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  • Jenny Livingston started the topic CF and Sibling Relationships in the forum Adults​ ​With​ ​Cystic Fibrosis 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    My relationships with my siblings are some of the most valuable ones I have. I’ve mentioned before that both my older sisters were also born with CF. (My oldest sister passed away at the age of 14.) I also have two brothers who do not have CF. I later gained 3 step siblings and 2 half-siblings, but for the sake of this post, I’ll focus on the original 5 of us. 

    I’ve often wondered how having CF affected my sibling relationships. I am close to all my siblings, but there is an undeniable special connection to my sister. We’ve been through so much together and she’s been like a built-in CF support system. There is something really beautiful about having someone who completely gets all things CF, who is also part of my family.

    My brothers are great big brothers! Jason, the brother just older than me, is fiercely protective of both me and our older sister. He acts tough, but has a giant soft spot for his sisters. Tommy lives nearby and is the only sibling I see on a regular basis (less now due to Covid, of course). He and his wife have always been willing to help care for my daughter during my hospital stays, etc. His help and friendship have been invaluable.

    If anything, I believe CF has made our bonds stronger and our relationships more dear.

    I sometimes wonder how my brothers felt growing up. Were they ever jealous or bothered by the amount of time and energy it took for my parents to care for us girls? Did they feel left out? (My mom tells a story about them begging to take enzymes and drink Ensure.) I suppose I’d have to ask them!

    But for now, I’m asking you…

    How have your sibling relationships been influenced by CF? (Whether your siblings have CF or not.)  If you’re a parent to a child (or children) with CF, do you think CF has had an affect on their sibling relationships? If you have any, I would love to hear about your siblings!

    • So I’ll answer you in unnecessary detail. Storytime! Ready? (haha)

      I am the baby of 5 kids and I am the only one with CF (although mine, like some friends on this forum, was diagnosed later in life and is considered atypical, or CFRD). All 4 of my older siblings are healthy, although my Dad has always had heart problems, hearing loss and frequent chest colds throughout his life (he hasn’t been tested but I always wonder if he has a tiny piece of a carrier gene or something?), and his mother was a brittle diabetic. His father died of heart ailment around 40 years old (my dad was 5), and in fact, it is actually why he lost his contract with the Red Socks! He was a player for them until they discovered an irregular beat, long long ago.

      My parents had my eldest three siblings first, and then years and years later (my eldest brother is 21 years older than me!) had my sister and I. She is 4 years older than me. We are their two happy accidents, one could say, with homage to Bob Ross.

      My Mom was 42 or 43 when she had me (I always forget which), and I’m the only one who developed health problems as time went on. I am super lucky that both of my parents are active and passionate in their mid 70’s (you would truly never guess there age) and have always modeled healthy curious living at every age and stage along the way.

      That was too much information… and didn’t fully answer your question?… But there you go! That’s the family tree, lol.

      If you don’t mind my asking, would you be willing to share a favorite memory or family story about your sister sometime in the future? A future post, even? I always love feeling like I’m a tiny fallible piece of keeping someone’s legacy alive by having the honor of hearing about them, and then imagining what it felt like to love them.

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