I first met my boyfriend in November 2017 where we worked at Honey Baked Ham. We got each other's numbers and talked on the phone nonstop for a month. It was about two weeks after we started talking that he opened up to me about his CF. The topic was brought up while we were talking about serious issues, and honestly, I did not know how to respond because I was not familiar with the disease. It wasn't long after that conversation that we went out in public for our first date.
Our whole night was special, and I loved every single moment of it. Being with him seemed fine; he did not show any alarming symptoms except for shivering because it was 8 p.m. and 20 degrees!
After a few dates, I became more curious about his condition and decided to hop onto Google. I read everything about cystic fibrosis such as symptoms, treatments, and lifespan. Google was not enough for me, so I asked my mom, a registered nurse, to discuss more details about his illness. After hearing my mom talk, I started to get really anxious because the median age of death was around 30.
My brain felt like I was on a fast rollercoaster ride, and I felt uneasy because there was a chance my boyfriend could die at an early age.
I then called my boyfriend, and as soon as he picked up, I said, “Hey, how come you didn't tell me more about your condition? It says that you could die around age 30.” He seemed surprised like he did not expect me to bring up this topic. He replied, “That won't happen to me, because I have a moderate case of CF.”
The way he responded caught me off guard because of how calm and collected he was. However, I was not calm -- I had so many questions to ask him. I started with, “Why didn't you tell me more about this? CF is a serious condition.”
He took a big sigh and said, “Well, when you're just starting to get to know someone, you don't want to risk messing things up or losing them by telling them, because people don't want to deal with that sort of extra worry and baggage, especially in the beginning of dating and relationships.”
At first, I was upset at him for not telling me sooner, but I eventually got over that. Thinking about his response, I felt special and important, knowing he trusted me enough to tell this significant information.
Later, he went into details about CF and his living conditions while growing up. I was surprised that he opened up to me so much about his life, because we were not officially dating yet. (In the past, I had dated men who were mentally and emotionally abusive.) However, as months passed by, spending time with him was fun and adventurous. Even though there would be times his condition would interfere with our relationship, it did not change how I felt about him. Even today, his CF has not been an issue for me. I see him as the most loving, honest, and funniest person in my life.
If you are considering whether to date someone with CF or another chronic illness, my best advice is to be fearless and take a chance.
However, if you are seeing someone and you are not sure whether you should tell them that you have a chronic illness, ask yourself: Do you see a future with this someone? During my relationship, I asked my partner, “What made you decide to open up to me about your condition?” He said, “The more we talked and got closer to each other, I knew there was something special about you. I could see myself marrying you.”
Now that I think about it today, I learned that I should have waited for him to tell me more details about his CF instead of asking. If you are in a relationship and your significant other has trust issues, just be patient. That is what I wish I would have done. However, finding out that my boyfriend has CF made me think highly of him, because he is strong having to live every single day with this condition and not let it get in his way.
As of today, we are still together and recently decided to get a cute bunny named Custard.
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