31 Days of CF: I Keep Being Grateful

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by BNS Staff |

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Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month | Cystic Fibrosis News Today | graphic showing a photo collage of members of the CF community

Photo courtesy of Camille Richards

Day 12 of 31

This is Camille Richards’ story:

I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) seven years ago at the age of 19. Since then, I have gone through the grieving process many times. There are many losses with CF, some big, some little, some permanent, and some temporary.

It is surprising how much the little things can sting and need to be grieved. I find it can be hard to validate myself when one of those little things comes up. I find myself adding on more suffering rather than sitting with the initial grief. I tell myself it’s not that big of a deal, other people have it worse, just “let it go.” You would think that after years of experimenting with these stock phrases, I’d understand at some point that they aren’t going to make things better.

Someone once told me that all pain is valid no matter how big or small. Recognizing this has been so valuable. It’s OK for me to validate and allow myself to grieve each loss. I don’t have to meet a certain level of pain before my experience is valid, it gets to be valid whether I’m grieving a change in physical ability or an afternoon spent on the phone with my insurance company.

By validating and allowing the losses to be there without judgment, I am able to better see and appreciate the good. There is much to be grateful for. I am grateful for the medications and interventions I have received to help treat my CF and improve my quality of life. I am grateful for the friends I have made among the CF community and the lessons I am learning.

While my genetics do not qualify me for a modulator, I am grateful for a community dedicated to advocating, researching, and fighting for a cure.

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.