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Ask The Advocates: How Has CF Impacted Your Friendships?

It's no secret that cystic fibrosis touches every area of our lives. Whether we are going to school, choosing colleges, entering the workforce, or building relationships, CF is there. When it comes to making friends, this is no exception. The CFF recommends that people with cystic fibrosis stay at least 6 feet apart from other people with CF, making it difficult to make friends with others who are in the same boat. How else does CF affect building friendships with others?

CF sets me apart from others

Response from Janeil Whitworth

It’s hard to ignore the ways CF makes me different from my friends. As an adult, it also seems like our experiences continue to diverge further and further apart. A lot of times it can be difficult to relate to my friends simply because their lives are a tad more “normal” (whatever normal means).

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As my friends were just beginning to build their careers, I was “retiring” because of my health. I definitely have less energy to go out and instead spend more time taking care of myself because of CF. In addition, I got married and had a child relatively young because of my disease which has altered my priorities and goals.

Honestly, it is easier to be friends with people who have CF just because there is an already established understanding, but they often lack the in-person connection I need. Every friendship has its purpose and season in your life and I think I am still trying to figure out that balance.

Not everyone understands

Response from Misty Roussa

A lot of my friends don't "get it" since they have met Jax and he looks as normal as can be. There was a time where I really felt alone in caring for him because unless you are the one doing the work, an outsider really has no way of knowing what the caretaker of a CF child job entails. It can be very isolating, especially in the beginning.

My friends are supportive of my CF

Response from Cheriz K

Honestly, I never hid my CF. I took my stomach feeding and pump to sleepovers, I had IVs in during school, I just rolled with whatever life threw my way. I think CF impacted my friendships in a positive way more than negative. Overall, my friends were supportive. When you go through such large life changing moments, like having a stomach tube put in, multiple surgeries, and hospitalizations, the bond it creates is very strong.

It may have impacted what type of activities we did or where we hung out. For example, my friends always hung out at my house. I’d do my breathing treatments and meds with my friends all around me. It wasn’t a big deal at all. I had friends over constantly and I loved it. I’m thankful for all the ways CF influenced my friendships.

CF made me realize who my friends are

Response from Marieliz Landa

I’ve lost friends over CF because I can’t hang out like I used too. Moments where I am too sick to do anything is also hard on friendships because it’s difficult for people to grasp or understand what I go through. I think some people can and can’t be friends with a CFer.

Having CF has taught me who my friends are and who isn’t. CF has also brought me friendships with other CFers that has been invaluable to me throughout the course of my life.

Our circle is very close

Response from Katelyn Harlow

I have a small circle of close friends, but they are amazing. They are very protective of me, advocate for me, and support me in every way possible. Not only that, my girlfriend's husbands have turned to my husband's good friends and they offer a lot of support for him. We all call it their "bromance" and it's really cute to see!

How has CF affected your friendships? Share in the comments below!

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