Grateful for the People Who Support Me Along My CF Journey

Living with cystic fibrosis, I owe gratitude to the friends, family, and care team members who love me, support me, and make my life easier. Join me in letting those who support you know how much you appreciate them.

| 4 min read
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Melanie Abdelnour
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Living with a chronic illness and supporting someone who has a chronic illness have one thing in common: It ain't easy!

It's a never-ending journey of peaks and valleys and -- unlike acute illness -- there's often no end in sight. It's a marathon of endurance where compassion can run dry, patience can wear thin, and it hurts. It hurts to watch someone you care about go through “stuff” and feel so helpless.

Personally, when I'm not feeling well, I am not my best self. And when I'm really not feeling well, I sometimes withdraw. Yet, my squad is always there for me, offering true acceptance, unwavering support, and unconditional love. Whether it's to lend a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a thoughtful text, or a much-needed laugh, they're there.

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My life is infinitely better and more beautiful because of them, and my appreciation for them is boundless. Thank you.

Then there's the health care field. It takes a special type of person to work in health care. The hours are long, the workload is mighty, the sacrifices are many, and the burnout is real. Over the years, my care team has transcended provider status and become more like extended family to me -- my “hospital family” as I fondly call them.

I cannot imagine what it's like to care for CF patients long term, to build the human connections necessary to foster trust, while losing patients year after year. It has to be painful.

My “hospital family” always connects with me on a human level, truly listens when I share concerns, respects my life choices, brings me joy, and they always enter the room with a warm welcoming smile, no matter what they're working through behind the scenes. With the deepest gratitude, thank you.

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on many projects. Through this work, I have met some of the most warm-hearted, compassionate, and dedicated humans, many of whom aren't even personally affected by the disease. I continue to be struck by how hard they're working to make our lives better, and I'm willing to bet that 90 percent of us have benefited from their efforts. For all these reasons and more, thank you.

Last, but not least, with COVID-19 looming over us, this past month has been scary and stressful. I am so grateful for all who have taken physical distancing seriously and encouraged others to protect us. When the media (social and otherwise) dehumanized the “sick” and the “old,” many others advocated for those of us living with chronic illness and valued our lives. To all who see us as human beings and who are working to save lives and make our self-quarantining possible, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Caring about someone with CF is not always easy. Those of us living with CF have no choice in the matter, but our support squads continue to choose this world and our lives are better for it.

I, for one, am so appreciative. 

I could go on and on as my heart overflows with gratitude for many. Instead, I'll end it here so you can reflect on who you would thank. Who makes your life better? Who makes you smile just by thinking of them? I guarantee it will feel good to let them know. Ready, set, go!

Interested in sharing your story? The CF Community Blog wants to hear from you.

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Melanie Abdelnour has a burning passion for humanity and connection. She loves her work serving on various committees for the CF Foundation, Boston Children's Hospital/Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Cystic Fibrosis Learning Network; teamwork really does make the dream work! She leads a mindful lifestyle and loves exploring nature with her son, Myles, as well as writing, volunteering, and spending time with her beloved squad. Mostly, she strives to be a good human and raise a good human.

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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.