The new year has arrived, and within new opportunities and resolutions for many of us. One of mine is to bring awareness to cystic fibrosis; what it has meant for me to live with it.
My name is Jonathan, and yes, I have cystic fibrosis.
Why making this my resolution? Because as someone who lives with cystic fibrosis, I have never talked about it or brought up the subject out of fear and embarrassment.
For those who do not know what it is, cystic fibrosis is a lung disease that affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat, and digestive juices. It makes these fluids thick and sticky, making it harder for someone to breathe. That's why most of the time, those who suffer from it, are regularly coughing.
I always had these thoughts of "why me?" "This isn't fair" while growing up, and it put me in a place where I wanted to know nothing about CF, pretend it didn't exist and that I didn't have it.
I would hide my CF from friends by telling them that I had the flu or allergies. Anything that would sound believable and that wouldn't drive many questions. If I had to stay at a hospital, I would say that I either was going on vacation or taking care of family issues when in reality, I was in a hospital bed getting antibiotics through an IV.
Throughout the years, my fears only grew to become "taboo" for me and avoid talking about it with others. I've lived a secret life for so long, that now it's time for me to bring that to light.
I hope by sharing my experience with others who have gone through or currently experiencing a similar situation as I did, have the courage to talk about it more to those who they love, and bring awareness to this disease that does not have to define us.
Knowing that you are not alone, and there is a community out there that cares for one another can help your fears disappear slowly, and build strength to help others.