I still can’t believe it, but it’s officially been two years since I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Although it is a genetic mutation I have had ever since I was born, it is still something new to me since my diagnosis two years ago and provides me with opportunities to learn and grow.
I will not lie and say that the entirety of these two years have been wonderful, because I truly did (and still have) some very difficult days. It was honestly very hard to be diagnosed a week after my 18th birthday, because instead of feeling young and full of life, I felt old in body and weak.
HOWEVER, I can also honestly say that these last two years have been tremendously beautiful in not only the awesome relationships I’ve been blessed with but also in how much I have learned about myself. I have learned how to love myself just the way God created me to be (genetic mutation and all). Although I still have insecurities and doubts just like everyone else, I am slowly learning to appreciate myself and the qualities that make me, me.
I have learned that life is too short to be mad about long lines or situations you can’t fix. It is too short to dwell on things that harm your heart. Not only is life short, it is also beautiful. Take time to love and care for the people around you. Go outside, do something you love, read that book you’ve been wanting to read for months. Appreciate every moment friends, and live in each moment as though it was your last and I promise you you’ll be happy.
I am also learning about the good nature and positive, unfailing companionship that so many people have shown me these last two years. I don’t care how cheesy this sounds but I seriously could not have gotten through the incredibly tough times without you. Whether it was an encouraging letter, text, or conversation, I appreciate it so much and am thankful that are people like you in this world; the world is better because you are in it. Although I still have a long ways to go, I am so grateful that I get to have truly outstanding people supporting and walking alongside me.
There are a few specific people I want to mention really quickly, although my words could never be enough to express the gratitude I feel.
To my mom, whose worry is a sign of unconditional love that is so appreciated. To my roommates, who support me and talk with me about life’s big questions. To my friends, who always ask me how I am but never make me feel like less of a human. To my teachers, who are always understanding and caring. To my grandparents and stepmom, who come with me to the hospital and love me and support me and are always there to talk.
And to my dad, who pushes me to always be better, cries with me, supports me, and who two years ago today told me some difficult, long, and strangely absolutely beautiful news that forever changed my life by making me more aware of how graciously precious it is.
Because it is still a somewhat rare condition, I know it can be confusing and difficult to understand (I had no idea that it existed before I was diagnosed). So below is some general information about Cystic Fibrosis that I hope explains it a little better. The information is from the CF Foundation website and the link is below if you are interested and want to learn more:
What Is Cystic Fibrosis? Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) have CF. In people with CF, a defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:
- Clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections.
- Obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down food and absorb vital nutrients.
The beautiful featured image was taken by the incredibly talented Olivia Erickson. A link to her page/blog is here: http://www.livphotographs.com/