I gravitated toward a career in health care almost without thinking about it. It has been rewarding, but it has cost me too.
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.
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.
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.
For the most part, I have been fortunate with my cystic fibrosis in that I never needed to go into the hospital. But, that all changed in 2008. Fortunately, I was able to start using Kalydeco. My health improved, and I was able to continue my career in radio and TV.
Taking time off from work to focus on your health is never an easy choice. Here is the story about how I made this decision, as well as some tips and advice for navigating working with cystic fibrosis.