Been a while and Tough Check Up Today :(

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Taylor Loves Me

Super sorry for the incredibly long delay in writing but we’ve been unreal busy since Taylor’s arrival. Prior to Taylor’s arrival, I ran the roost and had complete control. Since it’s been about three months, I’ll attempt to address recent events chronologically and hit on the biggest updates toward the end (CF Awareness Month + My Last 3 Month Check-Up + October Fundraising Bike Ride).

February 2018

In case you missed my last post, I’m now three years old, so “big boy”. While I consider myself a big boy, I’m still not fully using the potty. Mom and Dad are attempting to incentivize me by hanging a truck over the potty. It ain’t working! That being said, I need to get on that Now Mom and Dad are springing for double the diapers. Yikes!

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March 2018

I’ve still yet to miss a therapy. Mom and Dad don’t mess around when it comes to therapy and even Taylor has gotten in on the bit.

Toys R Us announced they were closing their doors so Dad thought it was fitting to take me in there to see what all the hoopla was about since a) i had a $20 gift card from Christmas and b) dad says kids only know about Amazon these days so its important to see why businesses failed. Anyway, Toys R Us is legit and all there stuff was 30% off so I got to pick out a new tractor and some legos.

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March also brought us some measurable snowfall so Dad and I sweep ours and our neighbors’ driveways. We also did some sleigh riding to which we wiped out big time on one hill, but we were okay. We’re tough.

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Work, work, work, work (like Rhianna)

Also March brought out the clippers. Dad brought me to the barber to cut this mop. Dad was dumbfounded when the 5-minute hair cut from Westover Barber cost more than his haircut at the Ballston Barber that includes hot towel and straight blade shave. This must be one expensive lollipop.

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Dad jealous of these locks

April 2018

Dad bought me a bicycle from REI, but quickly returned it because I’m not ready to ride it and I want one that’s bigger than what Dad bought. Hoping he gets me one soon so I can bring it to Rachel’s beach house and ride all summer long. Rachel doesn’t know this yet, but I’m going to angle to stay with them all August because Hayden is my best friend in the whole, wide world.

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April also brought some warmer temps so I got outside and did some hiking, watched Dad play softball, and played lots of soccer at Williamsburg/Discovery.

Me, Mom, Dad, and Taylor also went out to eat for the first (hopefully not last) time as a family. Matchbox pizza in Mosaic was super accommodating to the fam.

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Me and Taylor continue to grow close. She loves me and I love her. I help her with her munyas (pacifiers). She doesn’t talk or say anything. She also is not allowed to play with my trucks. Hayden is my best friend. Me and her ride around in my John Deer Gator and do yard work everyday (not literally, but most Sunday’s when we all go to Bama’s for dinner). Pop is mostly on the hook for yard work Mon-Fri.

May 2018 – Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

This month flew by and I didn’t do anything this year to let you all know about it. Shame on me. Anyway, May is CF awareness month and there’s been so much going on with respect to the disease. There have been huge improvements on the drug front some of which help those of us with certain mutations incredibly. Unfortunately, I’ve got mutations which have yet to see huge advancements, but I hold out hope that I’ll benefit from major breakthroughs before long as well. It’s only a matter time.

Congress also passed the Right to Try Act. While I’m not 100% sure whether I support this or not, it’s news! Some people believe this is great as it allows those of us with CF the ability to gain access to non FDA-approved drug trials, but the CF Foundation isn’t so supportive. Only being 3 years old, there is very little opportunity to participate in drug trials. Most are reserved for those individuals at least 5 year old.

Mother’s Day

We spent Mother’s Day in Old Town Alexandria with Mom and Bama and the rest of the fam. Where but Don Taco would a bunch of Irish spend the day. We had a great time and ran around the town for a few hours before tuckering ourselves out and heading home.

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend sent us to Dad’s homeland (the Farm, the 757, Surry, Hampton Roads). We spent time down on the James River, visiting tractor stores, throwing water balloons, fishing in ponds, and listening to live music at the Farm. We also spent time with my great Grandma. Making 96+ look good Grandma. Me and Taylor love you so much. Can’t wait to get back down there.

June 2018

Tomorrow (June 2) is the Washington DC Cystic Fibrosis Walk. If the weather holds up, we might head down there for a few to listen in and participate, but we aren’t fundraising for the walk this year. We’re focused on the bike ride (see below)!

June is also bringing Washington DC hockey for the first time in 20+ years! Go C-A-P-S, CAPS, CAPS, CAPS. Let’s get that Stanley! Ovi is overdue!

3 Month Checkup

Today’s monthly checkup didn’t go as well as we had hoped. While we still won’t know the results of my culture for at least a week, my team of doctors were less than satisfied with my weight – well mostly my Body Mass Index (BMI). Crazy to think I’m knowing about BMI at age 3, but hey. I’m tall which is no surprise if you look at Mom and Dad. And while you would think being skinny is a good thing, it’s not when you have CF. I’m 75% for height, 50% weight, but in the 20s% for BMI which is less than ideal. The doctors warn that if I don’t put on weight in the next three months a G-Tube is what I can expect. This is not what me, Mom, and Dad were expecting to hear. For all we knew, I was doing well, eating “okay”, and healthy. Apple bars, bottles of milk, string cheese, yogurt, and cashews are no longer going to cut it. I have to eat more. I have to get big and strong.

Mom and Dad acknowledged that since Taylor arrived, that they’ve slacked off a bit with the food exploration and pushing, but they didn’t realize things had turned so poorly and are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to avoid a G-Tube. We’re starting by actually taking the Periactin (Cyproheptadine) that was prescribed about six months ago. It’s an antihistamine which has a side effect of  “increase appetite” therefore that’s the reason I’m going to start to take it. Another side effect is that it causes drowsiness so that’s why Mom and Dad held off on giving it to me before as they felt it was important for me to be full of energy and running around like crazy. It’s such a difficult balance.

CF is scary. I can look big and strong, but in reality, I need to do more than everyone around me just to keep up. Doctors say everything goes to head first, heigh second, weight third, then lungs and other things so its important to pack on the pounds. Seeing isn’t believing with CF.

October Bike Ride (Fundraiser)

It’s a ways off, and Dad’s still not really making a push, but for those of you consider making donations for great causes this year, give the Cycle for Life a look or better yet, join the team. There are 20, 40, and 65 mile options and Dad’s company is hoping to be a sponsor of the event this year. Last year was a really rewarding time despite the rain.

Join the Team – Click Here

Donate to Dad – Click Here

ALL CAPS!

Let’s go Ovi, Backie, Willy, Holtby and the rest of you all! Let’s bring the Stanley back to ol DC. We’re long overdue and me and the fam are trying to celebrate.

Been a while and Tough Check Up Today :(

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & Happy Birthday & The Best Gift of All…

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John Deere Gator – Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. I was a really good boy this year so Santa brought me a ton of gifts. He got me a John Deere Gator to replace my John Deer tractor that I broke from riding so much. The good thing is that I got the same brand so I can swap out the batteries and maximize riding time. I also got a lot of trucks to play with. Mom and Dad are making me keep my big, metal Tonka trunks out in the garage. Mom, Dad, and I all agree that the best gifts are donations to the CF Foundation and we received several of those to wrap up 2017.

Happy New Year

2017 was a great year I think (not really sure, because I’m new at this), but we follow a lot of CF’ers on social media and there are a ton out there that would trade places for the year I had, so I’ll take it. I only had one lung infection which was quickly addressed with antibiotics over the summer and I did not have any hospitalizations.

Hoping 2018 is even better, but this flu is super scary. This year’s flu has been one of the worst ones in recent memory and there’s still no sign of letting up. Because it’s so bad, I pretty much avoid all public places (especially indoors), and at times even friends and family. Mom and Dad remain extra careful too – washing their hands religiously and wiping down all surfaces. People who don’t fully understand the disease may think we’re weird, but we’re just trying to be safe.

It’s not you, its me.

Technically, its me, Mom, Dad, and everyone close to me that knows that colds and flu are absolutely horrible for me. So until this flu sort of moves on, you can expect me to remain in isolation – only really being seen at Bama and Pops, Williamsburg Middle School to play soccer with Dad, hiking outdoors, or at my house. Please do not invite yourself over to our house if you have a sniffly nose or think you might be sick. You’re not welcomed! If I get sick, it can lead to irreversible damage to my lungs and requires that I do double the therapy treatments.

7 Day Photo Challenge

I’m sometimes late to the viral things out there, but here’s my 7 days photo challenge. From as best I can tell, the rules are that the photos must be black and white and not feature any people or explanations. I’ll be no different than anyone else who does this challenge by adding explanations, but that’s only because this is intended to be part educational for my readers. Not pictured but probably equally as important and part of my everyday life would be Butter and Salt and Miralax.

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Turning Three Years Old

A few weeks ago, we celebrated my third birthday at Bama and Pop’s house. As you can probably imagine, my favorite gifts were the trucks, play doh, kinetic sand, and donations to the CF Foundation. Even my cousin Paige asked that instead of toys from her friends, that they make small donations to the CF Foundation which was super cool of her and her friends. Bama got  me a snow plow despite Mom and Dad’s requests for no more trucks. Since Andy was out of the country and Bama and Pop were heading out of town, my birthday was lightly attended and celebrated on Thursday night.

Uncle Andrew did stop by for a day on his way back to Hawaii from Europe so that was a nice surprise.

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Dad’s birthday chainsaw and mine from Christmas

Baby Sister

In anticipation of my sister’s arrival, Mom and I picked out a color and Dad and I taped off. Because Mom and Dad didn’t want the paint to bother my lungs, Mom took me to Bama’s house while Dad knocked out the painting. To keep things extra safe, Dad opted for Benjamin Moore Natura Zero-VOC and Zero Emissions paint and the gentleman working the counter at Potomac Paints in Arlington gave Dad the contractor discount when purchasing. Dad let it air out and I returned home to see. Looks pretty good if you ask me.

On Feb 15 at 10:00PM when Mom started having contractions, so Dad drover her to INOVA and left me at home with Bama. Aunt Rachel also went with Mom and Dad.

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Taylor James Peden –  February 16

Born February 16, 2018 at 4:25AM, she weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz and was 20 inches long. Most importantly, we doctors believe she’s healthy. Given that it was flu season, I did not go to see her at the hospital. Dad came home that afternoon to hang out with me and ensure I did my therapies while Mom and Taylor rested at the hospital. And then Mom and Dad brought home my baby sister. Her name is Taylor James Peden.

Unlike with me, Mom and Dad had a “normal” labor, delivery, and hospital experience with Taylor. Taylor was discharged about 36 hours after being delivered which is a vast improvement from my 45 days in NICU. Mom and Dad say it is a bit surreal and equally terrifying driving home with an infant after only two days of life. At two days of life, I had already had my first surgery on my bowels. In a way, Mom and Dad had been spoiled by all the great nurses from Children’s from my entry into the world and it was almost as if they were first time parents. If Mom and Dad had it to do over again, baby Taylor is certainly the way to go. Mom is doing unbelievably well also. Taylor was far more gentler than I was and didn’t give Mom too much trouble during a super quick labor. Perhaps in a future post, I’ll try to recap the differences between the two experiences.

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Here’s one more photo of baby sister trying to give me a hug and kiss.

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It’s only been a few days, so Taylor and I are still getting to know one another but I love her and I think she likes me too. I enjoy reading and singing to her, but I won’t let her use my blankies. I asked her what type of truck she likes, but she doesn’t talk. She sleeps a lot. Whenever I hear her cry or make noises I run into the room and make sure she’s okay.

Once baby Taylor opens her eyes more, I promise to post good photo of us here.

For those of you on social media…you probably can get a better fix of photos and updates by following Mom on Instagram – @bridgetpeden. Dad has an account too, but isn’t as active – @benjamin_peden.

Drug Breakthrough – Vertex Symedko

Just before Taylor arrived, I had been reading up a recent breakthrough on a new Vertex drug, Symedko. which was recently approved by the FDA. While it doesn’t specifically target my mutations, it is a step in the right direction and helps so many others fighting this horrible disease. Thanks everyone who continues to donate and support the fight.

Going to try to get some rest. It isn’t too easy with baby sister running around the house.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & Happy Birthday & The Best Gift of All…

Three Year Appointment

Two Years Ago Today…

I was at Children’s National dealing with a bowel blockage that I’d later need surgery to resolve. Remember? We wondered if I would be out for Christmas. Fortunately for me (knock on wood), the surgery was successful and I have not had to go back to the hospital for any extended hospitalizations – just checkups!

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3 Year Appointment (Nov 29)

I’m not a fan of going to the doctor – then again, who is? On Nov 29, I had my third “annual” checkup as they continue to try to slide the date to close of that of my actual birthday. Annual checkups are even worst because I have to be there so much longer and do so many more tests that my normal, quarterly checkup. Mom and Dad reached out to my team of doctors well ahead of time to try and not spend so much time at the hospital during cold and flu season. The result was amazing – in and out in 3 hours!

7:00 AM – Mom and Dad woke me up. We did therapy – vest and albuterol nebulizer. They got me dressed and we hopped into DC rush hour traffic.

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8:00 AM – Arrive at Children’s National and head straight to X-ray. We were the first ones there. This was the most sad I was the entire day. Mom couldn’t come into the room with me because she’s pregnant with my baby sister. The whole X-ray part of the visit leaves me incredibly vulnerable because I have to take off my shirt and get strapped into this chair and the room is always really cold.

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8:45 AM – Glad that is over. I finish with X-ray and head to blood work. Usually the lab area is filled with tons of people (coughing, sneezing, etc.), but because its a weekday, super early in the AM. there might be 1-3 people around. This calms me and my parents nerves as we all feel as though I’m less likely to pick up something.

I was so tough during the blood draw. I didn’t even shed one tear. The phlebotomist was amazing. Rather than force a stick in my left arm, he took the extra two minutes to unstrap my left arm and examine the veins in my right. One stick, six vials or so later, I was all done. It probably didn’t hurt that Dad thought to give me an early Christmas gift – Dinotrux! That’s Ty that I’m playing with. He’s my favorite.

9:25 AM – Finish blood draws and head to cafeteria for quick breakfast before my scheduled pulmonary appointment. I continued playing with my new Dinotrux while Mom and Dad reminisced of the horrible cafeteria food that they’ve eaten for over 55 days while by my side.

10:00 AM – Meet with my pulmonary team. Everyone is there on time and we head right in. Not going to lie – it can be a bit overwhelming to be surrounded in a room with doctors (pulmonologist, nutritionist, nurse, social worker, physical therapist) as they all ask questions on how I’m doing, how I’m eating, etc. The physical therapist is the newest member of my team. She seems cool. She asked me to run up-and-down the hall and jump up-and-down. She also showed Mom and Dad some new airway clearance exercises and stretches that I should do.

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11:00 AM – I’m getting cranky and want to go home. It’s a gorgeous day weather-wise and I’m stuck in a hospital. Time to head home.

Overall, the doctors appeared to be happy with what they saw. I’m in the 69 percentile for height, the 55 percentile for weight. Anytime your weight is over 50% with CF, that’s considered good/acceptable, but the more the better. The “problem” is that I’m so tall. When you factor in my height and weight, I’m left with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 33 percentile, which is not that ideal. Seeing as my BMI is so low, the team thought it might be beneficial for me to go on a new medication – CYPROHEPTADINE. The thought behind prescribing this medication to me is that I would benefit form the drug’s side effects – increased appetite, and sleep through the night. I still drink a bottle between 9PM – 6AM 2-3 nights a week on average. Mom and Dad are not sold on this new prescription so they and Bama & Pop are trying to a do a better job at getting me to eat more on my own and make me exercise more so that I’m more tuckered out at night.

Since the day was so nice and Mom was anxious to get a Christmas tree, we decided to head out west to cut one down and spend time as a family.

Christmas Tree Farm

We drove an hour or so west to Snickers Gap Tree Farm in Round Hill, VA. Again, taking advantage of a weekday when most people are at work or school, me, Mom, and Dad pretty much had the entire tree farm to ourselves. We walked all around, evaluating Douglas Firs and Colorado Blue Spruces on the property until we finally decided on a  beautiful fir which had a nice full shape. Dad and I cut down the tree and loaded it into the back of his truck.

Dirt Farm Brewery

After running around the tree farm, Dad and I worked up a thirst so we headed to a nearby brewery which was highly recommended by the owner of Snickers Gap – Dirt Farm Brewery.

Then Mom made us go to Luckett’s, near Leesburg. It’s some antique place. But this point I had pretty much lost it. I had dozed off for about 30 minutes in the car on the way here but never took a real nap, so we ran around briefly and then headed home. What a day!

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I cannot thank the team at Children’s enough for such a smooth and quick annual appointment. It’s the best one I’ve had thus far.

Playdate with My Cousins

When you have cystic fibrosis, you often don’t get to hang out with all your friends and family. For one, your parents are overly cautious. Ok, maybe not overly cautious, but they care so much about you, that they don’t take risks. Second, other kids often pick things up if/when they go to daycare. Anyway, it’s super rare that everyone is healthy and free of obligations, so for the first time I got to hang out with my cousins JJ and Luke.

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We all met at Bama and Pops’ house, where we played with my trucks and we danced to Alexa. I asked that Alexa play my new favorite song – Believer by Imagine Dragons.

Switching Health Insurance

Switching benefits providers is never fun. Dad’s firm recently hit 50+ employees so as a result leadership is constantly searching for best value when it comes to benefits and they opted to switch carriers – CareFirst to Cigna. What probably makes switching so bad is the added time required on the phone paired with new deductibles which must be met and not being able to get your medicine that is sitting at your local pharmacy but just so happened to be delivered on the day your insurance carrier switched. Convenient CareFirst.

Mom called Cigna and spoke to a man who was unbelievably helpful.  He assisted by getting me into a drug co-pay program where they convinced Genentech (maker of Pulmozyme) to cover my entire deductible and we’ll only owe $30/co-pay, unlike the $150/mo with CareFirst where we would blow through our entire HSA and FSA in the first month. Can you believe that? In nearly 3 years with CareFirst no one even attempted to help me out with things like that. My team at Children’s got me into a similar style of program for my Creon medication, but that only gets me free Pediasure and vitamins which are certainly helpful, but this gentleman literally saved Mom and Dad $3,000.

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In closing Mike from Cigna, said “You’re most welcome and the most important thing is Jack’s health and I wish him the best.” Not once did anyone at CareFirst demonstrate empathy over the phone. Mike then made sure that my Pulmozyme was overnighted to my home. While I’m sure Cigna will not be without their challenges and they’ll get their money, Cigna is already a welcomed change for me in terms of my health care.

Other Fun

The weather has been great and I’ve spent a lot of time outside and playing with my cousins. I also have spending a lot of time at Coco’s new apartment. I even helped her move in and even helped Pop hang his new television.

In the News

There’s a relatively new cover story published in New York Magazine that’s become quite controversial and is even described as heart-wrenching by many. It’s been referenced on the radio and even written about by others and people have even asked Mom and Dad about their thoughts. The article centers around a mother’s “wrongful birth” lawsuit and had she known she was to have a child with cystic fibrosis, she most certainly would have aborted during pregnancy. The article itself is a bit upsetting to think that individuals with cystic fibrosis or other diseases and disabilities may not be wanted.

I won’t get into the whole religious /pro-life aspect or anything because to each their own, but I can say that I know my parents and family love me more than anything. Mom and Dad repeatedly say how I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to them and they would never change anything. Do they wish I didn’t have to battle this terrible disease – absolutely! Would they switch places with me – absolutely! Do we all pray for a cure – absolutely! While there is no cure today, that doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future. Anything can happen. Thank you to everyone who’s ever donated. 

Also, I feel like it takes a special person or persons (if you’re lucky to have both a Mom and Dad in your life) to be a parent. Mom and Dad say that becoming a parent requires putting themselves after me (and soon my sister too) and that’s just part of being a parent. I guess, in the case of this article, I have to question whether the mother was ready to become a parent. Accidents and things happen every day and if something were to happen (i.e. car accident, becoming paralyzed playing football, being diagnosed with cancer, etc.) to a child, it would be the responsibility of the parent to see that the child is taken care of and has everything he/she needs. Being born with a disease or disability is no different. Parents step up! Life happens. Life isn’t fair. What makes us different is what makes this world such a great place. I for one am prepared to fight this disease and I know my parents, family, and friends will be by my side. They all love me and cannot imagine a life without me.

In a way, Mom and Dad’s situation was similar. Mom tested positive for G542X (second, most common CFTR mutation). I guess where it began to differ is Mom’s OBGYN office immediately contacted Dad to get tested given Mom’s positive test result. Dad rushed to to get tested and he and Mom waited for what felt like months (it was about a week). Dad’s test came back negative. Mom still has the voicemail on her phone saying, “great news, your husband’s tests came back negative” – eluding to a sense that I would not have CF. Doctors did recommend that the only way to be certain that I did have the disease was to perform an amniocentesis. Given that neither of Mom and Dad’s families had history of cystic fibrosis, Dad’s negative tests were encouraging, the risks of amniocentesis elevate the risk of miscarriage, and Mom and Dad ultimately decided they were not going to abort the pregnancy this far along anyway…they elected to continue on the path to becoming parents – and mighty fine ones at that. On Feb 2, 2015, I was born to two amazing parents who love me and give me every opportunity to live a normal life. They stayed by my side while in Children’s NICU and continue to provide for me today. I was born with cystic fibrosis (CFTR mutations G542X, S466X in cis R1070Q). I cannot thank them enough for the life they’ve given to me and I know each day I make them proud. I can’t wait until I have a sister to share them with and will only be a matter of time before she sees how great they are as well.

It’s Almost Christmas!

On this past Saturday (12/09), we had our first snow of the winter. It was so much fun. I kept the sidewalk cleared of snow, went sledding, and even built snowmen

Lastly, for those of you have asked or plan to do Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve (I’m talking to you Aunt Rachel)….I’m a size 4T in the clothes. I really like trucks but Mom and Dad say I don’t need anymore so any art or craft that I can take to Bama and Pop’s during the work week will do.

See you after Christmas!

Three Year Appointment

October 2017

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Hollywood

Outer Banks (October 1-6)

I had such a good time in the Outer Banks. The weather was sunny and the highs ranged from 70-78 each day. There was a steady breeze every day as well so I never go too hot while on the beach. Some nights actually were a little cool for Mom.

We stayed in Kitty Hawk (Mile Post 3.5) where there was a beach widening effort going so that meant lots of trucks! There were front end loaders, bulldozers, and water pipe trucks. The pipe stretched far along the beach and out to sea. There were boats that patrolled over small areas of water, pumping (dredging) sand back toward the beach so that the beach could be expanded. Dad read an article at one point and said the effort was costing millions of dollars.

Dad and I dug water pipes on the beach. A water pipe is a small ditch that leads all the way from the ocean all the way up to our huge sand castle. It was so much fun.

We went to the Roanoke Island aquarium, located in Manteo, NC one morning. It was great going on the offseason because we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We saw sharks, alligators, sting rays, jellyfish, puffer fish, sea turtles. The museum was really cool because they actually nurse giant sea turtles back to health that are injured. There was this one turtle that was hit by the prop of a boat and she had been there for months, but the staff hopes they’ll release her back into the Atlantic Ocean before long.

We have to thank the Monahans for opening their home and hearts up to us and allowing us the most excellent vacation we’ve had as a family of three to date. It was our first vacation as a family where we’ve left town for more than just a long weekend. It was also the furthest we’ve been away from Arlington since I’ve been born as well.  Hopefully more exciting travels are in our future for our family and I hope they all include beaches and trucks.

One of the cooler non-beach activities when at the beach was going to the different fishing piers, but one in particular because it had an arcade. The Avalon Fishing Pier, located at MP6, was just a short little ride down from where we were staying so I think Dad made us go every night because he wanted to see what the fisherman were catching on the pier. Dad tried surf fishing from the beach, but didn’t have much luck thanks to a combination of mostly east wind, some turned up surf from hurricanes which had recently passed, and the beach widening effort which was still ongoing. Anyway, the arcade was awesome. I played so many games – wack-a-fish, skeeball, truck game and with each game I played, I won tickets. I won so many tickets at this one game! I then traded my tickets in for lollipops each night and we walked along the pier at sunset.

Just because we’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean I can stop doing my treatments. Here I am with my vest and my train track and some new trucks since Dad left mine at home. That’s a front-end loader, cement mixer, anchor truck, a dump truck, and a log truck.

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Another fun thing was going and seeing all of the lighthouses (with the exception of Ocracoke because we weren’t driving that far and riding a ferry). Being drug to lighthouses as a kid, Dad assumed I wouldn’t like it as a kid either, but Dad had the foresight to bring a soccer ball for us to kick around on the grounds. Dad said the park service must of spent some serious money on the lighthouse grounds because he remembers just getting spurs stuck in his feet and no grass to play along. That’s all changed now and I was able to walk into two of the three lighthouses we visited. I could not climb Hatteras Lighthouse because I was too short :(. Maybe next year, I’ll be tall enough.

We went out to eat nearly every night. Probably one of the more, underrated restaurants for children was the Outer Banks Brewing Station because they had a outdoor boat/fort I could climb into and ride down on the slide. Dad and I also played lots of corn hole and Dad drank beer crafted from wind powered windmill.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Hatteras Island Lighthouse & National Seashore

Hopefully next year we can do something similar. Granted, it will probably be slightly different with a baby sister tagging along.

Great Grandma’s 96th Birthday

The timing heading back from the Outer Banks to Arlington couldn’t of been more perfect as it allowed us to swing into the Richmond area to wish my great grandmother a happy birthday and say hello to the rest of the Peden family. Sort of funny was when a member of my extended family rattled off to Dad, “this is the mysterious Jack. It’s my first time seeing him in person.” In a way, that mysteriousness sort of comes along with CF since I tend to avoid large crowds, gatherings, and the indoors during cold and flu season. Anyway, it was great seeing them all!

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Great Grandma appears to be elusive as well. No photos of me and her on Dad’s phone. Just me and a dump truck that my Grandfather gave me.

Cycle for Life (October 8)

Dad’s grueling training routine (2 bike rides totaling maybe 30 miles) leading up to the ride, consisted of digging, building sandcastles, proposal writing, proposal writing, oh and more proposal writing.

The ride itself was interesting. A few takeaways from this year’s ride. It rained the entire ride and there were probably still 80 riders who came out to support the cause. Dad even ran into my former doctor, Dr. Shukla. Mom was torn on how excited to get because ultimately she felt like Dr. Shukla and her had a bond which could not be broken, yet he was riding for some other team. Dr. Shukla, if you’re reading this, Mom wants you on our team next year…got that? The other interesting thing was apparently locals turned some of the small, yellow arrow signs used to navigate riders in a manner which sent the 65 milers on a path that was not part of the course. Dad and many other riders got lost. Some riders got lost multiple times, even following misplaced yellow arrow signs down a gravel path to a yard sale. I think this probably upset the more serious riders, but for riders like Dad who didn’t have bike shoes, or a road bike, or anything more than a borrowed bike, a bike helmet, and one bottle of water, he got a good chuckle out of it. Dad didn’t seem to do too bad overall.

Also, as Dad was recently at his company’s offsite, leadership said that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Cycle for Life will be to causes that they look to get more involved in through volunteering and company-wide participation. I’d also like to thank each and every rider who rode in my honor. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet any of you, but given the weather that Sunday and expected finish times were around my nap time, I just couldn’t swing it. Definitely count on me being out there next year…so long as it’s not raining.

Here is the scheduled routes (maps). And here’s Dad’s route? Dad only biked 50+ miles because of the lack of signage (apparently missed the lower loop). Overall, he seemed to do a much better job than other riders who opted for the 65+.

Please support awesome sponsors such as Old Ox Brewing, Charles Schwab, Clark Construction, Genetech, Walgreens, and many, many others. Thank you all!

How not to Train for an Event from Dad

It’s probably not advised to…

  1. Sign up to bike more miles than you’ve ever ridden before (Dad had done 50, was scheduled for 65).
  2. Sign up for an event where you are borrowing necessary equipment (Dad borrowed a bicycle).
  3. Sign up for an event requiring use of body part(s) that have been badly injured within 100 days (i.e. Dad ruptured quad 3 months before bike ride).
  4. Eat pizza, drink beer, watch playoff baseball the night before the event.
  5. Maintain a consistent diet of beer and fried food in the weeks, months, years leading up to an event.
  6. Stay up late at night, glued to your computer, and not so much as moving muscles outside of your fingers for the weeks leading up to the event because you’re writing proposals.

Potty Training

It’s going better than the DC sports in the playoffs. I’ve peed in the potty multiple times and even pooped in the potty. Mom and Dad are really hoping I’ll be fully potty training prior to my sister getting here. Dad says he won’t be buying boys and girls diapers, so I better hurry up and get this potty training thing figured out because I don’t want to wear little pink diapers.

Vocabulary

My vocabulary has really taken off. I say lots of words, sentences, and pretty much communicate to get anything I want or explain anything that’s bothering me. I know my medications – Creon, Miralax, Pulmozyme, Albuterol. Lately, I’ve been telling everyone “You’re mean”, “I want to go home (even when I’m home)”, “I need that”, and “Go away”.

Nationals (October)

Well, that was short-lived. Seriously! What the heck Nationals?!?!?!

We missed Games 1 and 2 because we were on vacation, but Dad took Maja (his mom) to game 5, since the start time didn’t begin until 8PM which meant the game would end well past my bedtime. Dad said Maja looked at him like he was possessed and that there was no way in which he could be her son. Dad warned her that she wasn’t ready for this behavior. Mom hadn’t been to a playoff game or seen playoff atmosphere or seen Dad root uncontrollably through nine grueling innings and act like the most superstitious fan in the park. Dad reminded her that fan is short for fanatic. It wasn’t until the ninth inning before Maja began to wave her free rally towel and “come around” as Dad likes to say. We have a new skipper and Harper coming back so hopefully we’ll get over the hump next season.

Halloween

I was supposed to be a construction worker, but all I wouldn’t wear the construction helmet and safety vest so I more resembled a kid playing with construction trucks. Maybe next year I’ll dress up. I certainly will be helping out with the jack-o-lanterns like I did this year. Little known trick, using a drill makes it easy and fun.

GREAT NEWS!!!

The new median age is up from 41 years old to 46 years old. This was a recent announcement made at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference this first week of November. While it’s easy and perfectly fine to get excited, we also have to maintain proper perspective. It’s hard work on those of us with cystic fibrosis and its hard work on the care takers that give us everything they have. It’s important to know that there still is not a cure and we cannot stop until there is a cure. So let’s keep fighting! I thank each and everyone of you for all you do for me. We’re getting so much closer!

Until next time…

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Take a bath you filthy animals!

October 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Obligatory child photograph with string of Christmas lights

The last post was really delayed. Here’s another one that’s overdue, but I’m committed to getting all caught up and staying on top of my posts. I promise to try and do better as my Cousin Riley and Paige have been telling me how their friends at school check out my site and are always asking about me. I’m doing well, just been super busy, but I guess they’ve been telling you all.

Last year, right before Christmas I was in the hospital for two weeks with a bowel blockage. Thankfully I got out in time for Christmas last year and Dec 20 of this year marked a full year without any hospitalizations! Most people probably take no hospitalizations in a year for granted, but for those with CF, it’s sort of like those “__ number of days without incidents” signs you see hanging up around the workplace.

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The thought of bringing it up is a bit like baseball players talking about throwing a no-hitters…Dad and I rarely want to talk about it. At any rate, I’m doing really well and the last year was a blast and I’m looking forward to turning 2 years old early in the new year and continuing my stretch of good health and keeping my visits to Children’s National Medical Center as check-ups only. My personal goal is to be the Ironman for this with cystic fibrosis and avoid hospitalizations for as long as possible.

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No better sign of being in good health than when Mom texts Dad this. Haha

Christmas

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Not sure whats more pitiful, the tree or lack of gifts

I was much better this year at opening gifts than last year and I received much more gifts as well. Everyone asked what I wanted for Christmas and what they could get me. It was quite simple actually – Trucks, Tractors, Diggers, Paw Patrol, Caterpillar, John Deere.

 

While Santa got me about 4 trucks, family and friends probably got me another 25 or so trucks. I have trucks in every room at home and at Bama and Pop’s house. Some of the trucks move around and play music.

Even had a little fun with this doggie while making holiday rounds.

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I know I still have to get south to see Dad’s side of the family, but we’re trying to target a weekend which isn’t calling for winter weather. We had our first snow the other week. While it was small, Dad and I still got out to shovel the walks of our house and the elderly lady next door.

New Year

I’m a party animal. I stay up late and usually don’t wind down for bed until super late, unless of course I partied a bit too hard. So was the case for New Years Eve…

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Fortunately I thought to take my shows off so no one could sharpie my face

When the weather has been nice outside, we’ve been going up to Madison Center to play some hoops. Dad’s getting his game back after picking back up at Gonzaga College High School’s evening pick-up league. Since joining, Dad’s already gotten hurt and had to take a couple weeks off.

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While basketball is fun, soccer may end up being my sport because I love to run around. Speaking of sports…Skins laid an egg in the final game of the season. While they probably wouldn’t have made it far in the playoffs, those are games that they have to win. Not sure where I am on Kirk Cousins…while he puts up numbers, he can’t seem to win important games and throws untimely picks. Reminds me a lot of Tony Romo. Captain Kirk is probably a top 13 QB in the league but shouldn’t expect to be paid like your active Hall-of-Famer’s (Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Brees) and I’m not sure he’s in the same class as Wilson, Newton, Ryan). And there are probably several others I’d rather have – Stafford, Winston, Carr and others who’ve proven themselves such as Flacco and Manning. I hope he realizes that when negotiating and doesn’t strap the Skins who need to improve a lot.

Per usual, the Capitals are off to a good start…hopefully they can muster up a deep run at Lord Stanley’s Cup. Congrats to Alzner on consecutive game 500.

Sleeping in my Bed

The other change to the new year is to get me sleeping in my own bed by myself. It usually starts with Mom (mostly) or Dad (he’s too big to share the twin with) sleeping with me and then sneaking out back to their room. I still wake up in the middle of the night demanding my diaper be changed and I be made a bottle. I’m also looking to conquer potty training this year.

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Big Thanks to Bama and Pop

Thanks for taking such good care of me guys. I love you.

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Mama Can’t Handle the Truth

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Mama Can’t Handle the Truth

While Mom and Dad can’t complain (they don’t have CF), they do get a short end of the stick from time-to-time as they have to help with my therapies regardless if they feel like it or not and are probably more likely to get sick as they’re constantly around me. We all know that I’m more prone to getting sick so it only makes sense that their exposure is increased. While we don’t know for sure if Mom caught whatever it was that I had, Mom caught something viral and was wiped out. That meant Dad had to step up and handle all the therapies for those couple of days. So while Mom did her best to keep her distance, it wasn’t easy on her and gave way for me to start saying “Da-da” more than ever before. That led to text exchanges such as this…

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It also led to me and Dad becoming tighter than ever before. I’m sure many of you reading are probably thinking…”how could they be any tighter,” but there’s always room for improvement with anything in life. Dad and I took to Mega Blok’s – building some pretty impressive towers. Dad would even build towers for me overnight to wake up to and see in my playroom! We watched movies and even went on some lengthy bike rides.

Instagram – Str8 Flexin’

Something super weird happened recently during this stretch as well. Mom got her first taste of social media and launched her first ever account – Instagram. Now Mama is on the gram all day every day. Dad never thought something could replace her love affair with Daily Mail, but Instagram might just be the one. Mom is always angling for more followers, so I’ll give her a shameless plug on my blog @bridgetpeden.

DC Sports

Overheard Dad telling some friends that he’s not sure he wants me to grow up as a fan of DC sports after the constant letdowns he’s suffered. I keep telling Dad that at some point that has to change and maybe I’ll be coming up at the right time – like those lucky fans of Boston sports when Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics were all hanging banners. The NLDS defeat to the LA Dodgers was just the latest blow.

First Job Offer

Received my first job offer last week. That heavy interest in construction and hanging around construction projects led to a PM on one of the sites to come up to me and Pop and offer me a job.

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Cox Farms & Claude Moore Colonial Farms

Mom and Dad felt obligated to do the pumpkin patch thing so tried Cox Farms in Centerville, VA which everyone raves about. The place has some spectacular reviews, but it scared the living heck out of Mom and Dad because they went on Columbus Day and the place was packed. They didn’t even really have a patch so much as a pen in which they herd all the patrons through and you can grab pumpkins on your way out of the amusement park. They even charge $17/person. After shelling out $34 and leaving after about 20 mins, Aunt Rachel suggested…

Claude Moore Farms which had an $8 admission and charged $1 for a six ounce cup of water and $2 for some terrible sausage sandwich. It was cool to see many of the animals (cows, chickens, ducks, etc.) but there was a lot of wood being burned throughout the exhibits like in the old days so Mom and Dad were a bit hesitant to let me roam around too freely for fear of me breathing in too much smoke so Dad had an even better idea for some outdoor fun…

Country Roads, Take Me Home…

We headed south this past weekend to Dad’s hometown in Surry. Naturally, we did obligatory Pumpkin Patch photos but I never make it easy on Dad as a subject because I prefer to run around and throw pumpkins rather than sit there like a doll. That said, here are a few of the better photos Dad was able to snag of me while at the patch and at the family farm. College Run Farms, located in Surry is free and had thousands of pumpkins to choose from. They even had pumpkin ice cream.

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Born to Run

While the above represents how I behaved as a photographic subject for 90% of the shots, Dad was able to snag a few of me sitting.

Then there wast that time I found a yellow pumpkin. Did you know there were yellow pumpkins?

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Halloween

Mom dressed me up as a circus strong man. I might of worn this costume for all of four minutes…same length of time in which I can hold my iron cross on the rings.

Words and Favorite Things

I’m probably leaving out a ton of things I say or have said to date.

  • Truck­ – by far the most utilized word in my vocabulary that isn’t “dada” or “mama”. I love trucks – all trucks. I have lots of books with trucks and lots of toy trucks. One of my favorite things to do is watch the big construction trucks fly up and down John Marshall as they continue to fix the water pipes.
  • Cheese – this is an easy one and I say it when someone holds up string cheese and sometimes repeat it when smiling for the camera. My favorite string cheese is Horizon, which irks Dad since it’s double the cost for half as much product as its competitors.
  • Teeth – my dental hygiene game is on point. I love brushing my teeth every morning and night. I even try my hand at floss.
  • Up – when wanting to be picked up, placed in high chair, etc.
  • Sit – when i want you to sit down next to me.
  • Book – not a clear “book” but pretty close and everyone knows what I mean when saying it.
  • Ball – referencing the 100 + balls that I leave scattered throughout the house
  • Hi and Bye – classic salutations
  • Baba – when I want a bottle (of milk nixed with Pediasure)
  • Wawa – when I want water
  • Work – when I wake up and look for Dad but he’s not there in bed Monday – Friday

As of this week, I’ve even begun counting 1, 2, 3.

November 

Not sure what the month of November holds, but I’m sure it will be more fun.

Aiming to stay ahead of Mom and her Instagram posts. She steals me and Dad’s photos and pawns them off as her own.  wonder where she gets that from…TMZ perhaps?

Mama Can’t Handle the Truth

September 29 – Coach Pike Tribute


Coach Pike

August 25, 1964 – September 25, 2015


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Surry County High School Cougars Baseball – 2001; Coach Jimmy Pike (far right)

On Tuesday Sept 29, Dad drove down to Wakefield, VA to pay respect to another high school coach of his who passed away far too early. This time it was his baseball coach, Coach Pike whom I’d never had the chance to meet. Both Dad’s high school basketball and baseball coaches have fallen to cancer at age 51 and once again this funeral was a reminder of how many lives teachers and coaches touch – especially in a small community. The funeral was full of current and former students and players of Coach Pike.

You might be thinking…what does this have to do with me. Why is Jack talking about this? Here’s why! Rev Ray Rowland led the services and shared several stories and referenced some Coach Pike’s favorite sayings and inspirations he lived by – most notably was inspiration passed along from another coach who went by the name of Jimmy and his famous ESPN ESPY’s speech, where he said to Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch one of the greatest speeches of all time.

Most of Dad’s time with Coach Pike was spent prior to his battle with cancer therefore he never knew of the inspiration he gained in the Jimmy V speech, nor that Coach Pike did not want to be defined by cancer. It’s interesting because as Mom and Dad read from other parents of children with CF (thanks to blogs such as this)…they constantly have that stigma that they fight – so as to not let CF define their child. I guess it’s not surprising that CF and cancer are very similar in that respect, but interesting nonetheless.

Dad also says he’ll always remember that Coach Pike expected the best from all of his players and always had a special way of motivating his players. Those are certainly the type of things passed along from a coach to a player to a son. With CF, I always have to try my hardest and give my best. On the days I won’t feel my best; Dad (and Mom) will be there to motivate me. Perhaps Coach Pike presented Dad with a Coach’s Award his senior year, knowing that these life lessons would have a greater purpose.

Seeing as the Nationals and Orioles are out of the playoffs, I guess we can root for your Texas Rangers.

September 29 – Coach Pike Tribute