I was born with Cystic Fibrosis. I was healthy as a child but my Mother had Cystic Fibrosis too and she was sicker than I was. We used to go on our regular joint visits to the hospital and to this day, I can’t stand those shiny polished floors, the shiny walls and that telltale hospital smell..Ugh
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetically inherited disease and both parents are involved in passing on a defective gene – this is known as a recessive genetic disease. Cystic Fibrosis affects the chloride channels. The CFTR mutation allows too much salt and water into cells. This results in a build-up of thick, sticky mucus in the body’s tubes and passageways. These blockages damage the lungs, digestive system and other organs, resulting in the symptoms of cystic fibrosis.
A common cold has me in bed for at least 2 weeks and more often than not, intravenous medication needs to be administered to help me get rid of the chest infection.
Life throws us challenges, no matter who we are and it’s more about our attitude and how we respond to these challenges that determines the outcome. I used to resent the fact that I had cystic fibrosis and felt inferior. I started to challenge this thinking when I was in my twenties and after I had my son, when I was 28, I realised that despite a weaker body, it still got me through life. I found a renewed respect and began to think differently about myself.
My body has had to work harder to keep me functioning in life and I have a more positive atttiude now. I have different fingernails (because of cystic fibrosis – they are slightly clubbed) but I am more at ease with what I have and make the most of it now. Cystic Fibrosis has kept me very grounded, I have a steady perspective and clarity on life and this helps me immensely in my counselling work with others. I am able to cut through the superficial stuff very quickly. There are many medical breakthroughs and new inventions coming forward so who knows what the future holds but in the meantime I enjoy every day as much as possible and appreciate time more than most.
Whatever life throws at you – remember that you can choose your thoughts and your attitude. You can resist things you can’t change or you can learn to deal with it in the best way possible. It can make a huge difference to the quality of your life.
Autobiographical book: Destination Delinquency?