I gravitated toward a career in health care almost without thinking about it. It has been rewarding, but it has cost me too.
As a teacher with cystic fibrosis, I find it no surprise that heading back to school can be a shock to my system. But over the years, I've learned that if I can remember three main things, I can stay healthy through the transition back to school.
When I ran into a particularly difficult situation with my last job, the “d” word entered my lexicon for the first time: disability. While my life doesn't look like I thought it would, I have come to accept where I am and gained a new perspective on work and life.
Like many of my millennial compatriots, I was booted from my parents' health plan when I turned 26. While my friends were shrugging health insurance off as just another growing pain of their 20s, I was panicking.
After leaving a job where all of my colleagues knew that I have CF, I've chosen to stay guarded in my new work environment and not take the risk of telling anyone about CF, including my superiors.
As I have grown in my professional career, I have gone from speaking as little as I can about cystic fibrosis at work to being open about having CF and how it affects me.
When I became a nurse, I was determined to be punctual and reliable, and I excelled despite my cystic fibrosis. But on the advice of a CF doctor, I changed my career trajectory, which at first caused heartbreak, but eventually led to a leadership opportunity.
Throughout my life with cystic fibrosis, I have marked many milestones. My most important one yet is holding a full-time job while managing my health.
Although I resisted it at first -- and wrestled with what it said about my worth as a person -- going on disability has helped me become healthier, happier, and more fulfilled than I was when I was working.
Check out my six tips for keeping a good work-life balance while also maintaining your health.