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.
There have been a few moments over the past four years that have provided us with perfect opportunities to give both of our kids a fuller understanding of the multifaceted nature of cystic fibrosis.
When our son was diagnosed with CF, the clinic director sat with me for hours answering my questions. Since that day, I have wanted to bottle up his advice and become a voice of encouragement for new CF parents.
When I was diagnosed with CF at 22, I was relieved. I could start treating the disease we'd been trying to identify for years. But after the initial excitement, I started facing issues of denial, anger and confusion…so I ran.
The road to rebuilding shattered dreams is not a straight one.
While my husband and I are learning more about raising a daughter with cystic fibrosis, we don't let the occasional humorous moments pass us by. Being able to laugh about certain things lets us know that we have come a long way.
My daughter loves looking up at the stars, which is perfect because we plan on teaching her to reach for those stars in every moment of her life and not settle for anything less.
As a parent of two kids, I find myself wondering if Anna's CF is changing Jack. Would he feel the same responsibility for her if she didn't have CF?
I went from knowing nothing about cystic fibrosis to having the three most important people in my life diagnosed with the disease. I was shocked to learn that not only did my two children have CF, but also my husband had it.