Cystic Fibrosis & My Friend

It is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month so I wanted to do my part to help raise awareness.

What is it? Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe. People with cystic fibrosis are at greater risk of getting lung infections because thick, sticky mucus builds up in their lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply. Lung infections, caused mostly by bacteria, are a serious and chronic problem for many people living with the disease. Minimizing contact with germs is a top concern for people with CF.

If you see someone who has CF you may never know it. On the surface, they may look fine and may seem like they don't have a care in the world. But at home, they may have to hook themselves up to IV's and take breathing treatments. They may have a multitude of pills they have to take for various side effects of CF. They may have to monitor things like their oxygen level, there sugar, their heart rate. All things that take up a part of their day and keep them alive. All things that is just routine to them would terrify us to live with that every day of our life. But someone with CF will do these things and then get up and head out and live an otherwise normal life. 

Let me introduce you to my dear friend, Stephanie. She is just 29 years old and has been afflicted with CF her whole life. She is one of the sweetest, strongest gals I know. Not to mention she's a beautiful young lady.

She endures whatever God sends her way and continues to praise him for the good days and trusts in Him to get her through the bad ones. 

Every time I hear people complain about allergies, sinuses and colds and say they can't breathe and can't wait for it to be gone (myself included), I think of my dear friend who struggles with breathing issues daily. She is continually having to take breathing treatments. But she never complains. She just states the facts when you ask how she is and ends with a proclamation of her faith that God will get her through it.

What for us would be a small cold which is gone in a few days, can send Stephanie to the ER and have her admitted and hooked up to oxygen, IV's, and around the clock meds. When she is finally released, she has to come home on IV's and oxygen. She has to continually check her oxygen levels in addition to many other daily things she has to keep tabs on for her health. All this from a cold. 

She recently had a bad bout of the flu and pneumonia which is a double whammy for someone with CF. Each time she has to go back to the hospital, it takes a little longer for her to bounce back.

But yet she continues daily to lead as normal of a life as she can. If it means wearing her oxygen tank 24/7, then she does. If it means not hugging anyone at church or shaking hands, she asks others to respect that she can't. She has always worked in Children's Church and VBS. She has a wonderful compassion for kids. But this recent set back has left her with strict instructions to not volunteer in those areas or go on school field trips till she "levels out" because as much as we all love little children, they are a hot bed of colds, strep throat and flu. Things that can bring her to her knees and weaken her even more each time she contracts a new virus.

I watch her struggle on a regular basis just to do the things we all do without even thinking ... and that is breathing. My heart breaks when she gets so sick and I worry so much about her. But on the flip side I admire the strength that this beautiful girl has about her. They had recommended she not have children, but that was her one wish in life. Her little Lilly is a joy and the light of Stephanie's life. I do believe that love is what keeps her going, what provides her with a will to beat the odds. She has a strong sense of God and family.

CF has come a long way in techniques and treatments. Years ago, a CF child rarely lived to their teens. Some CF's are now living into their 40's and 50's and a few even into their 60's. My prayer is that they find a cure or a better treatment that will prolong that even more. If you are given a chance to make a donation to CF this month, please drop in your pennies and help them explore for a cure. 

And say a prayer for my dear friend and others who suffer from CF when you can. 

(Steph & Lilly)

I love you Stephanie and keep you in my prayers continually.

1 comment:

Terri D said...

I will add CF patients and your dear friend to my prayer list. Bless her for her attitude and faith! Bless you for your compassion and love!