I have found that the limits cystic fibrosis imposes on my life are a bit like weather forecasts -- open to unexpected changes. Whether by hard-fought scientific advances, thoughtful (personal) planning, creative thinking or sheer luck, many of the limits of CF now come with beautiful possibilities attached.
Starting at 6 months of age, I began my daily journey battling my chronic illness, cystic fibrosis. And now, at 28, my heart is heavy because one of my nearest and dearest caregivers passed away unexpectedly … my father.
Hollywood often portrays people with serious illnesses as brave, inspirational characters. I don't always feel that way, and sometimes the real "fight" is facing that fact.
There are no easy remedies for the perpetual dance that the parents of a chronically ill child do to deal with the painful and enduring isolation. And personally, I found a sense of hopeless defeat.
Some days, the biggest struggle I have is accepting that I have CF.
Although my lung transplant was the end of one story, it was also the beginning of another, more difficult story.
Finding a Balance Between CF and High School
In a culture flooded with advertisements about the perfect body, secret weight-loss tricks and fad diets, our cultural ideals of weight are often skewed to an image that is far from healthy.
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.
Time after time, cystic fibrosis has shown me that what I thought was important could change with changing circumstances.