Monday, April 14, 2014

Defining Moments

We all have them.  Those moments in our life that change us forever.  They have shaped us into who we are at this very given moment.  They make us see the world differently.

Hemoptysis is the coughing up of blood or blood stained mucus from the respiratory tract: lungs, bronchi, trachea. Infection is thought to be the main cause of hemoptysis.  Bronchial arteries become swollen and inflamed in response to an infection, causing them to burst and bleed.  Hempotysis can also be caused from damage to tissue and blood vessels in the lungs due to infection and scarring caused by CF.

A moment that changed my entire world?  November 1, 2O13.  It baffles me that I can remember the date so well when most days I can't remember what I ate for breakfast.  Anyhow, that day will forever be imprinted in my mind and have changed the way I see the world.

I was at a CF clinic visit for a regular check up.  I had been doing fine, living my life as I always had: not thinking about or giving attention to my CF, whatsoever.  I was done with my appointment and waiting in my room for my nurse to return.  I remember having a tickle in my throat and trying to clear it away by coughing.  It didn't go away.  I remember thinking, "hmmm, that's odd" and tried to clear my throat again.  This time I walked to the mirror in the room, opened my mouth to see what I had coughed up, and out came a stream of blood from my mouth.  I continued to cough and the blood just kept coming.  Defining moment? Yes, I have never been more terrified in my life.

Since then, I have continued to have episodes of hemoptysis, ranging from times when the blood seems to just pour from my lips, to just blood streaked mucus.  Coughing up blood and blood sitting in the lungs causes the airways to become inflamed, or as I like to say, "angry," and is a breeding ground for infection.  It seems my lungs have been angry a lot in the last year and a half. Can't we all just get along?

The Good
What do I also remember about that day besides being terrified?  The gentle touch, genuine care, and kindness of my nurse who asked me, "are you scared?" as I tried my best to hold back tears.  My doctors who so urgently came to care for me, evaluate me, and make sure things were stable.  And the other members of my CF team who came to make sure I was ok.  In my mind, I can still see each one of their faces that day. Why this hemoptysis suddenly happened then and there none of us will ever know, but I am so thankful that it did happen there of any place.

That day changed my life forever. [How cliché]. It made me realize I have no control over the future, what a gift today is, and how every relationship in my life is so dear.  I will be grateful for each breath I am given and make the very best of it all.

Thank you to my CF Team.  I am so grateful for each and every one of you.  You each mean the world to me and feel like my family.  Thank you.  Love to you all.

What are your defining moments?

1 comment:

  1. Your courage and openness and gratefulness are inspiring, Ashley - thanks for sharing - praying that days like this are few and far between for you.