Bustle for muscle

by Brennen Reeves

A mom who played college basketball. A dad who entered the army at eighteen. A brother who received a football scholarship after high school. That’s my family.
Me, I like theatre and acting.

I like to workout. I can do most anything, though I tire when I run. Running, not a daunting task for anyone else in my family- nor was the ability to put on weight or the ability to gain muscles. Both were and still remain a struggle of mine today. I understand the weight section- I have CF, my heart beats faster than other hearts, my digestive tract is not on track and diabetes is well, diabetes. Sadly, I cannot understand why I cannot gain muscle. Or turn the muscle that now exists to a lean quality.
I exercise just as much as the next person.

My parents and brother, they’re athletes. Sure, being athletic doesn’t necessarily mean you possess muscle, but my family did. I retained some of those genes. I played baseball, I owned a lacrosse stick, I love to golf. I count that as a sport (so what if I ride in the cart?).
I have coordination.

I received a bilateral lung transplant over 7 years ago. Within that gap, and day by day I become more flexible, stronger, newly energized, with no luck of further muscle growth. The weight is there. Up about thirty-five pounds. But how come there is no significant muscle gain, or the leanness to which I work for? Could it be a diet issue? Because the thirty, sixty, ninety day routine after these 7 years has been ineffective. I still come up short and this lets me down, my physical appearance.

I’m 5’6” and weigh around 120lbs. My body is symmetrically balanced. I have new lungs. There’s the determination- so why this outcome or lack of?
This is not a lecturer post but more a collaborative question- what is your secret? Do you have a secret? Is it a secret?

Sure, I still have CF, yes, my heart still beats faster than other hearts, yes, my digestive tract needs aligning, and well, diabetes still remains diabetes. Just about every other facet since my surgery has changed, emotionally, physically, etc., and my body is still present just with a little more weight with nowhere to go.

I challenge this. Could it be the severed nerves under my breast plate have yet to heal or reconnect, making it harder to attract muscle in this area? The numbness from my shoulders on down through the wrists lose feelings during most points of the day, is that a sign indicating powerless limbs?

“7years. Brennen your body needs more time to heal”
Ok.
—–
Wait,
or could it just be my body?

Advancing the GI frontier for patients with CF

The care of patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has seen amazing advances in the past few years, made in part through the development of CFTR modulators. However, the recognition of the frequency of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in our patients is just beginning to emerge. Only recently have publications noted the excessively high frequency of GI issues. Continue reading Advancing the GI frontier for patients with CF

Only I Can Look Into My Mirror

Guest Blog By: Brennen Reeves

If I were to count all of the scars on my body, the ones visible to a bystander at the beach, I’d need your fingers and toes, plus mine. And someone to mark the tallies. Thirty-eight. I’ve counted. From my chest, to my stomach, up to my neck, and down to my ankles the grooves are endless it seems. I don’t think I have any on my back but then again I cannot see my back and I still have trouble with sensation from the bilateral lung transplant I received in 2011, so I wouldn’t be able to feel them either. Continue reading Only I Can Look Into My Mirror

Cystic Fibrosis Podcast 176: Importance of Nutrition for CF Patients

In this podcast, we meet Molly Bigford, a Registered Dietitian for the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Care Team in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born and raised in Michigan, Molly began working with hospitalized adult patients with cystic Continue reading Cystic Fibrosis Podcast 176: Importance of Nutrition for CF Patients

Green Smoothie Recipe – Healthy and Caloric!

By Ella Balasa

Rise and shine to start another day! Like most of us, I have limited time in my morning routine, AND I tend to slack on getting my greens for the day. Occasionally, I will eat a salad with my lunch or dinner, but that isn’t enough. The saying also goes… an apple a day keeps the doctor away…That’s definitely something we as CF patients want! Continue reading Green Smoothie Recipe – Healthy and Caloric!

My Wish List for the New Year By Gunnar Esiason

I’m not naïve enough to think that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and find that my life is moving forward with cystic fibrosis in the rearview mirror.

We’re still a little bit away from that moment, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have high expectations for treatment development. Continue reading My Wish List for the New Year By Gunnar Esiason

Making it Matter Ep. 14

Making it Matter Ep. 14 – Advocacy and Other Things

After our week off, Julia and I come back with lots to talk about. Right after her NYC marathon effort, Julia shipped off to Europe to tour a children’s CF center in the Netherlands. She talks about how much different care is than Continue reading Making it Matter Ep. 14

Making it Matter Podcast – CF Nutrition

Making it Matter Podcast Ep. 10 – CF Nutrition

Nutrition is something I love to talk about (well…. ever since I got my feeding tube placed in 2011). It is a vital part of CF care, something that Julia and I approach differently. While my pancreas doesn’t seem to work, Julia knows she is Continue reading Making it Matter Podcast – CF Nutrition

Modern Love Column in NY Times–Worth Reading

My husband and I usually read the Social Qs column on Sundays in the New York Times. Then we glance at the rest of the Styles Section. He saw that the Modern Love column was about a double lung transplant that almost destroyed a Continue reading Modern Love Column in NY Times–Worth Reading

Body Image Issues

Like many women, I have body image issues.  My legs aren’t shapely enough, my stomach isn’t flat enough, my hips aren’t large enough, etc.  And because of CF I add in the bloated belly, skinny arms and legs, and the barrel chest and I am a hodge-podge of awkwardness.  Like many women I struggle with my weight Continue reading Body Image Issues