Hello, my name is Maria. I am an adult living with cystic fibrosis (CF).
I was born in Guatemala as what seems to be a typical newborn. However, I was not gaining any weight, and I would continuously cry after every meal. Shortly after, my father noticed one day after kissing my forehead on a sunny day that I left an unusual salty taste on his lips. He didn't hesitate to ask a doctor why that was. After seeing multiple doctors and specialists, one specific physician told my father he believed I had fibrosis quística (cystic fibrosis) but was not sure since it was hardly heard of and had minimal research. The doctor then told my parents there is not much that can be done but to treat me as an asthmatic patient. And gave them the news that I probably would not live long.
My father did not like that answer, so he took it upon his own hands to contact a brother he had in Florida to ask around if anyone knew what CF was. My uncle went to the nearest hospital and found out there was an entire clinic for individuals with CF. He contacted my father immediately and said, you need to come here now. Without hesitation, my father, mother, sister, and I began our new journey in a new country. I was 18 months old when I was officially diagnosed with CF, and after intense several weeks of hospitalization, I was reborn. My new birth country, the United States of America.
Although this journey has had its ups and downs, I have made it my mission to teach family, friends, and others what CF is. I enjoy educating others on my condition and how CF has impacted my life and my family's life. I feel it is my duty to educate others because they thought I was always sick with my constant coughs and countless enzymes intake with my meals. I have never been afraid to speak up about my condition and not so people can feel bad for me (which I have never liked) but to inform others of what CF is and how it can affect others differently. This disease not only affects me but those who have walked this journey with me.
Unfortunately, the doctor that gave my parents a little help with actually putting a name to my situation passed away, but if I could, I would love to meet him in person just to let him know that I have made it a long way, and I am here to stay. I am now a 31-year-old woman in my 2nd year of graduate school at Nova Southeastern University to become a bilingual speech-language pathologist and pursuing my dreams. My parents sacrificed everything they ever knew and had and left it behind to give my sister and me a better life quality. I will forever be grateful to them and my CF team.