I’ve been volunteering at the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) now for over 10 years – it’s been a big part of my journey and integration into the CF community. I no longer am the guy that’s hiding behind my lungs, but now lifting my shirt to show my scars. I’ve become a proud advocate for CF – everything from the research, to my baby, Team Boomer.
The primary thought behind starting Team Boomer and subsequent events like the Run to Breathe in Central Park each year and the Bike to Breathe that Em and I are starting next week, was to encourage those with CF to stay healthy by being active.READ MORE: NYPD: 5 People Hospitalized After Police-Involved Shooting In Upper Manhattan
When you have CF, the best thing you can do to help keep your lungs healthy is to use them. Some days are harder than others to get out of bed, so hopefully those with CF will look to Team Boomer and be inspired to move, move, move to keep their lungs healthy.
I’ll tell you, what I didn’t expect when I started Team Boomer was the outpouring and support from the community – not just the CF community, but the community in general. I’ve never been so happy to feel overwhelmed than when I’m at a Team Boomer event.
Having the opportunity to be a part of BEF as an active participant has been a game changer for me and is at the core of my most recent reinvention. It was amazing for me to go 55 years without a transplant, but when I needed one, it was serendipitous that I was embedded in the CF community
It gave me a greater understanding of what to expect and even though I was considered to be the “older guy” among my CF friends, getting a transplant wasn’t an area where I had the most experience. Luckily for me though, I had many were more than happy to help me understand what lay ahead for me.
There’s so much I can say about the whole transplant process, but there’s not enough room on this blog. If you’re curious enough about it though or know someone if your life about to go through a transplant, definitely have a read about my experience here.
In a nutshell, it was a precarious thing to be on a transplant list – it’s like walking a tight rope of being sick enough to get a new set of lungs, but not sick enough to die. And, I can tell you, that tight rope is microscopic.READ MORE: Prisoner Escapes From Custody At Bellevue Hospital
I’m really grateful that I had and have a great team of doctors and NY Presbyterian behind me to navigate pre and post-transplant life. In fact, even one of my transplant doctors, Dr. Sonett had me running the Run to Breathe race with him just three months post-transplant. I thought I was nuts, until I met this guy.
My new set of lungs doesn’t mean my CF is gone, but I can breathe. I can finally breathe! When I took my first few breaths when I woke up from surgery, I thought something was wrong. Nope. That “something” was clear lungs. My new lungs are accompanied by things likes side effects from ant-rejection drugs, diabetes and a few other things, but, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. It’s my mission to do everything I can to keep these lungs healthy – not just for me, but my donor Christopher and his family.
Fast forward to just over three years post-transplant and my life and health are a balancing act, especially when I’m training for something like The Bike to Breathe. The way I train and my nutritional choices have changed from pre-transplant but I realize how lucky I am to be able to bike 5 miles, let alone 500.
Up next: Training and eating for 500
But, before you go, check out the following links – all a part of my journey…
teamboomer.org – All bout Team Boomer and events even the most novice of athletes can join!MORE NEWS: After More Than A Year, The Show Must Go On: More Broadway Shows Announce Plans To Resume Performances
cfwindsprints.com – offer tips for exercise, nutrition, traveling, and therapies