Thursday, September 8, 2016

Go Twins!

[Blog post written by Mark Bonnema]

It’s been a bit of a rough go for our favorite sports team at the Ballou-Bonnema household. The Minnesota Twins recently lost 13 games in a row.

Some of the losses were bad. Real bad, like 15 to 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays, or 10 to 0 against the Kansas City Royals. Some of the losses were SO close, like a 1-0 loss in 10 innings against the Cleveland Indians. And some losses were heart wrenching, like being up 7runs to 5 runs late in the game, only to blow the lead and suffer another loss.

Whichever way they lost, whether in spectacular or heart wrenching form, Ashley and I still tuned in. Radio, tv,, you name it, we have the Twins schedule cued up and it’s a staple background sound to be heard in our household. Win, lose, or otherwise, we cannot help but support and love our favorite team. I can’t think of anything they could or could not do to make us stop watching or supporting (but don’t take that as a challenge, you Twins, lets not go for a 14 game losing streak…)

Sometimes watching Ashley live with CF has some similarities with watching the Twins play baseball every day. There are times Ashley is doing great, her health is wonderful, and she has no hesitations or second thoughts about doing anything. Life just flows naturally. Its like when the Twins are playing good ball, winning ball – hitting home runs, advancing the runners, getting their pitches, and painting the corners of the strike zone to the opposing team’s hitters. 

But, as the Twins losing streak reminds us, there are times that life doesn’t flow so easily or naturally when living with CF. When Ashley has a flare up and needs to take antibiotics, her joints often hurt so badly in the morning that she hates to think about getting out of bed; the mucous in her lungs is deep and tenacious, forcing frequent and painful coughs in order to clear it; infection steals her vitality and tenacity making everyday tasks an overwhelming chore.

When the Twins are down, hopefully all they need is to come out of their slump, get their heads in the game, and start making plays. Perhaps a home run or double play is all that is needed to reverse their fortunes. Ashley often has to work much harder to correct the course of her health when she is in a “slump.” It can take weeks, if not many months of extra treatments, IV antibiotics, and avoiding all potential sources of viral or bacterial infection.

Even when the Twins are down, we never stop watching, cheering, and rooting them on. We just can’t help but tune in, because we love them. The same goes for Ashley. She and I both know that we have the most wonderful and supportive, unconditional group of supporters rooting, cheering, and constantly working for the best care and treatments for Ashley. Whether her heath is on the “winning” or “losing” side, you guys are always tuned-in. You are even better than the most avid Twins fans, and for that we thank you.

Good news. The Twins won a game on Thursday night, September 1, 2016. They ended their losing streak when they beat the Chicago White Sox 8 to 5.  

In even better news - it's been a winning season here in the Ballou-Bonnema household! Every day Ashley gets and feels good is a WIN! Thanks to each of you for your steadfast support and for being a part of our team. Most importantly, thank you for our ability to trust and know you will be there tomorrow as well, no matter the score.

Go Twins, go! 


  1. My name is Tosha. My 7 month old daughter has CF as well. Today at her pediatrician check up a student doctor told me about this blog after hearing my daughter has CF. We will be following and reading your blogs from here on out! Keep strong and just breathe Ashley!

    1. Dearest Tosha, I wish I could wrap my arms around you and give you the most life-giving hug! I appreciate your sweet words and hope you know you are never alone in this journey. Your beautiful daughter has an amazing life ahead of her and from what it sounds like, she has a great team right beside her! Lots of love to you and your little one.