Showing Strength By Asking for Help

Asking for help is not always easy. Asking for help when you have cystic fibrosis is even harder.

| 4 min read
Lydia-Sand-Headshot
Lydia Sand
Lydia-Sand-Asking-for-Help-Featured-Rectangle

I wouldn't say I'm an expert on this topic as my journey is ever evolving, but I was recently challenged with an experience that caused me to lean on my family and friends.

I often wonder if I ask for help or favors for something cystic fibrosis-related if people will pity me, feel that I'm weak, or wonder why I need help when I look healthy. I am an expert at managing my CF and have my care routine down pat. However, CF is full of so many uncertainties that my carefully scheduled plan often needs to be adapted. I cope with uncertainty by trying to maintain as much control in my life as possible, especially when it comes to my health.

Recently a nasty cold sparked an exacerbation that landed me in the hospital and on intravenous (IV) antibiotics. Intense fatigue and missing important deadlines at work were not part of my plan. I knew at that moment that I would need to push past my insecurities and ask for help. Although I have wonderful friends and a community that supports me, I live alone and my parents live in another state, which complicates situations like this.

I focused on working hard to get out of the hospital as fast as I could. My care team agreed to discharge me earlier than planned with one condition -- I had to accept help. 

Lydia-Sand-Hospital-Stay-Rectangle

Because I live alone, my care team wanted someone to stay with me to help me as I finished my course of IV antibiotics so I could focus on recovering. I felt immense guilt when my dad told me he would take a week off from work to stay with me.

Both of my parents have supported my CF journey, but I still carry guilt when they have to drop their lives to help take care of me.

I know my parents and friends will always show up when needed, but that doesn't mean it makes it any easier to ask. I am an independent adult. I manage my CF every day. I like to have control. I know how to rest, cook, sterilize nebulizers, do treatments, and take IV antibiotics. I knew that I would have figured out a way to accomplish it all if I had worked through it alone.

I did not realize how much I needed my dad's help. It took all my energy just to take care of myself. I quickly realized after I got home, to make a full (and faster) recovery, having help was crucial.

I realized that accepting help didn't make me weak.

Living alone with CF will always be difficult at times, and there may still be moments of guilt when I lean on my parents and friends. But, asking for help will always help me overcome those challenges. As I mentioned earlier, I'm still working through how to ask for help when I need it. But, after reflecting on this recent experience, I was reminded of how truly powerful accepting help can be.

My advice, for anyone struggling with how to ask for help: Be brave, be vulnerable, push past the feelings of weakness, push past the feelings of guilt, and allow your community to support you when you need it most!

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Lydia Sand has a drive for life and refuses to let cystic fibrosis hold her back. She received a master's in public administration in 2016 and works on a federal grant for health care workforce initiatives in Nebraska. Lydia has been a successful fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since 2001. She has been a Great Strides Ambassador for the Nebraska CF Foundation chapter, a current Tomorrow's Leader, and involved with other efforts in the CF community. A South Dakota native, Lydia currently resides in Omaha, where she enjoys traveling, playing in a sand volleyball league, trying new recipes, and working to keep her plants alive. Lydia shares here CF journey via Instagram at @Inspireinthesandbox.

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