Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Post Brought to You by The Letter D

Vitamin D, that is. Not that I have any to spare.

So, like a Dummy I just realized that it's December and I haven't really given y'all any Details on my Disease Developments in, well, a Decidedly (in)Defensible Duration. Duh, Piper.

Okay, enough of that.

In all honesty, though, the letter D seems like an appropriate theme for what I guess is a long overdue health update. I get so excited by all the cool things going on in the CF world sometimes that I sort of forget the original purpose of this blog -- which was, I seem to remember, to share my own journey through CF and transplant and all the cool (and not-so-cool) stuff that goes right along with it. It's a journey, of course, that is far from over.

And as the CF community reels from the loss of yet more CFers (breathe easy, guys) and rejoices in the successful transplant and calls for transplant and other major and minor successes accomplished by so many of you out there, I'm reminded more and more of the value that sometimes comes simply from sharing our stories. These messy tales of hospitals and doctors and needles and pills and fears and triumphs and testing and even just of breathing are the things that bring us together and that set us apart. So with all that said, well, here goes something:


I went to a new doctor today. I think she's an endocrinologist by trade, though she's not my endo and she seems to specialize in bone disease. All I really know is that she works at my hospital and is incredibly nice, which made it a whole lot less painful than it should have been for me to drag myself all the way up to 168th street today even though I have to go up there again tomorrow (for those counting, I live somewhere below 14th -- you do the math). I jokingly noted that the last thing I wanted for Christmas this year was another doctor, but frankly I'm okay with it as long as all doctors from now on get to be like this one. I had a little bit of an ordeal when I first arrived at the hospital, but after that (which she had nothing to do with, by the way) and the inevitable waiting, she turned out to be pleasant, easy to talk to, knowledgeable about CF, and generally worth the extra effort.

Vitamin D

She also told me what I already knew, which is that my Vit D is low. I knew that because that's why my transplant doctor referred me to her in the first place. What I didn't really know, however, was that my level is apparently 3 (or was, as of my last bloodwork) -- nor did I know that "normal range" on that is 30-75. Yeah, as in 10-25 times my level. Nice.

My understanding is that low vitamin D is linked to all sorts of nasty problems, not the least of which is rejection of the lungs. I don't want that. So needless to say we're moving forward with a couple of treatment options, such as increasing my already high supplemental dose of oral vit D. That's just more pills, so I can handle that. We're also doing some extra lab tests, including blood tests and the less pleasant urine collection test. I would say yuck right now, except that's still a preferable option to rejection and/or bone density loss. Also rickets. Urine is definitely preferable to rickets. So yeah, that's all on tap for the upcoming holiday season, along with follow-up appts and all that jazz.

I'm scheduled for an appointment at my transplant clinic tomorrow as well. Between that visit, today's adventures, blood labs tomorrow, the less pleasant test, and whatever new hoops they can think of for me to jump through, I'm pretty sure I'll survive VitaGate 2011. Here's hoping, anyway.


The more exciting part of the appt came when she asked me to stand up, shut my eyes, and perform circus tricks. Well, sort of. I got to stand, shut my eyes, hop on one foot, and the like. Apparently this was to check my balance, but regardless of its possible diagnostic value it was by far the most challenged I've felt in a doctor's office for a while. And, while I thankfully remembered to point out a foot injury prior to my showstopping performance (that's its own story, believe me), I somehow failed to mention that I have minor balance issues left over from my tenure as a frequent IV drug junkie. So when she asked me to stand on one foot, I didn't think it was the right moment to make excuses, and I just decided to suck it up and stay silent. 30 years of tobra use says that's not a good idea, folks. Needless to say, I will not be quitting my day job for a career as a tightrope walker anytime soon.

Which is helpful, I guess, seeing as I have none to quit.


The best thing about today, though? Definitely the moment when I realized that Donor Bob and I have been together for exactly 1 1/2 years on the dot. Delightful. And let me be clear that coming to said realization was worth all the new doctors and low vitamin levels and weird acrobatics in the entire world. I'm so thrilled to be still living, still breathing, and still hopping (sort of) with these lungs that I sometimes feel like I could conquer the world if I had to.

Or, at the very least, the world that is mine -- Doctors, Vitamin D, Donors, and all.


  1. Ashley sometimes has a bit of trouble with Vitamin D, too...but her level is generally higher than three. I have to say that that's an impressively low level! But I hope you can get it under control so you can Donor Bob can carry on for years and years to come.

  2. Welcome back! We missed your updates! Me and the boys will be thinking of you tomorrow...ahhh! today...and sending you good thoughts for your transplant appointment!

    My oldest had low vitamin d levels and they treated it orally. Do you take CF vitamins after transplant?

  3. VitaGate...nice. You crack me up! :)

  4. I am sure that there is better medication and help today and the support and awareness is going to get you better help to live happily.Get going!