Operation Exacerbation

Rule Number One that I hear myself telling people who are bummed out about their illness, whatever it is, is to remember, “there is more right with you than wrong with you.

And that’s true, right?  Think about it, by some miracle you are here on this earth, breathing, most likely able to walk around, enjoy food, listen to good music, pet your dog, watch Survivor…

Why is that?  Because most of the 100 trillion cells in the body, each of which are probably performing thousands of events per second, are actually doing their jobs perfectly well right now.  If not; well, you would not likely be reading this.

Now I’m not preaching here.  I am mostly writing this for my own edification, because I just learned that I am now infected with MRSA in my lungs.  I really can’t convey in words what happened in my consciousness when I learned of this last week.  Maybe you know the feeling that really bad news carries with it.  The sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach, the tight chest and throat, the heart racing and the blood draining from seemingly everywhere…  Sh_t!

Then the anger, and the self-pity arrive.  Sh_t (again)!  Why me, why now?  This is a REALLY bad time for this.  I’ve got plans, Universe!

And then, the tears.

So, now I’m officially a CF Pariah.  Gown, glove and mask everyone…here comes Julie.  Man, I’m pissed.  And of course, really what I am is scared.  What does this mean?  Is my CF going to get worse?  Will the freakin IV’s even work this time?

So, I allowed this to go on for a couple of hours.  Then, I was better.  Then, it came back with a full and serious vengeance over several days.  And now, finally, I’ve decided to respond instead of reacting.  Or at least…to try.

The first thing that came to my mind was to write the post I was going to write before the fateful telephone call.  It seemed to me that writing about having a “positive exacerbation” could only be credible if it were to be created during an exacerbation.

So, even though this is a slightly unusual (for me) situation, it is most certainly a “CF adverse event” and just as certainly would be best handled with a positive attitude.

Here are a few things I do to make my three weeks of IV’s…my “home vacation:”

1) First, since I can’t exercise strenuously, I don’t.  I legitimately and compassionately stop pushing myself.  A gentle walk every day that I feel like it is about as hard as I’ll push these days.  After the port goes in and the PICC comes out today, my arms will be free at last, free at last.  So as I feel stronger…I’m back to those kettlebells!  Have I told you about my favorite new exercise?  Something else to post about.

2) I have incredible friends who have been incredibly kind.  I will appreciate them every day, in some way.  By telling them what they mean to me, I will add positive energy to their world and mine.

3) Sometimes it takes a real blow to the illusion of stability to wake me up.  This has been a great one.  I will resolve to appreciate what is good in my life.  The best way I’ve done that in the past is to keep a gratitude journal, and vow to write in it every night three good things that happened that day.

4) I have a post that I have been writing in my head for weeks now about the growing importance of meditation in my life.  I have been trying to figure out how to stress this without sounding like a preacher…hence the silence about meditation.  But it has been SO key for me this last week, that I will write this post.  It will be the next one.  I will pour my soul into it, for both myself and for those two or three readers I have:-).

So if you like this plan, or if you have some suggestions, or if you’d like to share how you deal with your own “operation exacerbation,” please leave a comment!

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5 Responses to “Operation Exacerbation”
  1. Nathan says:

    Hi Julie,

    I found your blog a few days ago, and I first want to say – IT’S GREAT!!! I am 32 with CF, and like you, I really enjoy exercise and believe it has helped me stay in relatively good health. I also have been getting into meditation and learning more about Buddhist philosophy, though I have only scratched the surface so far.

    Your plan for dealing with your infection sounds like a good one. Thinking about how meditation might play a roll, I think your idea of seeing it as a “positive exacerbation” is a good one. You might even try to see your suffering with this infection as a way to help relieve the suffering of others with CF with MRSA infections. Through your experience, you can help show others how to overcome a MRSA infection both physically and mentally. In this way, you could definitely turn this into a positive exacerbation. You can be the guide for the rest of us.

    That said, take care of yourself, and I look forward to reading your next post!

  2. Julie Desch says:

    What an excellent idea. I am trying to make it positive, and there are some positive aspects to it. Giving myself a break is sort of a treat:-)
    Thanks for your comment…I like your idea.

  3. Joan says:

    Julie, I began culturing MRSA in the last couple of years. I’m sorry you have it but really appreciate your good attitude! I take Bactrim DS 2x/day and that’s helped a lot. Pamper yourself and please keep writing!

  4. Julie Desch says:

    Thanks! I’m feeling much better after the IV’s. Back to jogging (slogging) again:-) I do like the idea of pampering myself, though….

  5. Kori Tolbert says:

    Hi Julie,
    I could absolutely relate to this post. AND your attitude to be with your news and your life now.
    It’s all we have. Our lives now.
    Here’s to you and the strong life you continue to lead.

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