If we get any more rain I’m going to need a buy a kayak…
Planning ahead sort of seems like a counterintuitive thing when you’re living with an unpredictable terminal illness, but it’s an essential part of life. Day-to-day success of my treatment routine revolves around my ability to look at times when I know I can get my treatments done. The morning is easiest, I just wake up however early I need to, to get them done before the rest of my day starts. The evening is when things get a bit more difficult – when is dinner, what am I doing after dinner? Am I going out or staying in? Planning ahead allows me to align the variables with a time to do my treatments. Beyond day-to-day planning, much of my working life revolves around my ability to plan ahead. My fall and spring seasons are jam packed with work trips, and my winter hockey season isn’t the kind of thing that can be settled upon last second. Looking at September and October alone, I’ll be heading to the DC area, Southern California, Tennessee and Atlantic City all for work related trips. I do get a kick out of traveling for work, but it’s definitely a stressful thing when I consider the unpredictability of CF. Just last spring, I ended up getting pretty sick the week before I was due to leave for Tampa Bay for a CF talk. It was gut wrenching for me. Moments like that, when something is planned so far in advance, but my health gets in the way, are when I resent my CF the most. The sudden changes are the ones that are the most difficult to overcome, and outwardly seem as if they are a deterrence to planning ahead. We all know, however, that forgoing future plans is a hindrance to life, and more specifically, in my life, a threat to a successful career. So how do I maintain a balance here? Well I try to schedule things when I know my health generally trends upward. Looking at the past several years, I consistently tend to get sick at the end of winter or around Memorial Day and then the end of the summer. Now I know those points aren’t set in stone, and for all I know I could (HOPEFULLY!!!) make it through those trouble zones unscathed. But when I’m planning way out ahead for some work trips or something of the like, I avoid those points in the year when my health has historically slumped and then hope for the best! This year, however, I have a road trip planned with my girlfriend for the end of the summer… something that was a bit more spontaneous which leads me to…
Spontaneity is a friend and foe. Sometimes it’s easier to spontaneously plan something or just go for it. About a week or so ago my girlfriend and I decided we should go on a summer trip. My health is in a good place and we could take a little time off before things start to get crazy in September. We were able to take advantage of a few online deals and plan a road trip through American history during the end of August. We’re heading to Gettysburg, Antietam, Arlington and DC. As I said above, the end of the summer is generally when I show some signs of declining health, but all systems seem to be in the green, so we’re going to go for it! The difference between this trip and some of my aforementioned work trips is that I’m looking at my short-term health for the road trip, whereas I was looking at long-term health trends for the work trips. Since there happens to be a break in the trend, a time when things are better than they have been in years past, I’m going to be a little spontaneous and take advantage of it. Spontaneity, however, isn’t something I rely on. My career and general success in life is built upon a balance between spontaneity and planning ahead. I think it’s important to know WHEN it’s appropriate to be spontaneous, while long-term success is predicated on being able to look at long-term goals and achievements. Planning is essential… spontaneity is a luxury.
Announcing a New Guest Column
My blog has been going through quite the transformation recently. We’ve added our first ever guest column – Drug Development Wednesday – and now we’re about to add another! My girlfriend is going to take her experiences a significant other and a trained social worker/psychotherapist to start a column of her own beginning on Wednesday! She’ll write a mix of blogs about emotional health and the girlfriend perspective. I hope to continue our extensive conversation about emotional health in CF with her column as well as hopefully answering a few questions about CF and relationships. If you want to hear anything specific from her, make sure you let us know in the comments!