Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CF Awareness Month Blog #7 - School

When I was in elementary school, I remember my mom would always give my new teacher a pamphlet about Cystic Fibrosis at the beginning of each school year. I remember being allowed to use the bathroom when needed and I had to see the school nurse every single day before lunch to get my enzymes. The only time I would miss school was for my 3-4 doctor appointments throughout the year, and we really tried to schedule them over Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring/Summer breaks so I wouldn't have to miss school. Thankfully, having Cystic Fibrosis didn't affect my elementary years too much.

June 2006 - High School Graduation
In middle school and into high school, the Vest came out and that's when CF starting playing a much more prominent role in my life, that I was not happy about. This still didn't affect my schooling, (but it did affect the relationship between my parents and I) I was let out of my class right before lunch about a minute early each day so that I could make it to the nurse to get my enzymes before passing periods began...but that's about it.

I've always planned on going to college. I never even thought that CF would prevent me from that. I've also always wanted to be a teacher and never let CF get in the way of making that my career. When I was applying to colleges, I only looked in-state because I knew that I wanted to stay close to my CF clinic because I had such great ties there. For me, going to college was a huge step in my independence from my parents. I was living on my own, I had to prove to them (and myself & doctor) that I could take care of myself on my own. *My first semester of college, my lung function actually went UP!* I was in charge of refilling my prescriptions, scheduling my own doctor appointments around classes and doing my treatments.

May 2010 - College Graduation
I'm not going to lie, it was not easy. I struggled to do my Vest & nebs everyday. I definitely didn't do them everyday. I was one of those patients that would think, "I feel fine, why do I need to do my treatments?" Or "It's fine if I just skip this one tonight." Which of course would turn into skipping several. Thankfully, I never became super sick while in college, but my lung function was in the 70s at that time. It wasn't until the end of college, my senior year probably, when Tim and I got engaged that I needed to start kicking my own butt - no one was going to do it for me and no one should have to. During our engagement, my goal for the wedding was to not cough during our ceremony (I know, it sounds weird, but I didn't want to...don't know how to explain it). That's when I really starting pushing myself to be better about my treatments. After I graduated in June, then we got married in October, I was at my healthiest weight and lung function. :-)

Clearly, my 100% compliance, exercise and eating better didn't happen over night. It's something that I've been working on for years and I'm still working on. I think it's something I'm always going to be perfecting.

Anyway, I didn't let CF get in the way of my schooling and/or pursuing my goals. I made it through four years of college with a degree in Elementary Education. I worked as a teaching assistant for two years before finding this WONDERFUL job as a Kindergarten teacher this year (which is almost over :( ). Still "being in school", I can say that I still don't let CF get in my way. Yes, I have lost weight, but I'm learning to adjust. It's not the end of the world. I'm doing something that I absolutely love, so I will make it work!


  1. I totally get that you didn't want to cough during the ceremony. I remember the morning of my wedding I was coughing like crazy (stress related) and I was crying because I thought I would be coughing during our ceremony. Luckily, the nerves passed and I was cough free for the entire night.

  2. Oh, the games we play with ourselves, right?! I used to do the same thing with my treatments. Just skip tonight, no big deal, then turns into a week. I guess the best thing is that we learned our lesson, right? We now know that for our long term health we need to accomplish the treatments in the present. Today for tomorrow sort of thing. I think those who don't have CF or have been closely linked to CF have the same mind set. They don't understand why skipping one treatment is such a big deal. Especially if its for an activity they deem as "living life to the fullest". I use the example of exercise, if you skip one routine it takes twice the energy to start back up!

    Loving your CF Awareness posts.

    1. Glad to hear you're enjoying all of the posts. And yes, I completely agree with you about the treatments! I just wish I would have learned that on my own much earlier than I did...oh well, better now than never! :-)