Wednesday, May 10, 2017
CF Awareness Month Day 10 - Pros & Cons
I'll be honest - this one's going to be a little tough. I'm currently sitting around in a hospital bed, where I've been for the past week, and it's proved rather difficult coming up with any true "pros" to having CF. I don't want to be here, and if it wasn't for CF, I wouldn't be in here, stressing about my health and the future. So, suffice it to say, lots of "cons" are coming to mind, but I'm coming up with a serious lack of inspiring "pros" to share with you, haha.
To go along with yesterday's post about big milestones and accomplishments in my life, I guess one of the pros of having CF is that it truly influences how I view life and how I want to spend my time. So long as I'm feeling well, I'm almost always up for an adventure. And I'd almost always rather spend money on making memories than acquiring stuff. There is lots of life I want to squeeze into whatever time I have on this planet, and having CF gives me a heightened sense of awareness that life in finite, especially life with the energy and health to pursue things that require physical strength and activity. It's taught me to truly "seize the day", and seek out sweet and exciting memories as often as possible. It's also taught me not to dwell on things that really are just not important - life is way too short to dwell on grudges, pithy arguments, or worry about whether my socks match.
On the flip side of that, the biggest con to having CF is time - there just isn't enough time to live the life I truly want. True, no one truly knows how much time they have on earth, but having a disease like CF gives you a heightened sense of how short life really is. There's the day-to-day time challenge, like all the time it takes to do my treatments and exercise like I should each day, especially when I was trying to work full-time or go to school. Also, I don't really ever have time to be in the hospital or to convalesce at home thanks to a CF flare-up. But then there's the more big-picture struggle with time. I spent time pursuing a career I felt called to; I spent healthy years pursuing it. This is something "normal" people do without a second thought. Now, I'm almost 31, and want desperately to start a family. For most women, having a short career then starting a family around the age of 30 is a pretty normal course of life - maybe even an "easy" one. But with my recent downturn of health, I don't know if there will be time for that for me. Maybe there is. I really just don't know. I feel like I am constantly having to do a risk-benefit analysis in my head, picking and choosing what I get to spend my time on in a way "normal" people never have to agonize over. I don't think I'll be dying anytime soon, but I feel like I'm running out of time to accomplish the things I want in life that require decent health. And it's hard.
The other biggest con is the lack of control that comes with a life-threatening chronic illness. So, so, so many things are out of my control with my health. I can't control other people going out in public when they're sick with a "small cold," resulting in me getting a "small cold" that lands me in the hospital. I can't control the weather, which increases my asthma and allergy symptoms, which triggers lots of lung issues. I can't control when my body falls behind even when I'm doing all my treatments, and I can't control the bacteria strains growing in my lungs morphing into something ugly and pan-resistant. I really can't control my body, and therefore it is very difficult to control my future.
I suppose the answer to all of this is that I put as much effort as possible into controlling what I can control, like being compliant with my treatments and exercising and eating healthily - and just accept that which I cannot control. Learning to accept this lack of control and lack of time and being able to move forward with grace and peace is a lifelong project, and a difficult one at that. Maybe, eventually, I'll learn to master this truth, though, and that will be something more to add to my list of "pros."