Have you ever had one of those moments where you look back at your life and you realize that hundreds/thousands of individual events have all come together to form your life the way it is now? I’ve had these moments throughout my life, and I realize how blessed I am for the way things have turned out so far. I was thinking about how blessed I am with my PFTs and my life right now, and I was thinking about how it would all be different if certain events had never happened.
First, I was entirely blessed that my dad finished his nursing degree right at the time I was born. He knew the medical terminology, knew various medical issues that were hot topics in the medical community, and he was able to do the feeding tubes I needed without problem. In addition, he pushed to find a CF center that was not jumping on antibiotics every time a child got sick. He felt that resistance would be a future issue, and he wanted to let my immune system fight what it could on its own. Wow, am I grateful for that. At this point in my life, I’m resistant to a few antibiotics, but thankfully not too many. Because of this push, I have been at University of Chicago since I was born. I had one of the best pediatric doctors in the world, Dr. Lester, and she was wonderful.
Tying in with the above, I am so fortunate that I live close to Chicago. I can’t imagine how different it had been if I had grown up in a state that didn’t have the massive teaching centers that Chicago offers. Chicago has numerous teaching centers and I think the standard of care provided at University of Chicago is incredible. Had I been in a state without an established and well-known CF clinic, then my life might be totally different right now. I have been blessed with an amazing, caring team of doctors who are entirely focused on my health. In 2008, I had sinus surgery and cultured both MRSA and P.A. in my sinus cavities. I was told that they had numerous doctors together discussing my case to figure out the best way to treat me. When it comes to my health, I won’t lie to you, I love being talked about J.
As stated initially, my dad’s career choice was a blessing in my life. I also, however, was blessed to have the parents I do. My parents treated me like a normal child from day one. CF was not a disease I was going to die from. They encouraged me to be just like every other kid. When I was little, I was outside running, biking, rollerblading, and swimming from sun up to sun down. I came in for lunch and water breaks, but I was allowed to be a kid. I wonder how it would have been different if my parents hadn’t let me get all that wonderful exercise throughout my childhood. I also wonder, if I had been born in today’s day and age, would I have been playing video games instead of playing outside?
I was also born at the right time. When I came into this world, CF was advancing and research was being completed. I was fortunate enough to start on pulmozyme when I was very young, and I was lucky that the vest came out when I was 8 or 9. I was one of the first people to have it and it helped tremendously as I was getting too big to lay on my parents legs while they beat on me. I have seen so many medications come into the CF pipeline, and the way CF is treated has completely changed. I am so blessed to have seen all of these medical advancements, and I can not wait to see the other advancements still to come (like the vertex drug that I am very excited about).
Even heading to the college I did and meeting my now-husband has greatly impacted my CF life. I am so grateful that he has such a caring heart, and a dedication to helping me fight this disease. He works to provide us with income and insurance. He makes me compliant with my treatments, and he puts my health first all of the time. He happened to get a job close to both of our families, and still close to Chicago. Had he chosen a job somewhere else, I would be at a different CF center. Had he not graduated a year early, he may not have gotten a teaching job, and we may not have been blessed with the wonderful insurance we have now. I feel like I can never thank him enough for his continuous work and dedication to ensure my health. He is a blessing, hands down.
Needless to say, I have been extremely blessed in my life. This blog could go on and on, but these are some of the top things I think about on a regular basis. If even one of these factors had changed in my life, I don’t know that my lung function would nearly be as high as it is. I am so grateful for my parents, my CF center, and my husband. They are all incredible allies against this disease, and they have helped me more than I will ever be able to realize/thank them for.