Friday, December 5, 2008


So yesterday both of us did the StairClimb to raise money for the CFF. It was 56 floors--or 112 flights of stairs, which needless to say is a lot. I was really nervous about Gess doing it, not because I don't think that he can be active, but because he hasn't done any training and just has had a really rough year. That is one thing that I really struggle with--how to find the right line to walk with regard to encouraging exercise because I know that it is so good for him and encouraging him to take it easy and not do too much. I don't know where his exercise tolerance is or should be, and honestly I don't think that he does either.

Our team (we had 7 people total on our team) set out on the climb, going pretty slowly and making sure everyone was okay. After maybe 10 or so flights (I don't remember exactly when) one of the other guys on the team said that Gess wasn't feeling well and was going to go back down. My first instinct was to go and find him, but the friend told me not to and that our other friend was there, etc. My good friend Tasha noticed the freak-out on my face, and she said, he would want you to just finish, come on, etc., so I did. I ended up waiting a bunch with another friend, but really all I could think about was getting that thing over and finding out where he was and what was going on. Oh, and trying not to cry.

So, we finally finish and then have to wait for a long time for to even get to the elevator to go down. When we get there we are told we can walk down the stairs if we want, so we did. When we got down to the lobby no of us could find Gess and Michael (his friend). I called his cell, but then remembered that I had it with me. Then we got a text from Michael saying that they were on the next elevator down. It turns out that they didn't go back, they just rested and then went up a few flights, rested, etc.

I didn't find out until we were in the car what had happened, but apparently his lungs started bleeding. I can't believe that he walked all of those stairs in between bleeds. It makes me sad and mad and all sort of emotions at once. And I know that it was extremely hard for him--not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. He is used to be able to be pretty active, but I think that he has been feeling limited lately and I don't think that he knows what to do about it. And on my part, I know that there is nothing that I can do to make it better--it is a crappy situation. It is hard to watch this and know that there is not anything that I can do.

And then the extra dimension to this is that I am so active. I workout around 5 times a week (though I have been slacking lately) and am thinking about doing a marathon (or at least a sprint triathlon) this summer. So I am thinking about training, etc. I can't help but think that my inclination toward activity makes Gess's situation worse. I wonder if he feels "left out" or "left behind" or if my activity just highlights limitations that CF are throwing his way. I asked him this recently as part of a discussion about his negative attitude about some of my athletic pursuits and he said that he didn't think this way, but I just can't quite shake the idea.

One thing that he is always adamant about is that he doesn't want people to treat him differently, so I know that he would not want me to change what I want to do, or at least he wouldn't say that out loud, but does he? Would it be better for him if I didn't want to do all of these crazy things? I know that there isn't an answer, but today is one of those days when all of this stuff is running through my mind. CF has so many dimensions to what it affects.


Shannon said...

The only thing I can say is is Gess doesn't want people to treat him differently, he probably means it. At least I would. I was thinking about if I was in his shows and my husband exercized a lot. I think I might be envious a bit, but I would never in a milion years want him to limit his activities because of me. I'm not Gess, of course, but at least I can share my cysticy point-of-view. I think you do such a good job of trying to respect his CF. I hope as I progress my husband will be as conscientious of me.

Shannon said...

I cannot type, sorry

CowTown said...

112 flights of stairs! Very nice going.

Gess might enjoy watching you engage in all the activities and finding joy from it. My husband does pretty strenuous acitivies and loves it. I certainly can't keep up with him and I don't even try, but I love that he's getting enjoyment out of whatever floats his boat. To me it means a lot that I'm not holding him back or stopping him from anything that he loves to do. That's probably more the effect of not wanting to have myself in the way of anyone else. Independence you know!

Go for that summer marathon. Whohoo.

~ Cowtown

Amy said...

WOW holy &*&&%^&&^ 112 flights of stairs? I am coughing hacking and SOB just THINKING about it! Wow you guys rock!

I have to agree with the others. I would think that he might be jealous or envious but I wouldn't stop what you love to do. In the long run it could cause issues between him you and you. Maybe try to find a way to get him involved in your training? Might help.



Elizabeth said...

Can't believe you went up all those stairs. Can't believe it. That's amazing! I don't have a CF perspective on exercise; Will's position is that his committment to exercise (he exercised every day up to about 2 weeks before his tx and exercises whenever possible now) is a huge part of what has kept him alive (pre tx) and happy-ish/healthy-ish post tx. In our house, I'm the one that is jealous of his time to exercise. Those Sat. afternons when I am changing yet another diaper and thinking about the work week to come and off he goes to the boathouse to row. Or, worse, sunny Monday afternoons when he has the nerve to ROW PAST MY OFFICE. I haven't been in a boat since before Liam was born and won't have the time any time soon! Oh well; if it keeps him even a little healthier I'm all for it.