31 Days of CF: How I Maintain a Positive Outlook

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by BNS Staff |

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Jen Kyle

Photo courtesy of Jen Kyle

Day 4 of 31

This is Jen Kyle’s story:

When I was diagnosed at age 37, I was at the height of my teaching career and newly married. It was a blow at first, learning new meds and routines along with learning everything about cystic fibrosis (CF), but I was determined that CF would not define me.

I kept doing all the things I had been involved in: president of my state association, VP of Dance for the East Coast, teaching PE and dance, coaching cheer and dance squads, and running programs in my school and district to promote healthy bodies and minds. Each time I got sick, I did what was needed to get better. I wasn’t going to let it stop me.

When my health declined to the point where I could no longer get through a teaching day, I knew it was time to retire. I was 44 with an amazing career, so this was not an easy decision. I decided to start a dog-sitting business to keep busy. My business grew into a successful retirement career. I have been running my business for 13 years and am so grateful for the wonderful furry friends I have met.

Once I settled into retirement, I was able to take much better care of myself, so my health actually improved. I started volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, helping with BreatheCon, ResearchCon, MiniCons, and Community Voice. That spiraled into becoming a patient partner with the Cystic Fibrosis Reproductive and Sexual Health Collaborative, and I now sit on the governance board as the meeting coordinator. I have loved the new adventures CF has brought my way. I have also participated in five clinical trials and look forward to more.

As health issues continue to throw curveballs at me, I face them with problem-solving and optimism. I recently started plant-based eating to combat the side effects of high cholesterol and blood sugars from Trikafta.

I am about to start new chapter: moving to Kentucky to be with a wonderful man I met after my divorce. I am so excited to start this new life and can’t wait to see what amazing things will happen.

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.