Updated: Oct 13, 2018
After seeing a recent video that the CF Trust uploaded onto their Youtube channel, I thought I would use some of their questions to make a new blog post. To share my own opinions, views and experiences of what's it's like being a teenager with CF.
How does CF impact on my life?
It affects me everyday. Constant need of medication and physio to keep me well.
Being able to enjoy time with friends, going to the cinema, having nights out or going out for lunch. I have never let it hold me back.
The main impact it has had on my life is time management! Trying to fit everything I want to do, and everything I need to has been hard! I never want to miss out on all the fun, but to do that I have had to keep on top of all treatment otherwise I would become ill.
From a very young age I have participated in a range of sports. I have continued to enjoy sport now nearly 18 and I believe it has been one of the main reasons I have kept so well. Filling most of my life with sport has lead me to not miss out on as much as I could have done. Still participating in competitions, either in dance or horse riding.
How do I incorporate my treatment into day-to-day life?
I have to plan my time accordingly, especially when needing to take extra medication in the morning. While at college, my timetable varies, and therefore each day is different. Since starting a part time job in 2014, I had to make sure I made time before and after work to complete all treatment, and have enough time before bed. I have to be organised and think ahead of each day. It can be hard when it comes to half terms and school holidays when a routine can drift and it becomes harder to keep track of day-to-day medication.
When I was younger
At a young age I remember forgetting I had CF and always accepted I needed to take medication and do regular physio. I remember evenings on the wedge with mum and her always making it a fun activity even when I didn't want to do it! One other memory I have as a young child is adults or older friends asking me "what do you suffer from?" I used to answer with "It's called CF but I don't know what it means" !
As I have become older I have learnt to deal with being an inpatient and understanding what treatment I need. I have still been able to take part in school sports days, discos, and trips away, but only if I stay on top of my treatment.
What are my plans for future?
2016 is going to be a scary year! After just applying to University for next year, I'm slowly having to take control of all my medication and treatment. I'm planning on using my long summer ahead to possibly travel, achieve my NPLQ beach lifeguard qualification and just enjoy the time off! For the long term future I want to possibly take a gap year and work abroad! This will depend on my health and how well I am throughout the next 3 years go an Uni!
Does CF effect where I want to go?
I have applied to University not too far from home as I know I need to be in close proximity of my family and CF team. It is important to make sure it's not hard to get home if I become unwell or need to be admitted to hospital. Also, with regular hospital updates, and 'home' visits to consider.
How am I feeling about transitioning to adult care?
It worries me. I don't like change, and it will be a big step for the future. I have had the same nurses and doctors since birth, so it will be hard to say goodbye after making strong friendships.
Has cross infection made it tricky?
Many years ago CF research hadn't shown that cross infection was a problem between CF patients. It used to be possible to meet up with other people with CF and discuss our problems and fears with each other. However, it was then shown that infections can be passed when in close proximity with another CF patient. Fotunately, since the internet has grown, we have found different ways to communicate.
Has the use of social media helped me?
YES! The power of social media has helped so many people around the world to share their lives, experiences and worries with each other. Making friends, having questions answered, and a platform to talk to one another. The majority of my Twitter feed are other people with a CF background. Either mums, brothers, uncles, friends or even themselves who have CF. I believe there's a great community where we chat and support each other every day. Also through useful websites, where lots of interesting information can be shared, and new research from gene therapy can be documented.