I was born with a rare genetic condition called Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (or PCD). Long story short, my cilia don't work. Cilia are in your lungs, sinuses, and other areas of your body and play an integral role in removing mucus. No functioning cilia = a lot of coughing and blowing of the nose. Over the 35 years of my life, I've had multiple infections, developed chronic bronchiectasis, pneumonia, sinus infections, and a lowering of my lung function. There is no cure. But there is a lot I can do to keep myself healthy - exercise, daily airway clearance, nebulizers, etc.
My wake-up call happened on May 4, 2016, after going through a bronchial artery embolization procedure at the University of Chicago Medicine. I had experienced a month of illness and three episodes of hemoptysis (coughing up blood) with the last one sending me to the ER. The embolization was necessary to clot the bleeding so I could continue with normal airway clearance.
After getting home, I would get out of breath just walking across the living room. I took a walk through my neighborhood and had to move at a snail's pace. THIS was not what I wanted for my life. It wasn't what I wanted my husband to have to experience. I had to make a change. Life is just too short and there's way too much I love to do and adventures we have yet to experience.
The following Monday I started waking up at 6:00 a.m. so I could go to the gym and work out at 6:30. Let me be clear. I'm NOT a morning person so this was a big deal for me. For the next four weeks I kept that routine Monday-Saturday. Then I started to focus on what I was putting in my body. Beachbody's 21 Day Fix helped guide me in eliminating processed foods and sugars.
I lost 10 pounds and started noticing significant muscle gain. My lungs also responded positively. There's no end date in sight as exercise and good nutrition have now become a permanent part of my life. I'm in control. Colds and bronchitis will of course still happen but now I'm able to bounce back much quicker (I'm a big baby when I'm sick so my husband really appreciates this).
My journey is ongoing and I'm not on this journey alone. That's where you come in. I want to build a community where we can encourage one another to feel our best and live life to the fullest. What motivates you? What are you living for? Love, family, friendships, hobbies, community causes, your faith, adventure, career goals - they are all made stronger and more vibrant when YOU are stronger. Strong body, strong mind, strong self image.
Be Strong ~EB Strong