Hardship and obstacles are two components of everyday life that can make one seemingly great day turn into a storm of despair and setback. For me, the obstacle that affects me the most would be my constant battle with body: my Cystic Fibrosis, my asthma, and my diabetes. From the outside, I resemble a normal, healthy teenage girl, but from my perspective, I feel like I am constantly breathing through a clogged straw, fighting to keep my blood sugar levels in check, or overall struggling to find the energy to get out of bed in the morning because my body is just tired from continuously battling to keep me healthy. I can no longer count on ten fingers the amount of doctors I have. These setbacks come with more than meets the eye and involve more components than just the pulmonary or just the endocrine systems. As one could assume, I miss lots of school, much more than the average student my age. However, in this tremendously deleterious component of my life have come incredible factors of my life that I feel blessed to have. Ranging from the feeling of strength and responsibility, to the successes I’ve had academically and athletically, to the beautiful people in my life that continue to support me, these seemingly inimical components of my life have brought some of the best blessings I could ever ask for.
Some of the greatest minds have said that with great power comes great responsibility, and in that, I have learned that the power I have over my body and its health comes with just that. Wake up, take all my pills, puff the inhaler, spritz the nose sprays. Sit down, do my aerosol treatments, which last at least an hour, cough up as much “junk,” as my doctors call it, as possible, and get ready for the day. Post school, I repeat the aerosol treatments and clearing of the lung junk and follow with my college work. Post homework, a third aerosol treatment and clearing is done, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get a decent night’s sleep without having coughing fits. This is my daily routine when I am healthy and not in field hockey season. Remembering all of my medications and treatments and completing hours of homework to keep my GPA high has really taught me over the years how to not only manage my time, but make responsible decisions that will be the most beneficial to me. Responsibility plays a vital role in my life because I not only have to manage the commonalities of a teenager, but be the leader in controlling the direction of my health. This early maturity for me means that I am able to make appropriate decisions that will be valuable to not only my health but my lifestyle in general.
Despite having these glitches in my daily life, I have seen phenomenal academic and athletic success. There is not one week of school where I do not miss at least a class or two, which undoubtedly puts me at an academic disadvantage in comparison to my peers. Though the best solution for a person with my problems may seem to be take the easier classes, I choose to do the exact opposite. Through my perseverance with keeping my health the best it can be, I have learned to do the same with my grades because I acknowledge the importance in preparing myself for an equipt future. Within the struggle to maintain my health, I have also come to the mature realization that unfortunately, life will not always be perfect, and mistakes cannot define you.
People say that hardships can show you who is really there for you and who cares the most, and I couldn't agree more. Through the countless appointments, hospital trips, sick days, emotional breakdowns (whether it be because of school or health), there are certain people that have always been there to support me through everything, and these are the people who helped shape who I am today. Without the love and support given to me from my family and friends, I’m not sure I would have the mental stability to endure such hardships. Participation of everybody and their friends, and their friends’ friends, in my team for the annual Great Strides walk is one way to know that I am not alone in this journey and it gives me the strength to carry on.
Cystic Fibrosis, asthma, and diabetes are no friends of mine, but I do give credit where credit is deserved, and these diseases have influenced my life in a way that no other factor could. Through dealing with these unimaginable conditions, I have developed a sense of maturity and responsibility that allows me to make appropriate decisions and live a respectable lifestyle. Perseverance has allowed me to apply the same characteristic to my academic and athletic life, which has lead to certain successes I am very proud of. Without the support of those around me, this ongoing journey may be much more unnerving.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been a huge part of my life ever since I can remember. Over the years, the amount of support seems to increase more and more and the people around me are something I am so thankful for. Without the aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, research and progress would not be made, and people with CF today would be living a very different life.