When people find out I have Cystic Fibrosis, they usually respond with sympathy and pity. Oh how I hate pity! Some ask if I have ever thought about what it would be like to be normal. What is normal? My CF and my diabetes and everything else are my normal. My normal is a day filled with medications, shots, and treatments. My normal is hacking up a lung and gasping for breath. My normal is visiting doctors and spending weeks in the hospital. My normal is coughing up blood (this really scares a lot of people). I honestly could not imagine a different normal. Like what would that even be like? I would not wish for a day without my CF and other problems. What is the point in that? A day of "normalcy" would only be a tease. A life I would never have access to. Seems like torture to me. I have CF, it will not go away. People always seem to feel bad for me but I alway wonder why because I have never once felt bad for myself. Even though my life may be cut short from these problems, I live more than most people! I do not take for granted the time I have. I love more deeply and laugh more loudly than I would if I thought I had all the time in the world.
I feel normal. I do what "normal" college kids do. I have friends. I go to parties. I go out on dates. I have fun. I spend too much money. I choose fun over class sometimes. I have a life. One thing I refuse to participate in is smoking though, anything at all.
If I did not have my CF and other medical problems, I would not cough everyday (seriously, it blows my mind that some people do not cough even once a day...seriously BLOWS MY MIND!) I would not spend forever doing treatments and taking medications. I would not constantly be pricking my fingers or giving myself shots. I would be taller and be, let's be honest, probably as big as a house the way I eat. I would be terrified of needles and hospitals. I would not have an expiration date stamped across my forehead. If I did not have CF, I would not be the person I am today. Make no mistake, CF does not define me, but it has shaped me.
CF has made me appreciate more. I call it a blessing in disguise. I always wonder "would I value these things as much if I did not have CF?" and "would I be this awesome if I didn't have CF?" I'd like to think I would. CF makes me value my education (even though it seems to be taking forever to get that bachelor's degree!). It drives me to keep going and to be successful. It allowed me to obtain a part in a TV show (I wanted to be an actress. It was my wish. The show went off the air a couple months after my on air performance.). It makes me love and trust more than I probably should. It helps me to jump over life's hurdles. It makes me value the time I have with my family and friends. It makes me hold them closer to my heart. It makes me more eager to be outgoing and to treat everyone with kindness because every person I meet is fighting a battle I cannot see. It allows me to make a difference and to educate others about CF so maybe one day it will stand for cure found. It tries to help me not sweat the small stuff (but I stress easily). It forces me to look at the bigger picture, but to also appreciate the little snapshots.
Everyone dies sooner or later. I just do what I need to do to live as long as I can while living my life to the fullest extent.