Breathing is supposed to be easy. Inhale, exhale, right? Well for me, it’s easier said than done. My name is Tiffany Rich and I’m a professional cystic fibrosis fighter. I was diagnosed with CF at birth and it was the beginning to a challenging and rough, but amazing, life. So basically what I am saying is that cystic fibrosis is that one acquaintance you didn’t invite to the party but they showed up anyway, so you just have to deal with it. (#SoRude)
With CF comes a lot of baggage. I have to do multiple breathing treatments, chest physiotherapy, take 60+ pills a day, and be attached to an oxygen leash 24/7 (Yes, I did say leash and yes I am referring to a dog leash. #CFprobs), but I am so happy that I have these things to keep me alive. I have gone through a lot in my 27 years, including multiple stomach/intestinal surgeries, pulmonary embolization, lung infections (too many to count), and now having to be on the transplant waiting list for brand new lungs.
Now you’re probably wondering why I say “amazing life” when I go through more than one goes through in their entire life span. Let me explain. I choose to be happy every day. I choose to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, even though some days it is hard to do. Especially when being on the transplant list, life can feel daunting and nerve-wracking, but staying optimistic is definitely important. I give much of the credit for keeping a positive mindset and making my life amazing to my support system. These people include my family, boyfriend, and friends. Without their love and support, my life would be far from amazing. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without all of them.
Although this life is far from perfect, I make the most out of what I have been given. My calling in life has always been to help others. I started a YouTube channel called LUNGS4TIFF to bring awareness about CF and organ donation, and to help others struggling with CF and other chronic illnesses. I find that by helping others, I am helping myself cope with what I am going through. Honestly, this life is not an easy one. There are times where I cry and other times when I have no motivation to get out of bed, yet I force myself to do things. I find that sitting around is only good for relaxing in between activities or when I'm sick. It's a must to get those lungs moving to get rid of that stubborn mucus. Sitting around can also cause our minds to go crazy with emotional thoughts, so keeping my mind distracted with YouTube, crafts and exercise is a must. Other things that I enjoy are hanging out with my family, boyfriend, and friends, listening to music (mainly my girl, Taylor Swift), watching movies and shopping.
So this is my life with cystic fibrosis. It may not be glamorous, but I make it worth my while. Remember never to take anything for granted. Also, there are no bad days if you’re breathing.
Xoxo - Tiffany #LUNGS4TIFF