31 Days of CF: CF Isn’t Anything To Be Embarrassed Of

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by BNS Staff |

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Ana Allen with her husband Brady Allen, and dogs Conley and Dixie. (Photo courtesy of Ana Allen)

Day 20 of 31

This is Ana Allen’s (@ana_a_allen) story:

While cystic fibrosis is the lifestyle I’ve always known, it was something I was embarrassed of in grade school with all its nasty complications — stomach issues, coughing blood, nasty cough, etc. I would always try to cover it up, only telling my closest friends. I never imagined these insecurities would one day bring me closer to my future husband.

Brady and I met in law school. I always wanted to give off the image of having it all together and never letting anything scare me. We studied together for 1L finals, lived in the same apartment complex so we walked our dogs together, and ate many meals together. I hid my CF from him for a year and a half, praying every night for guidance on how I could tell him I have this disease. I didn’t want him to look at me differently or think it a weakness. Then one day while we were cooking dinner, I coughed up blood. I knew that was my sign to tell him, and realized it could change our relationship forever. I felt most vulnerable.

Swallowing my pride, I told him the truth (while also dialing my doctor!). I will never forget my relief when he gave me a big bear hug and just held me for what felt like a long time. He assured me he was always going to be there for me and offered to sleep on my couch that night in case I needed anything. Since then he has not only been a great partner, especially through the tough parts of having CF, but he has helped me grow by realizing CF isn’t anything to be embarrassed of. In fact, it is a strength to get through it and come out stronger.

That night was a huge turning point. We started dating in December 2018, he proposed on Easter in 2020, and we married in December 2020. He’s my best friend and the one person I can be vulnerable with. He never lets me down.

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.