There’s a certain amount of pride that often accompanies the proving of one’s own capability. In other words, exceeding someone’s expectations is literally the best.
Sometimes, the “someone” you’re aiming to prove wrong isn’t on your team — they anticipate your failure because they think you’re lame. (Sad!) Other times, they are on your team, but they don’t want to overestimate your limits and, as a result, make you feel ashamed. Both types are great motivators.
In the CF community, this “someone” is sometimes a doctor, a family member, or a friend: people closely familiar with cystic fibrosis who feel they have the insight and the footing to guess how far we’ll walk or how long we’ll live. But more often than not, the “someone” is us. The patient. You and me.
Perhaps it’s fear that drives us to push ourselves so hard. Speaking for myself, this disease seems to be stripping normalcy from my life like it’s nothing. I watch routine fall away like skin after a bad sunburn, or like curling paint from a haunted wall. Every birthday, I simultaneously celebrate a new year and mourn a level of health that I might never reach again.
Five years ago, at the age of 17, I danced a tap solo that placed second at a national competition. Pretty cool, right? I never worried about my weight. I went to the hospital twice a year, at most. These days, I often must do breathing treatments before I can even take my dog outside to go potty. Though I’m only a part-time college student, I’ve actually lost sleep because of stress — no, not because of my workload, but because the thought of walking across campus to class is exhausting and anxiety-inducing. I’m frail and I hate it. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling, like, 88.
To combat everything that I can’t do (e.g. aerobic exercise, heavy lifting, tie a respectable knot), I tend to overcompensate. If it’s up to me, it’s getting done. And that’s not always the best for my health.
In the past two weeks, I’ve moved into a new apartment, written two blog posts, drummed in the biggest football stadium in the country, attended my first week of senior year, and made a new friend. That said, I had a fever and a horrible cough for the entirety of those two weeks, and last night I was admitted to the hospital.
I’m excited by life. I’m excited by everything. There’s never a good time to hit pause and go to the hospital, because when I sit down and look at my calendar, every single day holds something inside it that I want to do. I hate when people say I inspire them, but I love when people say I impress them. I don’t know if that’s egocentric or what (I’ll bring it up with my therapist when I get out of here), but it’s a thing.
If I wasn’t so excited about my life, I most definitely would’ve called my doctor and come to the hospital earlier in this bout of illness. I also would have rested much more, eaten much more, and watched much more YouTube. But honestly, the satisfaction I feel when I realize, Whoa. I DID that, is usually worth getting a little sicker.
Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.