31 Days of CF: CF Made Me a Better Man

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31 Days of CF

Photo courtesy of Ric Sherman

Day 30 of 31

This is Ric Sherman’s story:

Mutual friends had been trying to set us up for over a year. They even put together a PowerPoint presentation about why we would be a good match with very similar interests. They showed photos of us doing the same things. The first thing I heard about Mandie is “she’s an awesome, active, super fun, attractive girl, but she’s dying.” 

I later learned she had a disease, cystic fibrosis, that she was born with and may not live for very long. As I met Mandie and saw how she chose every day to live her life and survive, I was hooked. At the end of the day, I realized no one is guaranteed a set amount of time in this life. If I could have her for a year, or 20 years, I would take it. 

At first, it was a whirlwind. I spent more time in the hospital and at doctor’s appointments in the first few months dating her than I had my entire life. I had to learn about and train myself in infection control, not sharing foods, washing hands, and quarantining if I ever had a cold or came in contact with someone who did. 

I didn’t expect to have children with her and would just take things day by day. To our surprise, we were pregnant six weeks into our marriage. We were so lucky to welcome a healthy and adorable boy six weeks before I started dental school. We were newlyweds, in a different state and with new hospitals, doctors, friends, etc., but we made the most of it. 

There have been some serious highs and lows the past eight years of being together, and the bond we have forged is intangible. We spent over a year in the hospital as inpatients for the first five years of our marriage. It was rough — not going to lie. Trying to balance a new baby, dental school, and a wife whose hospital was a two-hour drive away did take a toll on me. 

But now, a new medication — which we have been praying for for years — is here, and she’s on it. Who would have guessed she’d have better lung function than ever before?

We have a healthy and wild six-year-old son, and we are back running, biking, and living life together. You just never know what life has in store, and I’m truly a better man for it.

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 go here to see the full series.