Sunday, January 30, 2011

Little Observations From Joshland


My mind often wanders and wonders, so on this late and lazy Sunday night I decided to let you in on some of the thoughts I've overthunk this week. Prepare to either have your mind blown or wish you could get the few minutes back that you spent reading this grammatically challenged blog post ...



  • Waiting in line or in a waiting room for a long period of time doesn't bug me. It never has and it probably never will. Stoplights, on the other hand, drive me insane. I hate waiting for the light to turn. Sometimes I stare at the red and try to will it to change colors. The funny thing is I'll speed through the light as soon as it changes to make up for lost time, only to arrive at my destination and end up waiting for some reason anyways. It's a dumb habit, but I always do it.
  • Sometimes I'll feel so winded when I'm out and about that I lose interest in everything else around me. My mind is only focused on getting home to do an airway clearance treatment. Then, when I finally get home, it takes me forever to start my treatment. I think it's because I feel like all I do is treatments and I get tired of them no matter how good I feel afterward. Staying on track is hard.
  • Even though I don't believe in regrets and wouldn't change anything that has happened in my life because I believe in fate and destiny, I'll admit I wonder what my life would have been like if I had been able to go to high school every day and then went straight to college after I graduated.
  • I'll bet dollars to donuts we won't have children and I'm okay with that. That doesn't stop me from being envious of my friends and family that have them.
  • I have the orchestral soundtrack for Back to the Future on a CD in my car. When I'm alone I'll cue the music to the point where it's starting to crescendo and hit play as I'm about to enter an on ramp to a major highway. Then I'll punch the gas to the floor in hopes that I'll hit 88 mph and go back in time before I have to merge into traffic. It has yet to work. One time I thought I went back 15 minutes, but it turned out my dashboard clock was running slow. I think I'll need a car with a little more punch than a V6 engine if I actually want to go back in time. I"ll keep you all in the loop if it happens.
  • I have this reoccurring dream where my friends and I are walking into a bar in slow motion and the patrons at said bar pick a fight with us. In the midst of all this mayhem and chaos, my friends and I exchange witty banter and one liners. It's your prototypical 80's comedy fight scene. I chuckle when I wake up in the morning after I've had this dream for two reasons: 1. I would never get into a bar fight. 2. I've never thrown a punch, but if I did, it would be the absolute worst punch in the history of all punches. It would be so bad that the guys I was fighting would consider letting me go before ultimately pummeling me into Josh pudding. Why do I have these dreams? Probably because I'm goofy. Oh, by the way, one of two songs are always playing in the background during this dream:

Shotgun by Junior Walker and The All Stars



OR

"La Grange" by ZZ Top



  • I have the uncanny ability to get my socks lodged into the legs of my jeans or pants when I take them off. This drives my wife crazy. Nothing annoys her more than washing and drying the laundry, only to find wet socks inside dry jeans. She loves me and we are never going to part, but if we ever did I'm pretty sure that this sock habit would be one of several habits specified in the "irreconcilable differences" portion of those legal documents. Thank goodness I'm adorable. (I need sarcasm font for sentences just like that previous one.)
  • Sundays in the winter are a dangerous time inside my head. It's one of those days where I reflect on where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going. Doing that kind of deep thinking every week for an extended period of time can hurt your brain. I know from experience.
  • You know you're severely mismatched when your best friend says to you "Your wife let you out of the house like that?"

I have other random thoughts, but I'll save them for when I need to lighten the mood.

Peaceful Things,

Josh

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Hardest Part About Being In The CF Community

I've mentioned in previous posts about what a positive thing the internet is to those with cystic fibrosis. We meet people going through the same things we are and we're able stay connected to our real lives even when we are sick. It is a gift that we cherish every day.

But there is another side. A side few talk about and some just plain ignore...

It seems like every day I read about someone with CF passing away. Sometimes it's a tribute on a blog. Often it's a tagged post on Facebook or a message board on CysticLife or CF2CFChat. Many times I'll receive an email saying someone passed way. It is a huge negative and an unfortunate reality of cystic fibrosis, and thus, it is a huge negative and unfortunate reality of social networking within the cystic fibrosis community.

This negative reality has been happening far too often as of late, at least in my part of the CF Community. We've lost more CF kindred spirits in the last few weeks than I care to mention. I didn't know any of them personally and it would be wrong and pretentious of me to try and pay tribute to them. I don't know if they were private about their life or if they were leading the charge for CF awareness. Hell, I don't know if they would even have liked me as a person. Regardless of that, their passing has broken the hearts of many of my CF friends and that's enough to break mine too. Whenever I hear of anyone dying from cystic fibrosis it gives me the chills and fills my heart with sorrow. They are my kindred spirits. I may not know them or their personal journey, but I've walked a similar path. It is not easy to lose someone to the same illness you are facing every day.

How hard it must be to be the parent of a CF child. The CF Community that they are welcomed into with open arms can be very overwhelming at the same time. Parents see children with CF that are struggling far more than their own child, which gives them mixed feelings of joy and guilt. Joy that their child is doing so well, guilt that another family isn't quite as lucky. What about the other side of the spectrum? The parents who have a child that seems to struggle a little more that their CF peers. That no matter how hard they work, they can never seem to get a step ahead of the damn disease. What if they lose a child? That should never happen. A child should never die before their parents, but in the CF world sometimes they do. My parents lived in both of those worlds. I don't know how they survived...but they did.

It also has to be hard for mothers and fathers of children with CF who look to adult CFers for strength and for answers. Those same parents are crushed beyond words when their mentors - and in some cases, friends - are gone. Taken from this world because of a @%#$ genetic flaw. Many of these parents wish they had the opportunity to say something to these adults.

A thank you.

A well wish.

A prayer.

A respectful tribute.

And then they hold their child and question....Why? Why does this disease exist?

What's the answer? I don't know and I never will. All I can tell you is that those people you've lost knew how much you cared about them. They just did. Trust me.

A few posts ago I wrote that one of the hardest things someone can ever do in their lifetime is to be in an open and vulnerable relationship where you risk being hurt. So I say this to every single person in the CF Community:

I love being a part of your lives. Whether that's as your friend, your mentor, or simply your kindred spirit. And because I am all those things I feel it's my responsibility to be honest. Sometimes I am afraid of being all those things. I've lost many friends to this disease, some of whom I was in the room when they were pulled off the respirator and breathed their final breath. I pulled back from the CF Community for almost a decade because I didn't think those wounds of loss would EVER heal.

But they did. I've got the scars to prove it. When I was ready...I came back. It took a long time...but I came back.

And I'll keep coming back. I'll keep developing these relationships with my kindred spirits that have the very real risk of leaving my heart with even more scars. Why? Because you are all amazing and worth it. This is life in the CF Community. There is no safety zone here. If I pull back from you for a moment it's because my heart needs mending and my mind needs peace. Have no fear, I will always return. I love you too much not to.

To my CF kindred spirits gone too soon: No matter how long you lived you proved the doubters wrong because you LIVED every damn minute. To my friends and kindred spirits in the CF Community:
Yes, I am afraid to lose you, but I will always love you. Know that I will live my life the best I can every single day because I owe it to myself and I owe it to you. If you are hurting, then take a break to heal your heart and soul. Come back when you are ready. We'll be here.

Until then remember two things:

1. Every single day we live...we prove the doubters wrong.

2. I WON'T EVER STOP TRYING, SO DON'T YOU EVER STOP TRYING EITHER.

Oh, by the way...in 200 hundred years when I die because I overdosed on being nerdy, please pay your respects in the following way:
  • Share something nice about me with others.
  • Don't say "Breathe Easy, Josh." or "Let's make CF stand for CURE FOUND for Josh." I know some of you like these phrases and more power to you, but I've never been a huge fan of either of them. I prefer "Josh had CF but it never had him." It's catchy and fits me better than those other two. :-)
  • Do something that makes you laugh. Laughing is my favorite thing ever. :-)
  • Wear, drink, or eat something orange. Except oranges. I hate oranges. (Weird huh?)
  • Be sad for a moment, but be happy that I'm peaceful and I lived a wonderful life. Thanks for being a part of it.

Peaceful Things and Lots of Love,

Josh

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Getting Things Out Of My Chest

Things are progressing...cystic fibrosis is, after all, a "progressive genetic illness".

You'll read this as a negative, but I don't think of it that way. It sucks, that's for damn sure, but it's just another day in the the life of a person with a chronic illness. We make the adjustments when we need to and stay the course when we feel our best.


Give you an example, you say? Well, okie dokie:

I used to bounce back quickly when I got sick like a new pair of suspenders that a bully would stretch and snap on my back in kindergarten. Nowadays those old ratty suspenders have a lot of give in them. The reality of the situation is I've been constantly sick since I finished my 5K in September. That's when my body said:

"ENOUGH, scrawny man! Run a 5K despite my constant warnings, will you? Well @$#% you very little, sir. I was going to let this slide, but since you had to go and celebrate on your little blog with your stupid little video...well...you just sealed your doom. Not only am I going to destroy that twig of a bad leg, but I'm going to breakdown your immune system. You won't know what hit your stupid ass. Just wait. Juuuuuuuuuuuuust wait."

Joshland Note: I need to be clear and state that I did not get sick BECAUSE I ran a 5K. Being active in any way is something I'm very supportive of. But in hindsight, maybe I pushed it a little too hard and made things a little harder on my body than I should've. So I apologize to you, "Body". Maybe my pride and ego got in the way. I'm honest enough to admit that. If you decide to be active - and I'm talking to everyone who reads this, but especially my CF friends - make sure you talk with your doctor and understand that "slow and steady wins the race". I thought I was at a good pace, but I think I could've made it easier on myself and still achieved my goal. Work smarter not harder, boys and girls. Anyways, back to the story...

From that moment on, these past few months have been a whole new experience for me, suspenders be damned!

I've been sick before for long periods of time with a virus or infection that won't go away. However, in my lifetime with cystic fibrosis, I cannot recall a time when I was sick 3 three different viruses back to back to back. I'd work my ass off to get better, just on the cusp of 100%, only to fall victim to some other brand new virus that's impervious to the drugs I'm on and starts feasting on my already weakened body. I was mentally and physically drained. Pad on the month of December...particularly when Angie's anniversary was looming...and I was emotionally spent as well.

How did I get sick in the first place? It coulda been the ham-n-egger at the "Gas & Gulp" coughing on me, or maybe it was spending a short time on a large college campus with grungy, 3 day stank, snot on the sleeve college students everywhere I turned. Or maybe I was just walking along and this virus lofted into my mouth and nostrils. Whatever the case, it happens. I'm fine with it. The problem was that it kept happening. Fighting through one illness is hard enough, but when it keeps happening it destroys you. I lost energy. I lost weight. I lost everything I built up running that 5K.

The final straw came at my clinic visit last week...

In order to fully understand the rest of this post, we must go back even further in the Joshland Time Machine. Back to New Year's Eve...

I'd just gotten over being sick for the second time. I had the bad hacking cough. It was so bad that I slept in my living room recliner for 3 days so I could sit up straight and not keep my wife awake. Double doses of oral antibiotics streamed through my body and other regions...(ahem). It was neat, but I didn't need a repeat. (Hey I'm a poet! :-)

Just as I got better, my wife came home with a cold that had been going around her office. I put a self-imposed quarantine on any and all physical signs of affection. No kissing, and very minimal hugging or touching. I'm talking like an awkward "see-an-acquaintance-from-long-ago-that-totally-remembers-your-name-but-you-don't-remember-theirs-and- you-won't-until-20-minutes-later-on-your-way-home" hug. That was very hard to handle for me. I want to take care of my wife and hold her when she is sick. Lord knows she takes care of me constantly...sick or not. Plus, I'm a touchy-feely kinda guy. It had been nearly a week since I kissed my wife which was an eternity, but I couldn't risk getting sick.

Guess what? It didn't matter. I got sick anyways. Grrrrrrrrrr.

To make matters worse, this cold came on the night before my clinic appointment. Of all the times to get sick! I had felt phenomenal for the past week! I was able to sleep through the night and I could lay down without sounding like a a cat hacking up a hairball. Now it would all be wiped away. I went bed hoping it was just a bump in the road...

When I woke up early the next morning after a ruckus 4 hours of sleep I felt atrocious. My nose was stuffed up and my chest was rattling like a bingo ball cage, but I managed to muster the energy to get out of bed and start a therapy. It was ugly. During the entire hour I was hooked up I never stopped coughing up that putrid mucus. By the end I felt little relief despite all the work I did. The hands of the clock were inching closer to clinic departure time and my stress level began inching up as well. Was I going to get admitted? Were my PFT's going to be really bad? It was enough of a distraction to cause the following events:
  • I spilled a 20 oz bottle of orange pop all over our hardwood floor. The dogs were pleased. I was not.
  • I almost zipped my chin up in my coat. Do you know how hard that is to do? I've heard of the "assisted accidental zip up", but to do it to yourself is just ridiculous.
  • I was half way to clinic when I realized I forgot my wallet. D'oh!
  • I when got home to grab my wallet I decided to let my dogs out one more time just in case they'd be alone for a long time because I got admitted. Even though I watched them both come in the house, my frazzled brain still made me backtrack around the block and go back inside the house to make sure they were okay and not outside in sub zero temperatures. Call me a overzealous doggy owner.
By the time I picked up Carly from her work we only had 15 minutes to get to the clinic that was 25 minutes away. She dropped me off at the entrance and I hobbled toward the front desk. Amazingly, I was right on time! It didn't matter though because there was a scheduling snafu that said I wasn't supposed to be seen until the next morning. How it happened I don't know, but I'd be damned if I was going home. I couldn't handle waiting another day to find out what was going on. My doctor completely understood and stayed late just to see me, but I had to head over the the PFT lab before we could start the appointment.

I didn't say a word once we got there. I just took my vitals and my weight, then sat down and stared directly at the bastard PFT computer.

First try: Lowest FEV1/FVC ever.

Second try: Up a measly percentage point on both, but still ugly.

Third try: Blew so hard I almost passed out. Still really bad numbers.

I started to sob. Head in my hands, face covered in sweat and tears. All I kept thinking was "If only my clinic appointment had been 4 days earlier! Damn! I've been working so hard the past few months. How was I the same person that ran a 5K in September? How did this happen?"

Well...I tell how this happened:

This happened because this is life with cystic fibrosis. It's the unpredictability that we live with every day. You're feeling like a million bucks one minute, then in physical shambles the next. It's a reality that I've seen first hand my whole life and now, in my thirties (man, how lucky was I to have over two decades worth of semi-healthy lungs), I'm starting to live this part of the disease. I can't describe to you how truly frustrating and emotional that PFT test was.

After I composed myself, Carly and I headed into the doctor's office to discuss our plan of action. I had a bag packed and was ready to go into the hospital if I had to...that is to say, if my doctor thought it was the best option. She didn't though. She knew I was in the right frame of mind to fight off this infection. She also saw in my test results that the antibiotics I had been on for the past month were doing their job, but I just had a horrible rash of bad luck with all of these colds. So she gave me a week. One week to show marked improvement or I was headed to the hospital. This seemed reasonable, so I set my sights on working hard to show this virus who was boss.

For one week straight I did 4 treatments a day an hour per treatment. I spent so much damn time in that machine, I think I may have bruised a rib. I continued my oral antibiotics and stayed close to the restroom. I rested when I could, I even took impromptu naps which happened more because I was sick and exhausted than it did because I thought they might help me feel better. I never stopped eating even if I wasn't hungry. It was ridiculous. My life was all consumed with my health...something that I fear dealing with in my future. My life does not revolve around CF and neither does my blog, but unfortunately it has been the focus for the last few months. I was ready for things to get back to normal.

A week later I'm sitting in the same PFT lab staring down that bastard machine again.

Try one: up 5%

Try two: up 10%

Try three: up 12%

12% increase in a week! I wasn't back to my main level, but I think 12% is a marked improvement. My doc agreed. She asked me how I did it and when I told her what I did she was amazed. She's seen it happen before, but it has never ceased to amaze her. We are a stubborn and feisty group and it does us well. Now, my support system looks toward the future, continued improvements, decisions, big and small. It all comes with the territory.

Lung-wise, I'm not where I want to be yet. There are far too many moments when I'm breathing rapidly when I'm just sitting on the couch. Moments when I have a coughing attack while I'm going 70 mph on the highway. Moments when, out of nowhere, I can't catch my breath. That last one happened recently when we were out with some very close friends. I felt better having that coughing attack in front of people who understood it, but it was still frustrating. I was just sitting there doing nothing and I started hacking away. That doesn't happen when I'm in peak condition. It just shows me that I've got a ways to go, but I know if I keep working hard I'll get back to my baseline numbers and maybe even better than that. Who knows?

Why did I write this post? I dunno. Something struck me the past few days and I felt the need to share this story. Not because I want you to feel bad for me for how sick I've been. Not because I improved my PFTs. I shared it because I think my friends and family need to read this and know what I'm going through. That's been the best part of having this blog.

I'm here to tell you that cystic fibrosis is a "generally" a manageable disease. If you get on the right meds, are diligent about your treatments, and are in tune with the physical manifestations of your body (i.e. when you might be getting sick, what kind of infection this might be, if it's just a "call the doctor" feeling or a "make an appointment/book a room at the hospital because things are off kilter" feeling), then you can handle this disease for the most part. That being said, this is a progressive disease that is different for every person who lives with it. In my case, things change and I adapt with them. My health has been a volatile and fickle thing lately, but I refuse to give up and let it take me down. There will be times when CF will kick my ass, but I guarantee it won't be because I quit doing my stuff. It will be because life with CF is full of constant challenges, obstacles, and adaptation. There is no other way to say it.

To my CF friends: CF isn't easy for anyone. Attitude is everything. While I don't think that super positivity is going to fix things, also I don't think that a "%@$# the world and %@$# CF" attitude is any good either. There has to be a balance. There has to be some optimism combined with realism. Just work hard and do your best. Sometimes you'll get your ass kicked, sometimes you'll kick some CF ass and punch it right in the face. Some of the most inspiring people I know with CF are the ones who can be realistic and optimistic regardless of where they are in their CF journey.

Thanks for reading my rant. That felt good to get off my chest...or out of my lungs, as it were. I'm feeling better every day and thanks to my huge support system I see nothing but good stuff in the future.

Peaceful, Honest, Frustrating, and Healing Things,

Josh

Monday, January 10, 2011

Joshland Questions: CONSTANT QUESTIONS


I was asked this today by a CF mom. I paraphrased a little, but they are the general questions. I actually get asked these questions all the time, so I thought I'd answer in a blog post. Here is my rambling, honest, and ranting answer:

Questions:

CF has put you in a place in your life to do an AWESOME amount of good for the CF community, but:

1. Don't you get the strangest reactions from people when you describe CF "maintenance"?

2. Do you really believe you have endure a hardship to have compassion and/or understanding for what others go through? Don't you believe that there is some one out there who can be just as passionate about "fixing this whole mess" just by hearing how life altering it is?


Answer:

First of all, I don't get strange reactions about CF stuff (at least not that I'm aware of) because I make sure to put it in perspective. It's part of who I am for better or worse. I joke about CF stuff all the time. I make fun of myself and the situation I am in. If I didn't have a sense of humor about CF, I would have gone crazy and taken everyone with me. People are only as uncomfortable about it as you make them. I have friends who know all about my cystic fibrosis, but we NEVER talk about it unless we need to. All the IVs, therapies, hospitalizations, and whatnot are just things in my life. Shitty and hard things, but still...just things. My mother taught me that. Growing up we took it seriously, but we never talked "CF talk" unless we had to or I was "on duty" as a CFF Poster Kid. CF was never the focus in our home. Life and love was the focus even when we knew Angie was dying. We lived and loved because we knew nothing else.

Secondly, I don't believe everyone has to go through tough times to have compassion and understanding. I'm just saying that I think CF has made me a better person and a different person than the one I would have been otherwise. I matured sooner than most of my peers when it came to the reality and sometimes finality of life. I wish I could have been a kid a lot longer than I was. That's not how it worked out. That's why I am a big goofball and try not to take things so seriously all the time. Life is too short for that kind of thinking. I'm serious when I have to be, but I'd rather be silly.

Finally, I do think that there are people who are touched by our story and our community. "Normal" healthy people who are passionate about finding a cure and helping improve our quality of life. In my opinion, The CF Community has to go outside of the normal ways they promote things. They have to find a portion of the population that has little to no knowledge of CF and share their story. It can't JUST be on Facebook, or in our community, or in our blogs. We already know what CF is. We need others to know what CF is. And it can't be in your face all the time either. I can't speak for anyone else, but I wouldn't respond well to that. Here are ways our community can share our story every day:

  • Every kid that goes to school at any level from elementary to college and is comfortable enough to share their personal life with others is promoting CF awareness in an untouched portion of the population. That's not to say that parents should push their kids to share because some are not as open as to sharing as others, which is not a bad thing. I learned that the hard way when I accidentally put a friend in an awkward position in a public setting and I will never do it again. Ask before you assume.
  • Every parent who volunteers for a DIFFERENT cause other than CF and shares their story of their child is going beyond the normal boundaries. It also shows you have a broader focus than just your world. It's one of the reasons I am a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
  • Every adult who lives their life and follows their dream does more than their share to promote CF Awareness. Christina and Ali were amazing on America's Got Talent. They lived their dream and shared their story with the nation. That was great. Eva did her thing. She filmed that documentary (which I don't think I'll ever watch because it's too close to home) and is an icon in Canada. Not just because she had CF but because she was an amazing soul with the will to live. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

In closing I'll say this:

I write a blog like thousands of others in the CF Community. I speak about what I know...my life. I share it because I know that will help others like me live a better life, especially CF kids. I'm not amazing. I'm not special. I'm not better or worse than anyone else in CF community. If people tell you that they are special, then they are selling something. Just my opinion.

FYI: I HAVE NEVER TALKED ABOUT CYSTIC FIBROSIS AS OFTEN AS I HAVE IN THE LAST TWO YEARS.

It's become more of a focus in my life than it ever has been. Before "Breathe" and the W2J blog/YouTube, I did volunteer for the CFF often, but otherwise I rarely said a word about CF unless I was asked. I actually pulled back from the CF world for a long time because I lost my sister and 20 friends/acquaintances to this disease within a very small window of time. It was too much for my heart. I needed that several year break.

Since I've been back in the fold, I've met lots of amazing people. Some of which I consider good friends. I've also lost one too many to this illness. People die EVERY DAY from this disease. I see it on Facebook all the time. A young girl who commented on my blog frequently just passed away last week. I was devastated by Conner's death. I cry every time I hear about another person who passes away from this disease. The stress is overwhelming for a highly emotional person like myself. Sometimes being a CF public figure affects my health in a very real way. It's hard when the thing you are best at is also the thing that, more often than not, hurts the most. Just being honest. That's what you come here for, isn't it?

This isn't a joke to me. I don't have another motivation or purpose for this blog other than to share my story. Yes I'd love to be a paid motivational speaker, but if that never happens then so be it. I do what I do because I'm good at sharing my life and because I love my family, friends, and CF kindred spirits. I want to help people and I've got big plans to do it, just wait and see. :-)

Peaceful and Honest Things,

Josh

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Greatest Goal I'll Ever Reach

True goals and resolutions are ever evolving and ever changing. It's taken me my entire life to realize you have to accomplish small tasks to reach large goals. For instance:

The greatest example of success and failure in life is the human relationship. I'm not just talking about romantic relationships either. Platonic relationships between friends and closely bonded families can also fall into this category. Relationships can be summed up in this quote:

"Happiness comes from the capacity to feel deeply, enjoy simply, think freely, to risk life, to be needed." ~ Storm Jameson

I wanted to find someone to spend the rest of my life with, but I never thought it would happen. Yet here I am happily married. Is that an achievable goal for everyone? I can't say for sure. All I can tell you is how I went about it. Not saying my way is right or wrong, but this is how it happened for me:
  • I had to figure out who I was before I could be ready to share my life with someone else, which meant I had to go through a few heartbreaks. My prior relationships made me a stronger, better man and prepared me for my marriage. I am grateful for that.
  • I had to focus more on my strengths and worry less about about my short comings while always trying to improve both.
  • I had to make the effort to meet someone but not come on too strong. (This was a hard one. I was so afraid of being alone forever that I'd share too much too soon or want to move too fast.)
  • I had to go on dates and get shot down...and not let it bug me. They weren't the right person for me.
  • I had to find THE someone who would love me for me and everything that comes with me. Not just settle for mediocrity.
  • I had to be in a relationship and believe it was going somewhere wonderful, but be okay if it didn't. (That was really HARD.)
  • I had to fall in love again. I had to let myself be vulnerable and let someone else in...but also find out if she really wanted to know everything about me. (I did and, consequently, she did.)
  • We had to get a puppy named Oscar. I think this was when I knew we were in this for the long run. You don't get a dog with someone if you aren't committed to one another. At least, that's what I told myself.
  • We had to get engaged.
  • We had to plan a wedding.
  • We had to find a place to live, graduate college, have a wedding, find jobs, and get another dog named Henry.
  • I had to live with a girl. Oh boy...OH NO!
  • We had to settle into our routine. We had to argue about money, values, quirky habits. We will always do that.
  • We had to love each other enough to compromise and continue to be who we are as individuals so that we could grow as a couple.
  • We spend time apart so we appreciate our time together. Alone time is a very good thing.
  • I had to lose my hair and deal with complications from CF and know she was not going to leave me because I was changing. She signed up for everything and she was and is here to stay. Plus, she thinks I'm cute.
  • She will always be like Mary Poppins - Practically perfect in every way. I had to agree to go along with that story. :-) I kid, of course. I love everything about her...even the stuff that drives me mad.

Today is our anniversary and it marks the beginning of the greatest years of my life. I often hear people say "I have the best spouse in the world." What they should say is "I have the best spouse in the world...for me." That's how I feel about my wife. I feel like we were meant to be together. I love the way we do "nothing". I love how we support each other without hesitation and push each other to see how great we can be...even if one of us can't see it. I love how our hugs make each other feel better when we've had a bad day and how our time with the "puppies"...our little family...is precious to us. I love how we like spending time with each other's family and friends and have combined them into one entity. They are OUR friends and family...take them or leave them.

I LOVE YOU, MY SWEET WIFE. Thank you, Carly, for being mine...at least until you find something better. (It's an inside joke, people.) You are the greatest goal I have ever reached and I will resolve to love you more tomorrow than I do today, forever and ever.

Love Always,

Josh

What'd You Think?

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Peaceful Things ~ Josh
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