There are, of course, the other aspects of CF: Digestion, possible onset of diabetes, liver disease, bone density and so on. To keep an eye on all of these bits the CF team continue with the annual reviews, where they do every test under the sun - a full annual MOT. Today I went for this year's.
Needless to say, my blows were a lot better than last year. A LOT. They produce a graph showing your % predicted (for your height, gender and age) FEV1 (1 second forced expired volume) from every CF clinic visit since records began, which for me is the last 15 years. That's quite a lot of data. It is actually remarkably interesting, especially if you're a bit of a spod like me, so I've copied it in below with some arrows to interesting events, and some explanation (click on the graph to enlarge):
- I never had above 50% FEV1 from the age of 20 (in 1995), until now!
- The introduction of DNase is understandable when you look at the gradual decline over the previous two years
- I used to really bounce straight back from infections - look at the first University one, and the Africa one - later on with the nasty infections I took a step down each time and never really got the lung function back. In the old days the antibiotics really worked - it was the infection hitting the lung function - clear the crap, suddenly you can breathe again. Later on the underlying lung damage was prevalent and didn't allow me to recover.
- The Africa trip was a fabulous month of messing around in East Africa, and I thought the risk of not taking DNase with me (how do you keep it refrigerated when backpacking??) would be worth taking....er...no! I've never quite understood how I survived the flight home from Zanzibar - let's just say I don't remember much of it and was probably in a hypoxic stupor...
- Starting the nebulised antibiotics gave me a lot of stability - see how the variation in lung function between visits is markedly reduced? It gave me a good 4-5 years extra time.
- 'Aint it just the coolest jump up in lung function at the end? 20% predicted to 90% in one hit!