Happy, Sad, and Scared

Life has been a whirlwind lately.

But let’s start with the best and most exciting news of all… Mike and I got engaged! It happened on February 4th, at home, in a way that was perfectly us. I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I couldn’t be more lucky to spend the rest of my life with him.

Also, we’ve set a date! October 27, 2012. And I’ve knocked off some other crucial items (like finding the dress!).

While wedding planning was stressful at first, it has now become a wonderful and much needed distraction from other things going on in my life. Mainly, my health.

I’ve been struggling for some time now to get my lung function back into the 70s, where it was a couple years ago. So after yet another disappointing appointment, where my lung function dropped again, my doctors decided it’s time for me to do a round of antibiotics via an IV.

Tomorrow I’ll be admitted to the hospital where I’ll start a two week stint of IV antibiotics. I should (hopefully) only be there for a couple of days and will then go home to finish up the treatments. (They’ll insert a picc line into my arm and I’ll have a nurse come by every few days to check on it.)

I’ve done this once before, about seven years ago. But I don’t remember much. Considering that many CF patients go through this about once a year, I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to go this long.

That, along with “it’s only two weeks,” are the mantras I’m repeating in my head this week.

Because I’m scared. Of being in the hospital for a few days. Of needles and blood draws. Of dealing with the IV at home, away from the care of my doctors.

But mostly I’m scared of the “what ifs.” The worst one being: What if this is the beginning of the end?

And it’s not. Somewhere deep inside I know that. But for the first time in the 10 years since my diagnosis, I feel like I’m staring down my future… and it’s scary as hell.

I do my best every day to be happy. To live life without fear. To not dwell on all the “what ifs” that come with having CF. But sometimes it’s too much.

This is one of those times.

After the decision was made to do IVs I went home and let myself sulk. I cried. I yelled. Basically, I threw a giant pity party. I hadn’t done that in a while, and it felt good.

For weeks now I haven’t felt like myself. No energy. A tight chest. Lots of coughing. Becoming winded. And I’m ready to get back to being me. To going to the gym. To hanging with my friends. To enjoying my engagement. To smiling more.

It’s felt like my world has revolved around cystic fibrosis these past few weeks. And for the first time maybe ever, I’ve felt like a CF patient every day. I’m ready for that to change.

So even though I’m not looking forward to the next two weeks. Even though I’m confronting a lot of fears and shedding a lot of tears. I can’t help but look forward to coming out of this on the other side with a higher lung function and an even deeper appreciation of my life. Because it’s a damn good one.

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19 thoughts on “Happy, Sad, and Scared

  1. Wow, Katharine, talk about ups & downs! I am sorry to hear about your lung function. I realize how scary that is, and my heart aches for you. Hopefully the hospital will let/make you relax, and you can read, and maybe play on your computer & phone while you are there.
    I know I have congratulated you & Mike on your engagement, and I am thrilled for you! You are going to be such a beautiful bride, and Mike is a very lucky man!
    You are entitled to a few pity parties, but I like to hear you are going to come out of it stronger. You are an amazing woman!

  2. I was going to write: “Remember that the treatment will make you feel better and not like a CF patient all the time. Focus on all the positives in your life and not the speed bumps or the what could happen” but then I read your last paragraph. So my only advice is: have better pity parties, include ice cream!

  3. My eighth graders are reading a book called STARGIRL. In it she has two boxes on her dresser and 7 pebbles, one pebble for each day of the week. One box is for happy days and one is for sad. When she thinks about it the happy days happen the most. Good luck.

  4. I love you, Katharine! I will visualize you bringing full deep breaths into your lungs with rich oxygen to nourish you!

  5. Katharine,
    You are an amazing young woman and you inspire me to live my life to the fullest. We are here if you need anything. I look forward to hearing the wedding plans and welcoming you into our “crazy” family with open arms!
    Lots of love and hugs being sent your way!
    Marla

  6. Love you Kat! Keep your chin up and know there are sooo many people out there cheering you on and praying for you!

  7. Hang in the Katharine you are an amazing woman and have so much strength and resilience that you constantly amaze me. You have entered our lives through Steve and Renee and I feel like you are just one of the gang which makes you part of the family. If I can do anything at all please let me know!

  8. Lots of news! First, SO exciting about your engagement. CONGRATS!

    Second, I think it is completely okay to be scared/nervous for the hospitalization. And if you need PICC line help once you are home, I have taken care of L’s at home for months at a time.

    And finally, I hope your hospital stay is as smooth and comfortable as possible. I will be thinking of you!

  9. Dear Katharine,
    Congratulations first of all… congrats for your engagement and for your positive way of thinking, I am sure you will feel better if you really belive in it.

    My name is Leticia and, if you are so kind, I would like to write you… maybe you can give me an email? I would like to talk you about WikiCF.com, a wiki made for and by the own CF patients all over the World…

    All of us try to show to the rest of the CF community how you can have a better life and how you can live every single day… and OMG, you really do it! Please, contact me by email, or let me know where to write you. Meanwhile, keep enjoying your fiance and your life!

  10. Hi Katherine,
    I’m not even sure you will remember me or all the times I use to babysit you and your sister! Your mom and I have a common friend on FB and I saw that your mom had posted your most recent update from you blog. You have grown up to be such a lovely woman! I loved hearing that you pursued writing and editing. I remember your love for books and that I never had to harass you to do your homework when I would sit for you!! I remember the day when your mom told me you were diagnosed with CF. It was a heartbreaking day and I remember crying and thinking it wasn’t fair for someone so young and beautiful, with her whole life ahead of her to be given such a burden to bare. I know life mustn’t always be easy, but it appears that you are living life with grace and love! I will continue to follow your blog and wish all the happiness in the world for you and Mike! Much love.–Lisa Holt Pawluk

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