After the 2 weeks of IV antibiotics in December, which left me feeling pretty well, I was able to enjoy about a month of good health. I got back to my usual exercise routine, but within days of hitting my exercise goal of 40 minutes on the treadmill with 30 minutes of 2.5% incline I caught a cold. A lingering, annoying cold which never really left me. I thought maybe some sun and warm temps in AZ would help it move along, but that was not to be. I felt even worse out west. Ok, so maybe it was some allergy to a desert flower? Yeah, sure, that had to be it. I'll feel better when I get home. Not so. I was short of breath on the treadmill, had trouble even dragging my suitcase on wheels and couldn't get much of anything done. Two weeks and some bleeding from my lungs later I figured I better check in to Hotel MGH again. My quickest turnaround ever, a mere 3 months, something many other cystics struggle with routinely, but a new thing for me. Round 2 of me vs. stenotrophomonas and proteus.
Fortunately, the antibiotics and rest did their trick. After a week I was feeling markedly better: no more bleeding, less coughing and the shortness of breath was receding. A little oxygen on the treadmill and I was feeling like superwoman. Yeah, baby! So begins the rehab process.
I'm trying to learn from past experience that it's best not to rush back into everything at once. The mind is willing but the body unable. Joe has been very sweet and patient so it's just my own internal pressure that I need to struggle with. I have to wear oxygen on the treadmill, which is hopefully temporary. I have a new toy, an oximiter, which I place on my finger to test the level of oxygen that my blood is carrying at any given time. Over 95% is normal, and below 90-91 is too low. When some one's lungs are not functioning adequately the blood doesn't get fully oxygenated and isn't able to transport enough to supply the cells with the nutrients they need. This causes the feeling of shortness of breath. So the supplemental oxygen helps to keep the blood saturated enough to feed the muscles and other tissues. My doc and I are hoping that as my lungs continue to heal and the inflammation goes down I won't require the little extra boost, but only time will tell. There's nothing I can do other than wait and let my body do the work. I'll work on the things I can control, like resting, good nutrition and exercise, and let go of what I can't. Now I just need to keep in mind the things I can and can't control. To be continued.