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.
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!
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