Life, Love, and Lungs
Last updated: October 2023
I recently rekindled a relationship that had ended some months before as I felt my life slowly falling apart. I received difficult news at a doctor's appointment and felt overwhelmed by life. The second half of 2022 had found me in a very dark place which left me grieving the normalcy I had found since starting Trikafta in 2019.
My health had faded. My mental health plummeted shortly after. My finances took the final plunge as I struggled to keep up with work. I was at an all-time emotional low.
Crawling out from the debris
I found myself alone in my room one day early in the new year trying to face those demons. I had spent the majority of my life battling my CF with an optimistic attitude. This downward spiral was new for me and almost impossible to escape from.
I was angry at my body. I was angry at the world. I suddenly felt like a burden. I found myself struggling just to manage normal everyday life. I knew I had to do something.
Rerouting my mind
It was a gradual transition. One day I lay in my bed, giving in to defeat. Then, one day I wasn’t. I decided I wasn’t going to allow this disease to destroy me without a fight. I started to focus on one thing at a time.
I put my focus first towards my kids- who during my sickness had also declined mentally. Together, the three of us climbed out of our darkness.
When I felt a bit more stable mentally, I tried to get back into a gym schedule. The gym has been a driving force in recent years in getting me into the best health I’ve ever been in. I started back slowly, intent on not focusing on my losses.
Lastly, I cut out the bills I could manage and tried to add a few extra hours a week to my work schedule in an effort to lower the debt I’d accumulated while sick. I still struggled in that department but thankfully I’ve been blessed enough to receive help.
Stop and smell the roses
As Spring came around my mind was in a much better place. I had an emotional few weeks in April, but that wound up leading me to a level of peace I’ve never experienced. I became aware of what I really wanted in my life. I found a peace within myself I had been lacking. Once I’d found a good place mentally I began enjoying the renewal all around me. I stopped needing to rush for all the answers and took time to enjoy the beauty around me. I stopped and smelled the (65) roses.
A choice to live my life
I started working on the parts of me I struggled most with and crawled out of my own darkness. I started thinking about what I really wanted out of life.
Then, a few weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail. I hadn’t fully disclosed my medical situation to my past partner until I left. In the time between me disclosing my cystic fibrosis and receiving the letter, he’d been researching everything he could about treatment plans and medical advancement. He didn’t expect anything from me but he wanted to share what he’d found.
It took me some time to process that level of dedication. I had to really sit with it for a few days because I was overwhelmed with emotion. He took the part of me I struggled most with and accepted it wholeheartedly. Then he tried to lighten that load. His words helped me view my illness from a whole other vantage point. A huge weight melted away.
I was loved despite my scars. With no guilt. With no shame. Just pure acceptance and love.
Letting love in
It took me some time but I finally lowered my defenses and gave love a chance. I’ve had a lot stacked against me the last year or so, but I managed to survive. I was tired of survival mode though. I was tired of letting my CF put limits on me. I took a leap and landed in calm waters. For the first time in a long time, I let go of my feelings of needing to carry all this weight on my own. I learned to accept help and love.
Grow as we go
The last few weeks have been me essentially relearning habits I picked up in survival mode. I’ve gotten better at letting someone into my world. I’ve gotten better about trying not to disguise the parts of me I found burdensome or unflattering. I have allowed myself to be helped when I needed it and to be taken care of.
I am learning in a safe place, with an extremely kind partner, how to accept myself as I am. As a woman. A single mother. As a CF warrior. As me. Together we are growing to love ourselves exactly as we are.
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