You have probably have heard of the saying, “the struggle is real." However, people don't understand the real struggles of being a woman with CF. I compiled my top 10 struggles of being a woman with CF. Get ready to understand what some women with CF go through in their daily life.
1. We have to carry our life with us.Most women parade around with their bottomless pit of a purse. Usually, this contains makeup, a wallet, sunglasses, mints/gum, and other daily essentials. For a woman with CF, we have to carry those, PLUS the essentials for us to live. In my purse, I have a bottle of enzymes for those times I go out to eat, a pack of tissues (#mucus), an inhaler, a charger for my oxygen concentrator and extra battery, hand sanitizer, and a mask (#Germaphobe for obvious reasons). Don't get me started with what we have to bring if we go somewhere overnight.
2. Clothes don't fit us right.
Am I the only one who can't fit into jeans?? I found that every cyster I have met has this issue. I try to find jeans that fit me perfectly but there are none. Jeans either fit me perfectly in the legs and don't fit me in the waist or vice versa. #TheStruggleIsReal. Thank goodness for leggings! (#AmIRight??)
3. Yes, I am going to eat all of that.
Most CFers have problems gaining and keeping weight on. Having said that, I am on a 5,000-7,000 calorie a day diet, so I eat a lot. People are always so shocked when I order food that is practically bigger than my body. They ALWAYS say, “Are you going to eat all of that??" and my response is always “Heck Yeah!" It's a struggle to keep the weight on so eating like a professional athlete is a must. Bring on the calories!!
4. The CF belly struggle
CF affects the digestive system. We have a problem digesting food so to correct that problem we take artificial digestive enzymes. This allows us to absorb and break down nutrients. However, sometimes we get the infamous CF belly. This is when our stomach protrudes out after a meal and we look like we are six months pregnant. I have had people ask me if I was! Advice: Never ask a girl if she's pregnant unless you know for sure. This leads to self-consciousness of our bodies. #TheStruggleIsReal
5. CF is not very lady like.
CF is definitely the least ladylike disease. Our days are full of cough attacks, which lead to spitting up mucus, gas problems due to the digestive system issue, and eating like a pig. Thankfully, everyone in our lives accepts our less-than-ladylike demeanor.
6. We're salty.
CF affects the sweat glands by secreting all of our sodium through them. So when it's a hot day, we sweat out salt crystals. I usually have salt on my clothes and my foundation tends to break up because of it. However, if you need some salt for your tequila shots, I am your girl…Just call me Morton.
7. Feeling lonely and unlovable.
Living with an illness is rough and going through life known as “the sick girl" wasn't easy. When I was in grade school I always would think to myself, “why would someone love a sick girl?" I didn't think any boy would want to be with me because of my CF. I was wrong. As I got older I realized that CF doesn't define me, it's a part of me. The struggle of feeling lonely and unlovable is real, but once I started realizing that a real man will love me for me and won't judge something that I have no control over, I was happy. I met the man of my dreams and am so lucky to have him. Remember that you are worth it and someone that matters will see that.
8. The bathroom situation
Like I said before, CF is a digestive disease and causes absorption issues. So we have embarrassing bathroom issues (#awkward). When I am out and about, I find myself searching for an individual bathroom or family restroom because I am quite embarrassed about going in public restrooms. It's such a struggle!
9. It takes 10 times longer to get ready in the morning.
Imagine having to do hours of therapy on top of your normal morning grind. Well, for people with CF this is our reality. As a girl, we have a lot to do in our morning. Some of the “normal" routines include taking a shower, doing our hair, picking out our outfit (crucial morning activity #IHaveNothingToWear), doing our makeup, eating, and packing up our stuff. In my morning, I have to do all that plus three different breathing treatments, 30 minutes of airway clearance, morning pills, and sometimes an hour or two of IV antibiotics. So it's safe to say that it takes me about 10x longer to get ready for my day than the average person. #CanYouSayStruggle
CF is a pain. Not only a pain emotionally, but physically. As if having normal female problems wasn't enough, CF brings on a whole bunch more. We go through stomach and intestinal pain, chest pain, muscle and normal pain from everyday life. However, with all the pain and struggle, we keep going with our lives and push through. So basically we are badass and nothing can keep us down since we are so strong.
CF causes more problems in our lives than we would like, yet we keep ourselves going through the obstacles that are placed before us. We are definitely courageous and strong. Females with CF are badass.