Learn about cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, and how to treat and live with this chronic disease.
When I decided to study abroad in 1974, I also decided that I would not allow CF to stop me from living my life to the fullest.
My oldest son, Nathan, was 18 years old when he was finally diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. While we both had been waiting a long time to get an answer to what had been plaguing him, I'd been hoping and praying that he'd escape the CF sentence. The diagnosis, however, did not come as a surprise because exactly 35 days earlier, my younger son, Caleb, at 14 years, had already been diagnosed with CF.
I had all the classic symptoms of cystic fibrosis, but neither I nor my doctors ever considered them in their totality. The symptoms were treated like separate problems -- asthma, nasal polyps, digestive problems -- until one specialist noticed a tell-tale sign that brought about my clarifying diagnosis.
When I was 13, my family went from having two seemingly normal kids to two CF patients in a manner of a few short months -- and boy, did it change everything. Because of my late diagnosis, I faced a unique set of challenges that helped make me the strong person I am today.
Cystic fibrosis can't take living away, especially when one loves life!