Gunnar Gunnar Esiason

All articles by Gunnar

 

Making it Matter Ep. #43 – Our College Roommates

It’s that time of year – high school is winding down, seniors are graduating and the next wave of kids with cystic fibrosis are about to head off to college. While it certainly is an exciting time in a young person’s life, it can also be pretty stressful, especially for parents as they send their...
Continue reading...  

My Cystic Fibrosis Diet

Earlier this week I got an email from a reader asking me whether or not I adhere to a diet plan, and if so, what does it look like? If you know me personally, you know I am anything but a foodie – I have the palate of a 6 year old and I’m really pretty...
Continue reading...  

Common Sense: Chronic Illness Version

As I’ve gotten older (and seemingly wiser), I’ve come to realize that certain things are common sense as they relate to living with a chronic illness. It has gotten to the point where I take them for granted – I know this because from time to time I’ll drop in on cystic fibrosis Facebook communities,...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #42 – Bouncing Back

Julia and I take a question this week that asks us how we bounce back after we get sick. We note that people with CF, regardless of how well they take care of themselves are always going to be at risk of developing an active infection or feeling under the weather. It can be frustrating...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: A Reflection

Throughout the second half of May I ran my Cystic Fibrosis Around the World blog series. My goal behind the project was to compare the “patient” experience among people living with CF across the globe and learn about the different types of care offered. It was really a culmination of many weeks of interviews and...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #41 – Being a Mother With Cystic Fibrosis

Sabrina Smith-Walker, 30 with cystic fibrosis from Alaska, joins the podcast. Her story is nothing short of amazing. After graduating high school she was diagnosed with cancer, which she went on to beat. From there she talks about her marriage and healthy lifestyle. Ultimately the podcast settles into Sabrina talking about her being a loving...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: United States of America

Here we are, back home in the United States. I hope this blog post is really as informative for our international followers as it is for people living across the US. I think it would be irresponsible of me to say that two interviews could represent the feelings of all the people living with CF...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: Australia

We head to Australia as the first leg of Cystic Fibrosis Around the World begins to wrap up. Tomorrow I will post my American interviews, then write a recap blog later in the week (probably Friday) where I will reflect on everything I’ve learned throughout the project so far. We will then pick up the blog...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: Spain and Denmark

We head to Spain and Denmark in today’s Cystic Fibrosis Around the World blog post. The interviews that came back from each country were both a bit brief, so I felt it appropriate to combine the two. I think this way of doing things actually serves to point out some significant differences despite the relative...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #40 – Coming To Grips With A Terminal Illness

No one loves to talk about death, but it is something that surrounds people with cystic fibrosis. Really it surrounds us all, but in a world that thrives on precise information, people tie themselves to a number – the life expectancy. It’s no secret how I feel about that statistic, but the idea of death in conjunction...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: the United Kingdom

We head to the United Kingdom to take a look at cystic fibrosis care in the next installment of Cystic Fibrosis Around the World. Today you’ll meet William Marler, 22 years old living with CF, from Birmingham, England. William and I have gotten to know each other a bit over the past couple of months...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands is our next stop for Cystic Fibrosis Around the World. The group of islands, located in the Caribbean, is officially designated as a territory of the United States. According to the interview the known cystic fibrosis patient population is 1. I’d love to find out more about that statistic, though. St....
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: Macedonia

We head to Skopje, Macedonia to open up the second week of Cystic Fibrosis Around the World. Macedonia is a landlocked country located in the Balkans, just north of Greece. It is a relatively young country as it gained its independence from the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 90’s. Somewhat of a language barrier...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: Canada

We head to our second commonwealth country, Canada, to wrap up the first week of Cystic Fibrosis Around the World. A study comparing cystic fibrosis outcomes in Canada and the US was one of my motivations in starting this project, so I wanted to talk to a few of my northern neighbors. Today you’ll meet Amanda Turkiewicz,...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: Israel

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World heads to the Middle East to learn about CF care in Israel. Israel, Anonymous teenager living with CF (completed interview with help from a parent). About how many people in your country have cystic fibrosis? 600 Do people in your country know what CF is? Many have heard of the...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #39 – Cystic Fibrosis in the UK

William Marler, 22 with cystic fibrosis from Birmingham, England, joins the podcast to talk about his efforts in raising CF awareness on an international level. From his animated short film “PEP Mask,” to his upcoming podcast series Straight From the Lungs to his London Marathon run in 2015, William has shown that it is possible...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: the Netherlands

Today we head to Northern Europe – the Netherlands. Please note the brackets [] indicate an edit for spelling or language. the Netherlands, Anonymous child living with CF (parent completed interview). About how many people in your country have cystic fibrosis? On average 1500 people Do people in your country know what CF is? Some...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: Russia

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World takes us to Russia today. Please note that the brackets [] indicate an edit I made for spelling or language.  Moscow, Russia – Anna 6 years old living with cystic fibrosis (parent completed interview) About how many people in your country have cystic fibrosis? In 2015 officially 2916 patients were...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Around the World: South Africa

Today I am launching a daily blog series called Cystic Fibrosis Around the World that will run for the next week or so (and hopefully continue as more people get in touch with me). This in response to a blog post I wrote in March that remarked on a study comparing disease outcomes between patients...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #38 – Both Salty Cysters

Both Lea Faraone and Tiffany Rich, both living with CF, just on different sides of the country, join us on the podcast this week. Together, they are the Salty Cysters, a social media brand designed to spread awareness and raise money for the fight against cystic fibrosis. Tiffany is the recent recipient of a double...
Continue reading...  

I Made A Travel Error

I did something pretty stupid last week, which almost led to a catastrophe. One of my best friends is getting married in a couple of weeks, so we went down to Austin last week for his bachelor party. In a lot of ways, it seems like a large part of my life has been spent...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #37 – Communicating About Cystic Fibrosis

Julia and I discuss the importance of being able to openly communicate about cystic fibrosis with other people. Expanding the support system to include friends, teachers, teammates, school administrators, college professors, roommates and coworkers (just to name a few) can be vital to a person’s success in coping with CF. While it may not always be...
Continue reading...  

11 Times I Have Been Judged for Having Cystic Fibrosis

Well, May is here so that means it is the start of Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, or in other words, a chance for us to jam as much CF content down your throat as possible so that you hopefully come away with some inclination of what it is like to live with CF and why...
Continue reading...  

It is Okay to Ask for Help!

Last week Julia Rae and I invited Marge Carfora, 34 with cystic fibrosis, onto the Making it Matter Podcast to talk to her about her amazing path through life 13 years post double lung transplant. Since being transplanted near the turn of the millennium, Marge has faced a number of complications associated with post transplant...
Continue reading...  

Can Social Media Be a Dangerous Place for People With Chronic Illness?

Is there such a thing as over sharing on social media? Yes there is. More and more frequently do we see different influencers come into the social media space and try to take our information and use it in unique ways. It’s really not too difficult of a task for someone (an employer) to paint...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #36 – Cystic Fibrosis, Transplant and Motherhood

Margaret Carfora embodies the word perseverance. In honor of National Donate Life Month, Julia and I invited Marge, 34 living with cystic fibrosis, onto the podcast to talk about her life 13 years post-double lung transplant. Her second chance at life has not been without adversity as she’s had to face PTLD, Cervical Cancer and Breast...
Continue reading...  

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

I got a question from a reader not too long ago that asked: “What do you do when you are just so sick and fed up of being sick?” Sick of being sick, isn’t that a hell of a thing? Well it’s true. I don’t care how resilient or tough you are, this feeling is...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #35 – Tips for Kids with Cystic Fibrosis

Julia and I take a question from a listener this week who asks if we have a few strategies for getting kids with CF to stay compliant with their medications. We start off with a few points about taking pills (especially in bulk), then move on to the rest of CF treatments. We want to...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #34 – Josh’s #24hrs4CF Fitness Challenge

Josh Llewellyn-Jones joins the podcast this week to talk about his #24hrs4CF Fitness Challenge. In July Josh, 29 living with cystic fibrosis in Cardiff, Wales, plans to complete a 100-mile cycle, 10-mile run, 10-mile row, 10 miles of cross training, two-mile swim, lifting 100 tons, 3,000 sit-ups, 1,000 push-ups and 1,000 squats in under 24...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #33 – Coming to Grips With Cystic Fibrosis

In this episode, Julia and I talk about the moments that we each “realized” that we would be living with cystic fibrosis for the rest of our lives. We are able to point to a specific moment when we both felt a change occur. For Julia it was in first grade, and me when I...
Continue reading...  

A Review of “When Breath Becomes Air” From Someone Living With Lung Disease

I just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and have since felt a strong urge to write about it… so here we are. The book, which has been a New York Times Bestseller seemingly since it came out last year, is a memoir about a resident neurosurgeon’s path through a stage IV...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #32 – Cystic Fibrosis and Fitness

Last week I challenged Julia to a fitness test. I wanted to know who could be the fastest to complete 500 sit-ups, and thus the Making it Matter Fitness Challenge was born. Tune in this week’s podcast not only to find out who won, but also to listen to Julia and I talk about why exercise is...
Continue reading...  

“A Little Blood Makes a Big Cloud”

If you’ve seen Get Him to The Greek then you understand the reference I’m making in the title here. If not then well…. I guess you have to see the movie – it’s hilarious. A couple hours ago I had just thrown on some sweats, packed my hockey bag and was about to hit the...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Step-by-Step: Building a Treatment Routine

In this Cystic Fibrosis Step-By-Step video, I talk about the importance of building a daily treatment routine. CF care can be very complex so it is important to simply it as much as possible – my favorite strategy is to build a routine. Check out the video to learn a little bit about my routine...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #31 – Julia Recovers From the Stomach Flu

The past few days for Julia have been rough! She was dealing with the stomach flu, but now she’s better (yay!). So in order to get her back on her feet, we decide to launch the first ever Making it Matter Fitness Challenge. Our fitness challenge finds its roots in this week’s Making it Matter...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Survival Rates in the United States vs. Canada

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that “the median age of survival [is] 10 years higher [for CF patients] in Canada than the United States.” If you’re wrapped up in the world of cystic fibrosis news like I am then you’ve probably seen this study floating around the Internet for the past 18 hours....
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #30 – Living with a Roommate

When people with cystic fibrosis head off to college the big decision is whether or not to live with a roommate. If we choose to live with roommates, for many of us it will be the first time we are very much sharing our cystic fibrosis with someone else. The need to perform treatments complicates...
Continue reading...  

Cystic Fibrosis Step by Step: What is Cystic Fibrosis?

In the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s new educational program, Cystic Fibrosis Step by Step with Gunnar Esiason, some of the BEF cystic fibrosis advocates explain what CF means to them…. outside the scientific definition.  ...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #29 – Top Do’s and Don’ts of College With Cystic Fibrosis

In a question to Julia and I, a mother whose daughter, with CF, is headed off to college asks for a few tips to help the transition. More specifically, she asks for the top 10 things Julia and I wish we each had or had not done during our first year of college. We discuss...
Continue reading...  

Celebrating What it Means to Live a Life

Well the Oscars certainly didn’t disappoint. I’ll get to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in a second, but first I want to talk about Viola Davis’ acceptance speech. For those of you keeping score at home Ms. Davis won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her part in Fences. I haven’t...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #28 – The Chronic Side of Cystic Fibrosis

From CF sinus surgeries to hemoptysis, Julia and I discuss a few reoccurring challenges that can pop up. Julia is a veteran of two sinus surgeries, so she explains how she was able to overcome her fear of anesthesia and accept the mission of the procedure. She has learned how to weigh the predicted benefits against any reservations...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #27 – Can Drug Development be a Stress Point?

  Drug discovery and development in the cystic fibrosis community is moving at an incredible pace. With that, though, comes a feel of stress or anxiety as the science behind all of this is both complex and constantly moving through seemingly never ending clinical trials. For people on the outside looking in, me included, it’s...
Continue reading...  

Do People With Cystic Fibrosis Experience FOMO?

Full disclosure here; I’m writing this while doing my treatments. In fact, I just stuck a syringe into a vial of sterile water, drew some out and then injected it into vial containing powdered medicine. Chemistry. I was snowed in last Thursday, so I found myself involved in a live Twitter Q&A with the Dana-Farber...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #26 – How Chronic Illness May Limit a Vacation

Julia and I talk about some of our experiences with taking “social” vacations with our other 20-something friends. Sometimes trips are not designed to be relaxing, rather they go full speed with little time for treatments and rest, like a bachelor party or a trip to a music festival, for example, so we talk about a...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #25 – Salty Cysters

Lea Faraone, from the Salty Cysters, joins the podcast today to talk about her life with cystic fibrosis. Yesterday was my every 3 month CF research appointment ??? For the past 3 years I've been traveling to Boston every 3 months to receive a research medication that has been life changing for me (this is...
Continue reading...  

Did Science Find an Answer to the Lack of Organ Donors?

As it turns out the future is now. From National Geographic: In a remarkable—if likely controversial—feat, scientists announced today that they have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs.   This...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #24 – Dealing with Disease Progression

Julia and I take a question from my most recent Facebook Live on the Boomer Esiason Foundation page, which asks about the progression of cystic fibrosis and how we deal with it. Since cystic fibrosis is a progressive disease, it can take an emotional toll over time as symptoms sometimes get worse and harder to...
Continue reading...  

Perseverance, Resiliency and Erin Andrews

This morning I came across a story on MMQB about unbelievable year Erin Andrews is having. As many may know, Erin Andrews, NFL on Fox’s lead sideline reporter, had been dealing with a crazed stalker in court. I cannot even imagine the stress that must have come along with that, but it was finally settled...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #23 – How Are You Feeling?

  Today’s topic comes from a listener whose boyfriend has cystic fibrosis and she wants Julia and I to discuss the “How are you feeling?” question. “How are you feeling?” That’s a question we with chronic illness hear quite frequently, but how does it make us feel? Are people being sincere when they ask? Is...
Continue reading...  

Making it Matter Ep. #22 – Cystic Fibrosis in the Workplace

Julia and I take a question from a listener whose son has CF. She wants to know what Julia and I think about telling a potential employer about CF, and how to go about doing it. There are a few ways to handle this, so we draw on a few past experiences when we have, and...
Continue reading...