31 Days of CF: Have You Met Cynthia Fibrosis?
Day 11 of 31
This is Lauren Michele’s story:
Hey, y’all! I’m Lauren Michele, and I’m a 23-year-old cystic fibrosis (CF) patient from Dallas. I was diagnosed with CF at 5 months old, which means we’re basically family! Since we’re family, I believe we should be on a first-name basis, so I call her Cynthia Fibrosis.
We’ve had a lifetime of memories together. We’ve been through hospitalizations, infections, a G-tube, surgeries, and many other things. She’s like an annoying little sister that won’t go away and ruins stuff for me.
Some situations in my CF journey have made me prioritize my mental health. Dealing with a chronic illness comes with certain mental struggles that aren’t always talked about. These include rough topics, such as mortality rates and infertility struggles, or realizing that waking up without anything being wrong is a privilege.
However, I have grown to appreciate Cynthia because I don’t know life without her. I have to take her into consideration in anything I do. For example, if I have to get up early in the morning, I have to set at least 30 minutes for my treatments or any other medications. There also are important decisions about my future that have to be made considering CF.
As I’ve gotten older, I have embraced CF more, and it’s been easier to accept it as an important aspect of my life. Many people didn’t know what CF was. If they did, they were trying to find out how I’d gotten it. It was hard to find anyone to relate to because I was a Black girl with CF. Finding a Black person with CF is like finding a unicorn!
For the past year, I’ve been dedicated to doing my part to help bring change to the CF community. I also try to encourage other CF patients, and show people without a chronic illness that it isn’t the end of the world and that there are advantages. CF has taught me to really learn my body on another level, and that life is too short to live in fear.
The advice I would give CF patients is to embrace every aspect of your illness, speak your truth, and live your best life!
Cystic Fibrosis News Today’s 31 Days of CF campaign will publish one story per day for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in May. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofCF, or read the full series.