Learning How to Balance Adult Life With CF

Fitting school, work, and CF treatments into my daily routine is tough, and when I push myself too far, my performance and health suffer. I’m determined, however, to keep going and find a balance that is right for me.

| 5 min read
A headshot of Anthony McDaniel
Anthony McDaniel
Anthony McDaniel posing with his family in a park

Finding the time to do, well, anything can be quite difficult. There are only so many hours in a day. Twenty-four hours may seem like a lot on paper, but when you factor in the daily regimens that you must do — such as eating, sleeping, and bathing — on top of taking medications, going to school and work, all while trying to keep yourself healthy and have enough time for yourself, it can be a lot to handle. It is something I struggle with a lot. So much to do, so little time — I am sure you have heard that saying before.  So how did I crack the code to managing all of this? Well, unfortunately, I have not. 

Some days I have it together and other days I do not. While I would love to say that I have it all figured out, that would be a lie. Honestly, I just try to take things on a day-by-day basis, but there are a few things that I try to keep in mind during the week.

One thing that I do is check my schedule to see what I need to do for the week. From there, I will try to schedule my daily routine accordingly. Back in 2019, I had a lot of morning college classes and I would usually get up early in the morning to do all my treatments so I could be ready for the day. I would usually get up at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. so I could do everything. At that time, I had 8 a.m. classes so I did not have much choice. 

That process worked for a while, but eventually I did get sick and wound up going to the hospital. Especially when I started taking six classes at once — not because I needed to, but because I felt I had to.

I was rushing to the finish line so I would not get left behind by my peers, but I ended up just rushing my way to a hospital bed.

In return, I received all six grading letters of the alphabet — an A, B, C, two D’s, and an F. 

After that, I learned a valuable lesson — do not take on more than you can handle. Make sure whatever commitments you agree to are things you can realistically accomplish. As CFers, we already have a lot of medical obligations (if you would like to refer to them as such). It is something I really had to think about. 

Recently, I got a job working part time in the evening. It was a difficult adjustment to get used to because this was my first job ever. Luckily, since I worked in the evening and it’s not that far from my house, I was able to do all my treatments before I left the house. And because I had two days between shifts, I could relax and recharge my battery before the next workday rolled around. 

However, I am now back in school, so this has complicated things and now I must readjust my routine again. While I am only taking one class this school year, it includes an internship in which I must complete 150 hours by the end of May or else I will have to pay out-of-pocket to complete it the following school year and risk receiving an F. Unfortunately, there are not too many opportunities for me to intern nearby, so now I must travel a distance on the days that I do not work. 

I was starting to get really stressed out about it. I still am. Especially since I started to feel myself getting more worn out each week. I was even considering quitting everything altogether. Even though I am on Trikafta® right now — and it is working well for me — I still have a limit and I am not trying to push it. I am not trying to make myself as sick as I was in 2018 and 2019. Finding the time to do it all is exhausting, but I do not want to quit any of these projects.

So, after thinking long and hard about it, I decided to stick with them since I believe these things will benefit me in the future. However, I have also started taking some time for myself to unwind and relax. Taking a breather is so important for your mental health. The last thing I want is to burn myself out.

Managing time with CF can be exceedingly difficult when there is just not enough time in a day, and the entire process can be extremely draining. What I am trying to do now is create a schedule that works best for me and to stick with it, while still giving myself some time to rest and stepping back from a few things, if necessary, so I can take my time with everything that I need to do. 

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

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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Mental Health | School | Workplace
A headshot of Anthony McDaniel

Anthony is a 31-year-old adult with cystic fibrosis. He received an associate degree in radio/TV production and broadcasting and currently works part-time. In his free time, Anthony likes to make YouTube videos, produce beats, play video games, and watch/read anime and manga.

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