Living with CF is hard. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to pivot with many of CF’s new challenges. This has largely been an iterative process of successes and failures with plenty of feedback, patience, and assistance from friends and family. However, I’d like to focus on a few elements of CF that I believe have augmented my professionalism. These are elements that have taken time to develop, and are still being developed, but I believe that CF has provided a solid foundation for this professional growth.Continue reading Three Ways CF Helps Me in My Career
In this Cystic Fibrosis Wind Sprint, Jerry Cahill gives his tips and tricks for managing CFRD post-transplant. He finds that checking his sugars pre and post workout helps him keep his sugars stable. He also keeps water, candy, and sugar pills in his car in case of emergencies.
Over the last several months my health has continued to decline despite being compliant and diligent with my healthcare routine. In July I developed a fever during a trip to Boston to speak to a biotech company about my journey with cystic fibrosis. I developed a fever and by the end of my visit, I was unable to walk up steps without severe dyspnea. I was so exhausted from feeling sick I would return to my hotel room to lay in the bed for hours to rest. My chest pain and shortness of breath became so severe in the coming days that I could no longer take a deep breath. I checked my SpiroPd home spirometer which displayed a definite decline in my lung function. I immediately contacted my CF clinic to see my CF doctor. Initially, despite feeling bad, I assumed I was feeling poorly and decided not to rush to CF clinic. Sometimes I have a bad day or few bad days health wise and begin to improve on my own. Once I saw my lung function had declined I knew I needed to be seen in CF clinic rather than waiting it out. Continue reading Home Spirometers: A Useful Tool in Tracking CF Symptoms and Progress
In this Cystic Fibrosis Wind Sprint, Jerry Cahill talks about the importance of never missing your medication, especially post-transplant. To help him keep track of his meds, Jerry keeps color coordinated pill cases in his car with extra doses of medications in case he ever forgets to take them. He also keeps extra dosages in his backpack, which he carries with him everywhere, for the same reason.
The video wind sprint was made possible through an unrestricted education grant from Genentech to the Boomer Esiason Foundation.
Cystic Fibrosis is an awkward disease. Whether it’s coughing attacks in the middle of tests, the infamous CF digestive issues (for professionalism’s sake I will leave it at that, but you know what I mean), or loud treatments in the morning and at night, there are many awkward aspects to cystic fibrosis. CF’s median life expectancy is no different. Continue reading We Can, Right? – Guest blog from USACFA Fall 2017 Scholarship Winner
Living alone has its perks and its downsides too. It can get quiet at times. There isn’t someone’s presence here constantly. The upside is having the flexibility of doing what I want on my own time. Although I have recently come to realize, more responsibility means less free time to do whatever I want whenever. Having CF, this means a lot more responsibilities. Many young adults are living with their parents through their early 20s. This is something I did as well, and have recently made the transition to being on my own. There are a few things I have learned so far:
Time management is important. I have to think through my day before it happens. Fitting in 3-4 breathing treatments a day is an absolute must, so everything else I do in a day has to be worked around when I do those. I have to think about when I need to do certain things to be able to get places at certain times and to accomplish what I need to do in a day. Nutrition is also extremely important, and to make sure I’m having healthy meals, not grabbing take-out on the way home or out, pre-planning meals is something I have to think about. For example, taking something out of the freezer the night before, so I can prepare it in a crockpot the next morning to be ready to eat by that evening. When I plan things I am able to accomplish more, in a more efficient way.
I’ve learned the meaning of discipline. This goes along with time management. There are times where I can’t go meet up with a friend because I need to be home doing treatments, cleaning nebulizing vials (we all know how tedious and annoying this can be) grocery shopping or taking care of other responsibilities. I no longer have my parents nagging me and reminding me to do tasks that I need to complete. I have to take the initiative and do without being told.
I have a greater appreciation for my parents. I now realize how much my mom did for me. Mostly cooking meals, cleaning the house, taking out the trash, and just her caring nature. When she would randomly bring me a snack as I typed away at my computer. It’s the little things like that I miss the most.
Freedom. This is the best positive aspect to the whole situation. I do love feeling the sense of independence and accomplishment that comes with figuring things out on my own, planning my days, and getting things done in the time they need to be. I wouldn’t trade it. It is nice to not have constant reminders from parents and nagging about things I’m doing wrong or what I should be doing. And I feel proud that I am able to live my own life despite the extra daily challenges.
Although it is more work to be responsible for myself, I think it’s a very important step for young adults including those with CF. Parents of children with CF can be quite overprotective and may have a harder time letting go and allowing young adults to manage their own lives. It teaches responsibility and discipline and in the long run is beneficial for CF adults as they are better prepared to take on more obstacles and challenges with managing life with CF.