What is your hope for the future?
My response to this question has remained the same throughout the majority of my lifetime. As the years have passed, my reply has ultimately been wrapped in numerous layers of uncertainty, sprinkled with “ifs” and “buts” and clouded by the ambiguity of cystic fibrosis. The reality is that what I truly hope for in the future isn't something I have complete control over, and that makes muttering the answer so much harder. There are days where I wish I had other desires, ones that were within my grasp at this very moment, but my heart continues to circle back and that is how I know it's worth fighting for.
The truth is, I hope to be a mom. I hope for my husband to be a father, and I hope for our trio (family cat included in this math) to become a flock one day. Pregnancy in cystic fibrosis comes with its own set of challenges, and my husband and I have become far too aware of the barriers set in our path.
Family planning, especially with CF, requires teamwork and encouragement from both sides.
I have done my research, and I am aware of the ideal pulmonary functions to encourage a healthy pregnancy. I know how many pounds I need to gain in order to be considered nutritionally suitable. I know what would be best for my health while caring for a newborn. This is the way I have chosen to fight the uncertainty. I have decided to use adherence today to motivate me to reach a goal in the future. I believe that I can work each day to be compliant, to tick off small goals on a larger list of resolutions to better my health and become ready for pregnancy. In the end, this is really the only form of control I have in this situation: how I respond to the challenges of family planning.
The truth is though, breathing treatments and pills help me breathe, reduce my pain and make me a more productive human for the day. However, more often than not, there isn't a sense of instant gratification equal to the amount of work I put in to taking care of myself. Swallowing my pills each morning will not suddenly cause our family to grow in size. Breathing treatments and vest therapy won't cure this disease. Sometimes during those weak moments, when my lung function has dropped despite doing everything in my power to hold off the destruction, I think, “What's the point?”
My husband helps make sure my treatments are set up and ready to be used each morning and night.
This is when I am reminded of the larger goal -- the one that matters more than the disappointment and failures, and the one that will bounce in my belly when I cough and fall asleep in my arms. This ambition will take planning, hours of treatments and sacrifice, but the result will be eternally worth it. Isn't that what being a good parent is all about -- sacrificing to ensure your child's happiness and safety? I know that because of the difficult path scattered with immense effort set before me, I would inevitably be a good mom.
Will my husband and I become parents one day? Honestly, I don't know -- I don't have the answers right now. What I do know is that if I were compliant only for myself, I would have given up a long time ago. It is my hope that one day I might be called “mom” and that is what keeps me going when all other motivation has faded away.
Polaroids displayed in our home show a year spent enjoying life with CF. One day, a Polaroid of a baby might be cheerfully added.
If I want my world to revolve around the tiniest blessing in the future, right now it must revolve around adherence to the treatments and medications that give me the best possible chance of a future in general. I work every single day to fulfill this vast desire in my life because this is what it takes when you really want something, and I really want to be “Mom.”