A Letter to My Body

To my body: we've been through so much and cystic fibrosis has beaten us down, but I want to thank you for never giving up on me. 

| 3 min read
Madison Madrid

Dear Fragile Body,

As I sit on the bathroom floor, slouched over with one hand holding my nebulizer in my mouth and my head resting in the other, I take deep breaths as albuterol fills my lungs. Except the breath doesn't come easily. It's consuming all my energy, causing pain in my chest, and causing stressful cough attacks. I am frustrated and I feel betrayed by you. Even though I want to tell you I hate you -- want to yell at you, scream at you for all you are failing to give me -- I love you.

As I take the deepest breath my lungs are capable of, the albuterol flows into my lungs and I close my eyes. I accept that you are weak, but I continue to be frustrated. I know you are fragile, I know you've been damaged, and as I sit here in defeat you continue to allow air into my lungs. As I fight for another breath, you fight with me. When the coughing fits surface, I clench my hands by my side. As I continue to cough and my face turns bright red, I can feel the port in my chest burning, and the veins in my body feel like they have expanded. I try to hold my balance -- I don't have enough oxygen and become dizzy. I try to remain calm as the breath leaves and doesn't return quickly enough. Everything feels strained, everything begins to hurt.

I am exhausted. Not from a lack of sleep. No, I am exhausted from fighting for every single breath. I am beaten down, I am worn. I feel defeated. But through all the frustration, anger, and fear, I am still breathing. You continue to fight with me, reminding me not to take even the smallest breaths for granted. I love you for always fighting with me for 22 years and continuing every day despite all we've been through.

You may not be perfect, but you are mine.

As you pull me out of the darkest and most difficult moments with your strength and desire to continue our fight, I'm thankful to you for every breath. When you feel weak, I promise to always stand by you, fight with you, and encourage you as you continue to fight with me every day.


I will always love you for everything you have given me and continue to forgive all you've taken away. You've reminded me during the hardest moments, when I feel most defeated, that the greatest things in life are worth fighting for. Life is too short to look behind us or resent the things we cannot change.

-- Madison

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Maddie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 8 years old, followed by cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and liver disease. Due to her health, she had to stop working last year but has found great joy in devoting time to the Great Strides events in Southern California. Aside from being involved with the CF Foundation, she spends most of her time with her 4-year-old daughter, Paisley, who has changed Maddie's life in ways she never imagined possible and is a dream come true. She is thankful for her incredible support system, who has helped her balance the demands of her illness and motherhood.

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