I’ve been trying for a while to write about my daily battle with Cystic Fibrosis. Everything I write just doesn’t sound accurate. There are some days I have energy to sew, cook dinner, do laundry and even head to the gym. And then there are days where maybe I manage one of those things. Other days, as I start to feel short of breath, or my lungs feel burdened with infection, I manage none of those things, and just managing to keep Emmie fed and safe is my accomplishment for the day.
Living with an invisible disease as an adult is very eye opening. I am no longer quick to judge someone solely based on appearance. I couldn’t say the same thing for 16 year old me, but a decade later, I get it. The person who parks in the handicap spot, who looks perfectly healthy and capable -who knows what battle their fighting behind closed doors? I get it. I really do. Everyone has their own antagonist and who am I to judge them without even knowing any of their story. Some days I surely don’t look sick, but I really do fight a daily battle.
Sometimes it’s a physical battle: coughing, fevers, swollen achy joints, throwing up, or debating whether I have the energy to go to the store to get milk. Other times it’s a mental battle: dragging myself to do at least one more round of therapy, convincing myself that it’s worth it to leave my cozy spot in bed to head downstairs and take the forgotten nighttime pill or simply rallying my inner cheerleader as I do a nebulizer for what seems like the millionth time.
While I may find myself frustrated with some of the stresses CF puts on my life as a mom, wife, and as a twenty-something year old member of society, I hope that it also presents the opportunity to teach my child to be compassionate, caring, and selfless. I hope she grows into a young lady who doesn’t judge people by the seemingly simple context of appearance, but learns to appreciate everyone’s strengths and weaknesses while acknowledging their silent battles.
We find ourselves living in a world where it’s easy to hide behind computer screens and cruelly typed words. I want her to understand that we can be better than that. We can replace judgement with compassion, hatred for acceptance and frustration with patience. We can be confident in ourselves and be kind to others. We should always push ourselves to be the best self we can be and while sometimes my CF seems like a burden, I know it’s helped push me to be a better person, wife and mother.