Happy Mini Hill of the week Vol. III

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What’s getting me through this week are the inspirational people that I would like to write about.
So
I’ve decided to take the time and say a few words about people who are
inspiring to me.  Whether I’ve known them my whole life, only for a
little bit, or never met them but admire them, this is my chance to talk
about them.  There are four portions to this.  I will talk about my
parents, two of my friends, and a fellow blogger.  This is something to
read when you have time because the stories of each of them are very
important to me and I think that other people should be aware and be
thankful for what they have after reading these stories.  Anywhoo, here
goes nothing…
Parents

First
person (well people in this case) I will be speaking about are of
course my parents.  They are a major inspiration to me.  I would
honestly put my whole family down but my parents mostly.  They came to
the USA with no money well my mom had $10 and my dad had $5 because he
bought a Swedish guy a beer on the boat on the way over haha.  I
couldn’t be any more proud of what they have become and how they have
raised both my brother and me.  My dad started working at a gas station
just to be able to pay the bills and my mom worked in a factory even
while she was pregnant with me.  We lived in what is now considered the
ghetto (it wasn’t this bad when we lived there back in the day).  They
sacrificed so much for us kids.  They wouldn’t even take a summer
vacation to be able to give us more.  Now after 28 years my dad works
for a company that does computer graphics for major companies and I must
say he’s pretty good.  You know all of those Lancome ads for the past
bazillion years?  Yea, that’s my dad’s work.  My mom owns her own
business with the help of my dad when he’s home.   My mom used to be a
designer back in Poland and then continued when she came here but with
my clothes.  I was the best dressed baby ever.  I had pencil skirts at
the age of 3!
Then my brother was
born and everything changed haha.  Not really we just needed a bigger
home.  Once my brother and I got older they were able to send my brother
to a fancy shmancy private school (I REFUSED to go so I went to public
school).  They bought me one car then later traded it in for another and
were able to pay for part of my college and part of my brother’s.  They
truly amaze me and I hope one day I can be as great as them.  They came
from a country (Poland) that was in such devastation at the time and
they literally watched their country be ripped apart.  They came to
America for the American Dream.  Even though the typical American Dream
is harder to obtain nowadays with the economy I think my parents
achieved a lot.  I love them both dearly and don’t know what I would do
without them.
Now they are in
their 50’s and I’d say they definitely have some spunk haha.  My dad is
still working and my mom has her own retail business.  Of course now
that they are getting a little older they like to reminisce their
younger years and have drilled it into my brother’s and my head that we
have to remember what we came from.  I don’t mind because I like the way
their faces bright up when they remember being my age once, it’s a
little sparkle in their eyes that just puts a smile on my face.  We have
strong parents who took a risk, a very big risk for a better life.  I
am proud to say that I am their daughter.  I will forever be proud of
that and proud of them.  My mom is my best friend and my dad is my
hero.  I love you mommy and daddy.  As Dziadek would say Sto Lat i jedna
zima!
Allie

The
second person I would like to talk about is my friend Allie.  I have
known her since she was I believe 12/13 (wow time flies because she’s 23
now).  When I first met her it was through her older brother.  I went
over their house and she was hooked up to this machine that looked like a
giant nebulizer.  Well, Allie has Cystic Fibrosis.  She is a true
inspiration.  She’s younger than me and dealing with this while growing
up and trying to live a normal healthy life.  This is her story in her
own words:
“Cystic
fibrosis is a chronic-on-terminal recessive genetic disorder that
mainly affects the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestines. It is
characterized by abnormal transportation of chloride and sodium across
the CFTR gene, which results in the inability to break down mucus in the
body, which in turn leads to thick, sticky secretions. This mucus then
“clogs” the internal organs, which most commonly leads to frequent
respiratory infections, which can lead to pneumonia. If left untreated
or treated ineffectively due to drug sensitivities or a bacterial
infection that is insusceptible to antibiotics, the infection can then
become fatal. The majority of deaths related to cystic fibrosis are
those who succumb to severe respiratory infections. 
To help prevent reoccurring infections, CF patients have to do chest physiotherapy, or CPT for short. This is when you literally have someone beat the mucus out of you. It’s not as barbaric as it sounds, but that is exactly what it is. There are different positions to assume and spots for a person to “beat,” the areas being the upper and lower back of the ribcage, both sides, and front part of the patient’s chest above the pectoral muscles. This is the traditional form of therapy and can take anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour depending on how thoroughly it’s done. However, technology has made it possible for this therapy to be a little more convenient for the average person: you no longer need another person to “beat” you – they have created an inflatable vest that is hooked up to a machine through air hoses which causes a fast, air-pressurized percussion in all areas of the patient’s chest at once, which shakes the mucus loose and makes it easier to expel. This new technique only takes 30 minutes to complete and is considered more thorough compared to traditional therapy. 
To go along with CPT, the patient also does inhaled medications, steroids and antibiotics through a nebulizer. Each person is different in what they need, but the average is anywhere from 3 to 5 inhaled medications with each therapy. These help open up the bronchial tubes so the other medication and therapy is more effective. Usually each sitting of CPT and nebulizers combined takes about 45 minutes to an hour. To top it all off, people with cystic fibrosis have to do these treatments twice a day or more, depending on their health.  
Not only does the mucus cause infections if left untreated, but it prevents vital organs from functioning properly. It causes scarring in the lungs, which gets progressively worse with age, causing the affected’s lung capacity to lessen over time, making it more and more difficult to breathe on their own. Some patients are healthier than others, and there are different levels of severity, but it is not uncommon for a person with CF to rely on an oxygen supply as they get older. 
It also affects the entire digestive system: that sticky mucus blocks ducts in the digestive organs that are necessary to transport specific enzymes throughout the body to aid in the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients. This is why most people with cystic fibrosis are very thin, anemic, and just overall deficient in almost every vitamin; in other words, malnourished. Their bodies can’t absorb everything they need to stay healthy like average Joe’s body does. To help keep nutrition up, CF patients are given a supplementary pancreatic enzyme to make up for the lack of naturally-occurring enzymes in their bodies, which needs to be taken with food. And not once a day, either. It’s every. Time. They. Eat. Anything. These enzymes are usually taken alongside high doses of vitamins and supplements, which are usually only taken once or twice daily, to ensure the absorption of all the nutrients their bodies can get.
Because of the lack of dietary health, a CF patient’s diet is usually very high-calorie, high-fat, and high-protein. Most CF patients are conditioned since a young age to never put the fork down, because that’s how quickly they can lose weight. So, for a Cystic, they average between 3-5 meals per day, plus whatever they snack on in between. Now, figure about 5 enzyme pills per meal, and about 3 for snacks, give-or-take, plus vitamins and other assorted pills needed for CFRD (cystic fibrosis related diabetes), and other digestive issues. Plus add the therapy sessions on top of that, that’s a lot of medications to squeeze into one day!
My name is Allison Wrobleski, and I have cystic fibrosis. I was diagnosed at 2 months old, in February of 1990, and was labeled as a “failure to thrive” because I was so ill. After I pulled through my first few months, I was given an average life expectancy of 35 years or less. I am now 23-years old, have a lung capacity of 50% (which is about in the middle to lower-half as far as lung functions go), and have been through many trials and tribulations in my short 23 years. I have spent at least half of my life in a hospital bed, two weeks at a clip, sometimes extending to a month. I like to jokingly consider the hospital my second home and my vacation destination, and I know my local hospital and most hospital procedure and protocol like the back of my hand! 
As many times as I have been close to not coming out or pulling-through because of medical complications due to my CF, and although I am generally healthy now, my health has definitely declined. In 2007-2008 I had lung functions at 75%, and now I’m down to 50%. My daily therapies average between 2 to 3 hours, and I take an average of 35 pills a day. It’s a lot of maintenance and hard-work, and some days I want to do anything else but take care of myself, but I know that is not an option. Not only do I have to stay strong for myself so I can live the fullest life possible, but I have to stay strong for those in my life who love and support me. Without help from my family and friends and loved ones, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I am thankful for every moment I get to spend healthy and feeling well.”
Please keep Allie in your prayers so that this beautiful girl can live her life to the fullest. She is just as beautiful on the inside as she is the outside. By seeing her or hanging out with her you would never even guess of the battle she faces everyday of just being able to breathe. Allie, you are an inspiration and you are a warrior, I love you girl frannn!!

Dan


The
third inspirational person I would like to talk about is a friend of
mine who lost his battle to cancer on January 5, 2013.  His name is
Dan.  It is so hard for me to write this.  I still can’t believe it and
there are times where I go to search on my phone or Facebook for
contacts and his name shows up in the list of people.  Then it just
brings back memories, sometimes I cry and others I laugh and smile.
I
remember getting a text and I thought oh yea I was supposed to text him
today I forgot and then I read the text.  It was from his parents
saying that Dan had passed away and I literally stopped everything I was
doing.
Dan truly was one of a
kind.  We actually had a project, I can’t remember what is was exactly
but I know we had to build a country and we named our country a bad word
in Polish, haha.  We joked about that for the longest time because no
one except for the both of us knew what it meant.  Well after college we
lost touch.  Last summer/fall we started messaging each other through
Facebook.  He told me that he would absolutely love to hang out but if
I’m sick he can’t.  So at the time I didn’t think anything of it and I
actually was sick so I said well my birthday is coming up and you’re
invited.  He kept saying I will try my hardest to make it and I kept on
thinking well why won’t he come if I’m giving him such an advance
notice?  I kept on getting sick because my immune system is the worst
and my lungs were not happy with me last fall.  So I started to think
maybe he just doesn’t want to hang out or something.  When I finally
asked him why he can’t see me because I’m sick all the time, that’s when
he sent the worst text I’ve ever gotten…”I have cancer.  I would have
rather told you in person.” 
My
birthday rolled around and I asked him if he would like to join and he
said he was going to try his best but he might have to show up with his
backpack.  I asked him why this was such a big deal (I thought he
actually meant a backpack) and he said it’s for his treatment.  I
couldn’t believe that he was actually willing to come out for my
birthday.  I told him to stay home and rest and we could hang out at a
later time.  We actually hung out the next day because he was having a
good day.  We drove around and since his car took diesel we almost ran
out.  It took us FOREVER to find a gas station on the highway that had
diesel for something other than trucks.  I remember we just drove and
talked and caught up and made plans to go to AC one day and gamble all
of our money away haha.  He made the greatest jokes and he was the same
Dan I remembered in college.  We made plans to hang out again.
Every
time we tried to hang out one of us was busy or Dan wasn’t feeling well
and I didn’t want to make him do anything when he was tired. 
We
FINALLY got a chance to hang out in December.  I landed my big girl job
and we had a mini celebration at a local diner.  I was having a pretty
rough day because of some things that were going on and I started
complaining and whining like a little baby.  He kept telling me life is
so beautiful and not to worry about all of the little things because the
next day none of it would matter.  Then he pushed the plate of
chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream maple syrup and strawberries
my way and said eat this you’ll feel better.  I insisted on staying
grumpy that day and then we talked about my cigarette habit.  He was
trying to get me to throw out the pack I had in my purse and I actually
got a little mad and he took off his hat, took my hand and put it on his
head and said “I don’t want you to end up like this so please quit.” 
After that I wanted to cry.  I told him I would after that pack because
it was a fresh pack, plus I still had another one I bought along with it
and kept making excuses.  That was the last time I saw Dan.
We
tried to hang out after that but then I got sick and actually passed
out.  My parents were afraid that it was because of the condition I have
so I had to stay home as much as possible.  Anyway needless to say Dan
sent me some weird texts really late and I told him I can’t talk because
I possibly had a seizure so I need my sleep.  Two days later I read
that text from his parents.  I will never forget Dan. 
The
reason I find him so inspirational is because you would never know that
he was fighting for his life every day.  He had the greatest outlook on
life.  I remember when I didn’t know about the cancer and I would
complain about the dumbest things he would always cheer me up and now
that I look back on it I call myself an idiot for it and I actually feel
terrible, every time I do I can hear him saying something funny and
then saying oh stop or something.  He brightened up my life.  This past
year has been the toughest year and he was an answer to my prayers.  An
angel on earth was sent to me to let me know everything was going to be
ok.  It’s been very hard for me to write about him and I cried the whole
time I was typing this. 
Since
January I decided to start living life more like Dan did.  Not
necessarily living as if every day were my last but just enjoying
everything in life.  Enjoying all the good things and not sweating about
the bad things.  Taking in the sunsets, stopping to smell the roses,
feeling the warm wind blow on me while I’m driving with all the windows
open.  I was a little cold hearted and numb when we first re-connected
because of all of the things that happened to me but now I feel alive
again.  I quit smoking when he passed away and I must say it’s amazing
because I can finally breathe again.  Now when people fret the little
things I tell them about Dan and how strong and positive he was.  He has
made such an impact on my life.  In that short amount of time that we
spoke before he passed he taught me so much.  He was such an amazing
person and I am so blessed to have ever even talked to him.  Earth might
have lost a warrior but heaven gained an angel.  I actually started to
do some good with my life thanks to Dan.  I volunteer now and try to do
as many good things as I can.  I know Dan is watching over me and
rootin’ me on for quitting smoking and for changing my life completely. 
I will never meet anyone like Dan and his memory lives on and I thank
god everyday for letting me have such an inspirational person in my
life.  Even in death he is an inspiration.  Dan, may you rest in peace,
I’ll see you when it’s my time, and I miss you kiddo.
Katie

The
last (but definitely not least) person I want to talk about actually
ties into Dan’s story as well.  Her name is Katie.  Her blog is www.katiedidwhat.com
.  She is one of my favorite bloggers and is just so gosh darn
adorable!  You can tell she really likes writing in her blog and really
enjoys life.  When I first started reading Katie’s blog I saw a post
with a picture of her at a cemetery.  It was her mom’s birthday and she
had gone to say Happy Birthday.  So after that I started reading
literally her whole blog and found out, we have something in common, we
lost a loved one to cancer.  We are the same age and she is married and
boy did she make a beautiful bride if you look at some of her wedding
pictures.  I decided to write to Katie.  I wanted her to know how
inspiring she is to her readers.  When you read her daily posts she just
seems like someone you would want to be friends with and someone who
can have a positive impact on your life.  Then when you read about her
mom, it’s just amazing that she has so much strength to carry on.  I’m
sure she has her good and bad days (we all have those where something
will remind us of someone who passed away and bam instant tears).  Even
with this loss she is so positive and bubbly.  From her writing it also
seems that she has a very loving husband and that she actually is in
love and loves with her whole heart.  I think that can also inspire
readers that there is a fairy tale ending for everyone.  Ladies, there
still are nice guys out there Katie can give us hope haha!
When
I wrote to Katie I actually got very emotional.  I told her how
inspiring she is to me and how she is so strong.  I told her about Dan. 
When Katie wrote back she sent me the sweetest email.  I was actually
surprised she even responded because I’m sure she gets lots of emails in
one day. 
I am also promising
that whenever Katie makes it to the East Coast I want to take her out to
dinner and meet her.  I’ve only “known” her through blogging and she
really seems like a good friend to have by your side. 
I
want all of you to think about something after reading this.  Who
inspires you?  Why do they inspire you?  Are there people who would kill
to have your life?
That last
question is what I think is most important.  It reminds us that we
should truly be thankful for what we have and enjoy every minute.  Just
remember there are probably people out there who have it worse than you
do.  Is what you’re upset about really worth it?
In loving memory of Dan 9/28/1985-1/5/2013

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