Saturday, December 31, 2016

That's a wrap on 2016

Well, that's another year come and gone in the blink of an eye.  Why or why does time speed by so fast?  Days seem to drag on but years fly by.

So, in bidding farewell to 2016 and welcoming 2017.  Here are my favorite things from 2016.  (of course I have no idea what I did this year - I have to refer back to pictures!)

16.  A snow day with the pups:

15.  The Great Strides Walk in Augusta, GA.  So thankful for my family and friends that support me!

14.  Exploring Louisville and the Bourbon Trail with great friends

13.  Going to the WV State Fair with Uncle Charles & Aunt Aura

12. Justin Bieber Concert with my sisters...and running through the rain!

11.  Celebrating our 10th Anniversary in Puerto Rico

10.  Enjoying Christmas at our cabin in WV with the Currys - dinner at The Greenbrier!

9.  The fact that our cabin was finished!!! Still need furniture but its becoming my favorite place in the world!  Love to "River Sit" with the pups!

8.  Loved every minute of our Ireland trip!

7.  All of my visits with Adam & Allie!!

6.  Getting all of my siblings in one picture!!

5.  Being able to help some lost pups!
Zoey & Scamp were reunited with their owners!
Will found this sweet angel on the exit ramp of the interstate :(
I called him Blue because of his gorgeous blue eyes.  I fell in love and still miss him, but we found him a wonderful forever home.

4.  Fun with friends all year long.

3.  These kids get another favorite spot ;)

2.  My bulldogs are always a highlight of every day :)

1.  And getting to spend another year with my better half!!

I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us.  Hopefully another year of good health, happiness, love and fun!!!

ENT Round 3 Postponed

You may recall from my previous post that I was going to the voice box specialist the following week.  Well, that didn't happen.  Here's the long version.....

The following Monday, I was with my CF doctor at the Medical College while she gave her annual presentation on Cystic Fibrosis.  I was there to give my usual first hand knowledge ;)  As always, I had a great time!!  I love medical students and their eagerness to learn.  As I was driving my doctor back to her office, my phone rang and it was the hospital number.  I ignored and sent to VM.

I said farewell to my doctor and headed back home to finish my daily adventures.  Upon listening to the voicemail, it was the ENT office calling to say that they contacted my insurance and was told that it would be an out-of-network visit.

**Side note:  I get my insurance through my husband's company.  We've have Blue Cross Blue Shield of GA for the last 5-6 years, but due to the 144% increase in insurance costs, they switched to United Healthcare effective 12/1/2016.  Prior to my ENT appointment, I went on UHC's site and verified my coverage and in-network status of the doctor.**

So, I proceeded to call the nice billing specialist and talk about the issue.  She had spoken with the carrier and was told my coverage did not include them in-network.  I then spent nearly 2 hours on the phone with UHC.  They too informed me that it would be an out of network visit.  I had them check my CF doctor (at the same hospital system) and was told she too would be out of network.  And then I was not happy!  The kind CSR checked the ENT I had already been to that month, and he was out of network.  I had her check my dermatologist and gynecologist - all out of network.  WTF?!  How can this be - their website told me it was in-network?  I got disconnected and had to call back - and was told the same thing by another CSR.  However, she said she was not fully trained on the new system and wanted to be sure she was telling me correct info.  She was to go to training on Tuesday and then call me back on Wednesday (the day of my appointment) with any information.  What could I do but agree at this point in the day.

Then, the next day (Tuesday) - I called to postpone my appointment as I wasn't sure what the results would be.  We also got my husband's HR Manager involved which then had me chatting with the insurance broker.  Thank heavens for my HR background and insurance knowledge or I would have been a lost cause.  The broker advised we wait to see if the CSR called back on Wednesday and we would plan from there.  I agreed.

Wednesday - no call back from the CSR.  So by noon, I let the broker know and he would start researching on his end.  I called UHC to see if I could get my contact on the phone, but of course being a big call center that was not possible.  So, I chatted and went through the whole drawn out saga with the new CSR.  Miraculously, she told me that the other CSRs were incorrect.  The claim for my ENT visit last week was processed as in-network.  She verified all my doctors...and they were all IN NETWORK.  Now, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I've been told 2 totally different versions by the same company! AHHH!!  This lovely lady said the others were not matching my particular plan to the doctor.  She said that the online system was correct because it knew my plan and that I could trust that.  So, she kindly called the ENT office and spoke with the billing specialist to let her know it would be in-network and covered.

Now, I'm going to trust that the final CSR is correct.  I have an appointment scheduled for next week with the ENT and we shall see how that goes!  Fingers crossed!!  Stay tuned for updates on my voice :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ENT Round 2

Yesterday was my 6 month follow up at the ENT (original visit here).  The fellow that was working with my doctor came in first and instantly thought my voice was still showing symptoms of dysphonia.  Weird - he never heard me speak before that day.  So, they wanted to scope me and take a peak to see how things looked.

Happily, the sinuses looked fabulous.  I was thinking they might be screwed up some from that God-awful sinus infection.  But nope!  The doctor questioned me having CF  I again confirmed my diagnosis and treatments.  He did say that the nodules are still on my vocal cords.  He asked if I had been yelling lately.  Nope - nothing different.  I do talk a lot but I'm not yelling and screaming.  Maybe I've been singing too loud in the car?!?!  

So, he said he would refer me to the voice box doctor in their group.  He would be able to get a better look at the nodules and help with a plan of treatment (if there is one).  So, I was released from the ENT!! I won't have to go back unless I have sinus problems in the future.  I will continue to take the Prilosec but can get that through my CF doctor.

I've set up an appointment with the voice box doctor next week!  Woohoo!  We shall see if they can figure out what's going on with my vocal cords.  

In all honestly, I don't really even notice the difference in my voice anymore.  But apparently its hoarse sounding to the professional ears ;)

This whole thing makes me think about Pitch Perfect when she has nodes! LOL .  Maybe if mine have to be removed I will be able to carry a tone! Wishful thinking!!

Oh, and I was a big girl for the scope!  I didn't have to drag my mom along this time.  I don't think they left the cotton swabs up my nose as long this time cause I felt a little bit more, but it wasn't painful.  I did almost gag when I felt it in my throat...haha!  

Breaking bad habits

Oops...just found this.  Thought I posted on 11/29!

Well, I think I'm finally feeling back to myself! Unfortunately, my lazy ass still has not gone back to they gym.  Uhh.  Don't they say that if you do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit?  Well, its been over 21 days of no gym, so have I formed a new habit?  I hope not!!

November has been a whirlwind.  I was fighting a sinus infection so that took up the beginning of the month, then I spent a week in Indiana visiting my nephew and niece, followed by Thanksgiving week at our cabin in WV.  I'm pooped!  I had a blast though and wouldn't trade my busy life for anything in the world.

Here are some pics from my adventures:
Me & Adam trying on hats at the store
Me & Allie hanging out
Thanksgiving Dinner
Playing International Rummy with the fam
Stella & T-Bone looking suspicious
Sarge soaking up the warmth by the fire
Hell froze over - they snuggled on the car ride home!!

I also developed some more bad habits while I was away.  I haven't been vesting.  I even drug the thing up to WV (not to Indiana since I flew).  But, so much excitement and things to do, I kept saying I'd do it later then never did.  I WILL GO DO IT AS SOON AS I FINISH WITH THIS BLOG!

While away, I started Cayston...lots of drama there with insurance.  I'll save that for another time.

So, I'm back home.  I'm trying to get back in my old routine of being a good CFer!  

And I need to get my Christmas shopping done.  Only bought 4 presents so far...uh oh!

Friday, November 4, 2016

CF Updates

Greetings friends!

I had the pleasure of going to my quarterly CF appointment on Tuesday.  It was originally scheduled for 11/15 but being that my sinus funk is still lingering around, I wanted to move it up a bit.  (the original funk started here)

I finished my round of Cipro on 10/29.  And still had a head full of congestion, sore throat and ears. Bummer.  I thought I was starting to feel better for a split second, but it didn't last.  Thankfully, my lungs were still feeling good :)  We were at our cabin in WV that weekend and I skipped my vest and HTS, but thankfully didn't suffer.

So, I headed in to the doc on Tuesday.  My PFTs are holding stable so that makes me happy!  More on that in a minute.  During my exam, she could see there was still fluid in my ears along with my red throat.  Plus my face was super puffy and my eyes felt as if they were going to pop out of my head.

So, the plan of attack is this:

1) Take Levaquin 750mg for 14 days
2) Get back on my Claritin daily  (I had started missing here and there)
3) Get nasal spray! (WTF?! I panicked at the the ENT now I'm supposed to do this on my own!?)
4) Get back on track with my vitamins and Calcium (yes, been slacking here too)
5) DO MY VEST EVERY DAY (recommended 4 times daily...I chuckled).

Why am I slacking on something as simple as taking a vitamin?  Well, there is no excuse other than laziness.  I typically have a pill container that holds a week supply...but with adding the Prilosec, they don't all fit, so I stopped filling it up.  And therefore, I forget to take them.  Sigh :(

And for the vest...I simply haven't been in the mood.  I know, I know.  But when I'm not feeling 100%  I just want to lay on the couch and vegetate.  I don't want to be shaken!  But, I WILL be better!  So far, so good for the week (for once a day, anyway) :)

We have our plan of attack and I will be a good little CFer.  I swear I started feeling better on Wednesday morning already!  I even have done nasal spray twice a day! Who am I? haha I bought 2 types, the 1st was a gel (which I didn't realize til I got home).  Eeek, that was horrible, so I went and bought an ultra fine mist.  I like that better.

An interesting fact about the change of antibiotics.  So, the lovely bacteria that grow in my lungs also will be in my sinuses (I never really thought about that).  So the Cipro doesn't do much for Stenotrophamonas!  Imagine that?  So, the Levaquin is a much stronger guy and should be able to help me.  We are avoiding Bactrim for the obvious allergy issue (post here).  Here's to hoping this sinus infection gets the hell out of here!!

So, onto PFTs.  I decided it would be fun to go back to 2015 and 2014 of this time of year to see where I've been before and how I'm maintaining.

                         11/1/16       8/16/16         11/3/15         12/10/14
FVC                  99%               99%                  98%                    97%
FEV1                89%               88%                  89%                    85%  
FEV25-75%     69%               64%                  68%                    52%

It's actually kind of cool to see that I'm steady, but maybe even up just a smidge (especially in the small airways - FEV25-75%).  Could this be a result of actually using my vest?!  All the shaking could be paying off and actually making my airways better?!?  That's pretty cool.  I guess I shall continue with the beast and look back next year at this time and see what's going on!

(side note - I'm currently off of Cayston)

And why not end with a Halloween pictures of my precious bullies.  Sarge and Stella are WVU Mountaineers and T-Bone is the "rufferee"!  Oh, how I love them :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The funky funk

The funk is back in the house.  Hopefully not for long.

I got my flu shot last Thursday (exactly a week ago).  I have never in my life experienced any side effects from the shot...except my arm being a little sore.  Well that night, I felt horrible.  I was achy, my arm was throbbing and I just wanted to curl into a ball on the couch.

Friday I felt great and drove to Tennessee and enjoyed the weekend (more on the fun day I had with my nephew at another time). Sunday I got up bright and early to drive back home.  I was a bit tired but figured that was cause I woke up at 5:30am which I never do!

Monday I was LAZY!  No motivation to get up and hit the gym as normal, so I slept in.  Tuesday I actually made it to the gym but didn't have my usual energy.  Wednesday was another lazy Monday.  Then, last night I woke up around 1:45am and my throat was killing me, my ears felt like they had water in them, and I was blowing my nose like crazy.

So, when I woke up this morning (late again, turned my alarm off rather than getting up for the gym), I decided to go to the local Doctors Care Clinic.  They did a strep test that was negative, checked my ears (which had fluid behind my ear drums), and listened to my lung (which were clear!!!).  So, she gave me an antibiotic and cough syrup to treat a sinus infection.

I of course reached out to my CF doctor to let her know what was going on. She decided to change the antibiotic to Cipro (750mg twice a day for 10 days), and said not to use the cough syrup as its a suppressant, which isn't good for us CFers.

I've been lazy all day.  I don't feel horrible, but I'm definitely not myself.  My throat is a bit sore still and ears feel funny.  Lets hope this crap get the heck out of here.  I miss my enjoyment of the gym!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Yoga Pants, why have you forsaken me?

Have you noticed how more and more popular it is to wear yoga pants or workout gear just because? You don't even have to be going to or from the gym and its perfectly acceptable.  This makes me happy.  I love nothing more than wearing my stretchy yoga pants...well, I really like my big baggy sweats too!

You will find me changing out of my gym clothes after working out, just to put on another workout type of outfit.  On the really hot days in the summer, I'll put on my Nike shorts (which also have the joyous elastic waist too)!  It's great!

I very rarely have to actually put myself together any more.  The joys of being a stay-at-home bulldog mom!  And when we go to our cabin in WV, there are days I don't even put on makeup! Ahhh, the life!

However, I have run into a problem with my beloved yoga pants....

Those suckers are deceiving!! You have no idea if you have gained or lost weight...they always fit!! Yes this is good, but its also very bad.  I discovered that my selection of non-yoga pants don't fit like they used to...and its not cause I've shrunk.  Not cool!

I've been fooled into thinking that I can chow down on my candy and still have my clothes fit.  Damnit!!  It's false.  Don't be fooled by these wolves in sheep clothing.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Europe Trip

Will and I just had the pleasure of a 12 day trip to Europe...and to say it was fantastic is an understatement.  Our journey began with a quick stop in London.  Our hotel was right by Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.  So we did lots of walking that day exploring the city.

Westminster Abbey
Big Ben
Buckingham Palace 
We couldn't get in the gates :(  The Queen must have forgot I was coming to town.

Then, we headed to Dublin to meet up with some friends.  Here are some of the highlights:

Going to the Boston College vs GA Tech Football was a bit rainy.
Dana is hard to spell

Yep - met Chris Soules (only you Bachelor fans would recognize him :))  He was super sweet!

Malahide Castle

The Irish Sea

Will got stuck with some of the ladies bags ;)
I loved the Sheep!

Stuffing my usual!
Last dinner in Dublin
Photo courtesy of Erin...loved this shot!
Will and I headed back to London for another day before our flight back to the US.  Love the view from our hotel room.

I cannot wait to get back to Ireland. The sites were beautiful, people so kind and welcoming.  I loved it!!  Next time, gonna hit the west coast...can't wait!!!

For those I did not take my vest, but I did bring my new Aerobika.  I wasn't perfect and didn't use it every day but I tried.  There was tons of walking so I got some exercise in at least!

CF Appointment 3.14.19

And just like that, another 3 months has passed by.  I headed to my CF appointment on Wednesday, March 13th. I saw lots of my favorite peo...