and trap it in my mind; roll it around, shake it up, twist it up until I've killed the very thought or at least distorted it to an unrecognizable mound of nothing or worst until its a mountain so high the top is invisible.

I'm an over-anaylizer. Not really sure how this came to fruition or its origins but sadly I am an over-thinker. If I were to guess, I would assume it has developed overtime; day by day, year by year- from living with CF. Having to be incredibly hyper vigilant about nearly everything from cleanliness to medication names, dose, time, frequency, etc along with having to critically think each step of treatment, major life decisions and more can and does place me in a frame of mind to always be fully engaged. To always be thinking and analyzing.

Occasionally my mind wonders to, what I call, the dark side. A place in my mind that is consumed with death. My death. A place where nothing I do can or will save me from the darkness that is CF. This is where my thoughts get stuck and become distorted. I try desperately not to stay in that place long. A second is too long.

As of late, the CF community has lost far too many in a short span of time. A rush of emotions and thoughts comes with each loss. Being a part of the this incredibly supportive community is a bit of a double edged sword. So much hope yet so much grief. So many bright smiles yet so much sadness. Its in these times that slipping into the darkness is easy. Its hard to see the sunlight when the shadows are close behind.

Over the years I've tried different avenues to help divert my thoughts to less critical or morbid things in hopes to give myself reprieve. As of late I'm finding that a 1000+ piece puzzle can be just the perfect distraction. I find that I go between "thinking" and hunting for that perfect puzzle piece. I like the distraction. I like that I can walk away from the puzzle and come back at anytime. I like that its sort of a memory game, remembering what shape, color and the overall puzzle picture keeps my thoughts in the present. It keeps them from staying in the darkness too long.

CF feels a lot like a puzzle. We know what the picture is. We just need all the pieces to align and match up perfectly to create a beautiful masterpiece. Just like with a real puzzle some pieces look like just the right fit but alas it wasn't, you move on to another piece to see if its the perfect fit and continue on this way until the right piece slips effortlessly into place, getting you one piece closer.

I hope beyond hope that the puzzle is finished within my lifetime. That we can look upon the giant picture to gaze upon all who fought and if one were to look closely that would see the each piece is that of a CF warrior and when viewed abstractly they also see a cure.

Just me. My thoughts. 1000+ puzzle.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Back in the Saddle….sort of!

Last week, despite feeling a bit crummy, I got swept away by all the "new year's resolution" workout pics on varies social media sites. I know… I'm not immune to peer pressure! I decided to get back in the saddle, er, lace up my running shoes. I decided to run 1-mile every other day for a total of three days. 

Wow! The first run back was ugly. I mean ugly. Its amazing to me how quickly we loose our fitness level. Sure, I've been doing yoga and weights but my goodness I was not prepared for what a slap in the face 3-months of non-running will do to ones fitness level.

I hacked, gasped and down right felt like I was never gonna catch my breath. But I did….eventually. The sweat poured off me despite the fact that the high that day was only 43 degrees. Down right ugly I tell you! I did get three days of 1-mile each under my feet. I am VERY eager to get back to where I left off and feel good after 5-6 miles, even though my fitness isn't to that level I can feel my muscles wanting it. 

But it might take longer that I really want. I ended up back in the doctors office Wednesday afternoon. I just feel crummy. I'm extremely tired most of the time, a slight increase in cough and night fevers. We settled on doing 15 days of oral antibiotics with a few days of rest.

I feel like its one foot forward and two steps back but I'm determined to get my running mojo back.

Tanner and I completing our first 1-miler! He's got WAY more stamina than I and he alone is responsible for our time of just under 10 minutes a mile. He was totally pulling me along and urging me forward to greatness. Such a good buddy!


Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Year

Its kind of refreshing to start a new year. Sort of like going to bed after a hard day and waking up to a new sunrise full of new opportunities. Unlike so many, I'm not a new years resolution kinda gal. In the past, I attempted this form of generating change but never succeed. In many ways it felt like I was setting myself up to fail. My experiences have taught me that change comes incrementally and over-time.

I so admire those who set robust goals and make it happen. I see you all at the starting line and the second the gun shot is heard signalling the race into motion you hit the pavement with all you've got- its inspiring. But I peter out. I can't hold the pace for the distance especially when the pace is new and the distance is unknown. I need to start off walking and gradually increase the pace as I conquer each lap.

This year will be better than last. I've laid a good foundation and will continue to build upon it. That's my goal. To build on what I've got. And if I'm honest, It's all I can do.

Whatever your hopes, goals, and resolutions are for 2014, I look forward to embracing this new year with you!


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