31 Days of CF: Learning Valuable Lessons From My Best Friend

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31 Days of CF

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Wyman

Day 28 of 31

This is Jonathan Wyman’s story:

A decade ago, I lost the excuse to complain about pain or anguish. Not that I would talk openly about my own suffering anyway, but still…

That is when my education (friendship) began with a special woman who has weaseled — forced! — her way into the “Best Friend” category. To be friends with her, someone who has cystic fibrosis, is to say “What battle are we fighting today?” and “Lace up!”  

As a friend, you’re gonna see bloody discharges of various colors and textures, so buckle up. You may get to play dress-up, but it’s not with Barbies. It’s for wounds and surgical incision recoveries. And the most important and hardest part is the psychology of it all.

It’s borderline impossible to describe all the thoughts that run through the mind as you watch wonderful, good-hearted people deteriorating before your eyes. You know they’re uncomfortable both mentally and physically, but you also know that you have the power to help them feel like a person and not a disease. 

So with that, you make them laugh, think about happier thoughts, teach them about things they don’t care about — like football — just to help them escape the reality they don’t want to address at that moment. As a friend, you wish you had the ability to take some of the punches for them. The mental hardship of watching your best friend prepare for surgery after surgery, to fix organs, reorganize organs, remove organs, add this, or subtract that, is frankly too much for some people to bear, and I don’t blame them. 

Sometimes it’s as simple as sitting and listening, distracting, driving to and from doctors or emergency rooms, getting meds, forcing treatments in their best interest, pushing around their wheelchairs, making/preparing food they can actually stomach… But more importantly, it’s doing whatever it takes to keep the bright energy fed to fight off the darkness.

Watching my friend fight her disease is motivation (she doesn’t like the word inspiring) for me to push on, to push harder. Seeing someone fight this hard against the darkness motivates me to stand up and fight too. 

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.