31 Days of CF: My Mom Has CF, But It Doesn’t Have Her

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by BNS Staff |

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31 Days of CF

Photo courtesy of Bailey Anne Vincent

Day 31 of 31

This is Kage LaBarbera’s story:

My mom has cystic fibrosis. The disease basically makes my mom’s lungs fill to the brim with slimy mucus, not unlike the stuff in Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.” (We always quote our favorite line to her: “It is not slime, it is mucus!”) 

Having a mom with CF means visiting her in the hospital during surgeries or tests, making bad jokes about her tubes and robot parts, assisting her with meds and treatments, and helping her hide the fact that she even has CF. Not meaning that no one knows she has CF. Meaning that no one knows when she’s in pain. 

My mom is crazy, really. Here’s one example: she just had her second back surgery, in the same spot as the first, to remove a piece of bone that was causing a herniated disc. All while she was dancing, working, and being a mother of two. Now, two months later, she’s planning for another surgery to remove another herniated disc that is putting pressure on the nerves connected to her hands and causing discomfort any time she types and signs. And seeing how her job is typing and signing… yup, that can be a little frustrating. 

You’d think that after all that, she’d be lying around all day, complaining and needing the support of others. But not my momma. I’ve never given her a break. Every day I mess up somehow and every day she deals with it. She’s never given up on me, she’s never left me, she’s always stayed and been my Mommy, no matter what. And as I’ve gotten older, she’s become my best friend, my number one fan, my fellow celebrity crush obsessor, and the Lorelei to my Rory. 

And (don’t tell her this) one day I want to be just like her. She’s not just a dancer, boss, writer, wife … and she is not CF. Just because she has CF doesn’t mean CF has her. She chooses what she is. And every morning when she wakes up, she chooses to be my Mom.

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.