You can't stop Breathin' Steven

January 30, 2016 • Posted in guest blog, Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike, Uncategorized by

Hi folks, it’s Mike–introducing a guest blog of sorts. It’s actually a blog converted from an email message from our remarkable friend Steve Ferkau. Steve is, well, one of a kind. In the best possible way. 2016 marks the 14th year in a row Steve will climb to the top of the John Hancock Center (94 floors, 1,632 steps). No small feat for a guy once on the verge of death from cystic fibrosis, who is now a double lung and kidney transplant survivor!

Breathin' Steven always makes it to the top. And raises money for a very good cause.

Breathin’ Steven always makes it to the top. And raises money for a very good cause.

He had to take an unwelcome break from his workout routine last week when he caught a viral infection. It’s the kind of virus that a non-transplant person wouldn’t have to worry about–but Steve does. He was prescribed prednisone. I’ve  taken prednisone for really bad sinus infections in the past. And I’m not ashamed to say–I kinda liked it. Lotsa energy, sort of felt invincible. One time when I picked up a prednisone prescription, I noticed that among the many side effects listed on the label was this: False sense of well-being. Bring it on!

When I learned Steve was on prednisone, I emailed him to ask how he was doing, and to compare notes about how it affects him. And this is what he wrote back. He did not disappoint. Apart from being funny, it provides a little window on what transplant survivors have to endure. Hope you enjoy.

False Sense of Well Being
by Steve Ferkau

Agreed on the false sense of well being!!! It’s a very dirty drug – and actually rather awesome for transplant and immune suppression / immune confusion. But it can make people angry, depressed, grow hair, lose hair, hyper, jittery, F**KING TALKATIVE, high blood sugar / diabetic, cataracts, osteoporosis, the list goes on…. It’s a corticosteroid, not an anabolic steroid — your body actually naturally produces it to battle inflammation. Our bodies, even when they’re failing miserably, are totally amazing biological machines.

Laura LOVED that I was cooking, cleaning, cleaning more — she could get used to that. Not the constant chatter though – a dose of shut-the-f**k-up would sound delightful to her if someone could slip that into my drink.

At work I was yabbling away at the building concierge working out some fundraising thang — and explaining to her how the high doses of prednisone impact me — as she could readily observe by my lips moving in a blur.  As we were standing in front of the barrista I ordered 4 shots of espresso. You would have LOVED the look on her face. Like, ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME??? And pleading with her eyes, “Can that possibly be the right thing to do at this moment???”

Well… I had the last elevated dose this morning — so the fun stops now. Or, at least the accelerated fun.

I see the doc tomorrow regarding RSV status… I may not be out of th woods — it can impact lung transplants dangerously and if the $500-for-ten-days-drug they gave me ain’t cutting it, they’ll wanna get more aggressive. Viruses suck — oral antivirals are a bit of a joke — VERY expensive and quite ineffective… But even IV and other antivirals are a crap shoot at best. Again — the most effective thing is your body rising to the occasion. But then you just hope immunity thangs don’t suddenly go the route of, “and you may ask yourself, this is not my beautiful wife, and this is not my beautiful house, and these are not my beautiful lungs, and this is not my beautiful kidney…”.

I’ve been through seemingly WAY more serious things than this — but in reality, they’re not. It’s these seemingly little things that scare me.

Hope you’re doing great!!! I’ve got an amazing team behind me.

This year’s hustle is just four weeks away: Sunday, February 28. You can read more about Steve and donate to his Climbing for Kari team on his web site. Please read his story, and the story of his donors–it’s remarkable. 

breathinsteven On January 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

I abso-freaking-lutely LOVE it!!! Love, Steve


Leave a Response