Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rise & Shine

Listen.  Do you hear it? It's the sound of a beautiful new day beginning.

Everyone has their normal routine they live by, whether it be consciously set or not.  Think of your morning.  Do you drink coffee first and then shower? Or do you check your email, shower, eat breakfast?

Your routine doesn't stop there though! It continues on throughout your day until the fresh beginning of tomorrow morning's sunrise.

Have you thought through your daily routine? Now try adding this into your usual routine of work, school, and family: set your alarm for 45 minutes earlier, set aside 45 minutes in your late afternoon, and carve out 45 minutes before you go to bed.  How would that impact your day?

My day begins in my little black chair doing a VEST treatment and Nebs.  Most mornings I would love to stay in bed for that extra 45 minutes, but I know CF doesn't take a day off, so either can I.

What is the VEST?

The VEST is an airway clearance device that uses High-Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation [mini-coughs] to dislodge mucus from the bronchial walls in hopes that the mucus will be easier to clear.  Mucus settled deep in the airways is a breeding ground for infection, thus making the mobilization of mucus so important to maintaining the progression of CF.

Say What? I know, it's hard to explain.

Imagine wearing a life jacket that fills with air and shakes up to 25 times per second for 3O minutes straight.  One might think, "that would be a great time to read, write, or do homework." Sadly, I have not mastered the art of reading and writing while being shaken so vigorously.

Inhaled nebs are another crucial part of my CF regimen.  Four different inhaled nebs accompany each VEST treatment, taking about 45 minutes for completion each time.
   -Bronchodilator: Opens up airways
   -2 types of Mucolytics: Thins mucus
   -Antibiotics: Fights CF bacteria and infection

A date with my little black chair.
Full days mean neb treatments in the car

As Cystic Fibrosis progresses so does the need for more treatments during the day.   Currently I do 3 treatments a day for a total of 2 + hours a day spent in my little black chair.   During times of exacerbation and infection, more VEST and neb treatments are necessary. As time rolls around for my next treatment, my lungs are usually craving a good shaking.  I am not going to lie, sometimes I feel like I am chained to that chair, but I know it's helping to keep me alive.

Today is going to be a very full, but beautiful day, so I must rise and shine!  Today is another day I get to breath.

What do you rise and shine for in the morning?


  1. Ashley,
    Thank you for sharing what you are going through. You are answering questions I have wanted to ask you but didn't. I had a basic understanding of CF and now I understand the full impact it has on your life. I am so proud of how bravely you are battling CF.
    Love you,

  2. Ashley,
    I was blessed to attend Nursing School with your husband Mark. Your blog has brought life to my life! Your outlook on life is so bright! I am so happy you have decided to blog about your daily life and are so open and intimate with having CF. May God continue to bless you and keep you, and may His light shine upon your face daily!

    Jena Mahoney