Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beautiful Mountains & Deep Valleys

Take a moment and imagine a breathtaking mountain scape: blue skies, snow capped peaks, and rushing brooks.
A photo from my time in Bavaria.

Imagine yourself picking up a stone along your walking path.  Imagine the trees next to you; the smell of pine.  Feel the sun streaming through the trees and the sound of the birds singing their songs.  Imagine that moment when you come upon a "scenic lookout." Whatever the altitude, there is beauty.  

When looking back at the last year alone my PFTs represent a great mountain scape.  Today, I had an appointment with part of my team and added another "scenic lookout" to my mountain vista.

My Mountain Scape
What are PFTs?
Pulmonary Function Tests are used to test the health of the lungs.  They compare the lung function of a person with CF to the predicted values of a person similar in weight, age, and gender who has healthy lungs. There are several specific things a PFT measures [FEV1, FVC, FEF25-75],  but the "scenic outlooks" I always look at are the FVC and FEV1.

FVC [L] - the Forced Vital Capacity is the total amount of air you can take in and blow out.
FEV1 [L]- the Forced Expired Volume is the amount of air you can blow out in 1 second. 

What is an example of normal?

FEV1 - 8O% and higher

Decreased lung function is a primary cause of CF.  A sudden decline in PFTs can be a sign of infection and progressing lung damage.  PFTs are done to help my team and I know the needed course of treatment.  As I have seen in the last year and a half, lung function is easy to lose, terribly hard to regain, and more importantly maintain as my CF continues to assert its presence. 

Today's Scenic Lookout - Beautiful
My FEV1 was at 5O%. Meaning my lungs today are functioning at half of what a female my age's should.  The lowest my FEV1 has ever been is 36%.  Who knew numbers could carry so much meaning? 

5O% has never been a more beautiful number.  It has been a long time since I have seen that number, and I have fought tirelessly for every percent of it.
Each beautiful element is necessary to create the entire magnificent landscape.  The smallest pebble helps build the strongest mountains, and the deepest valleys make the mountains soar even taller. 

I WILL continue to climb this mountain: valuing each extra ounce of breath as a true gift, always aware of the valley below.  Love to you all.

Take the time to reflect today on the beauty of the mountain range that is your life.

What "scenic lookouts"influence your mountain scape?

1 comment:

  1. Ashley, I am truly amazed how you can look at so many different parts of this disease and see such beauty! You are amazing! Love reading each post! LeAnn