It’s nearly impossible to describe oneself. For instance, I could write that I am intelligent but perhaps that’s not at all how most people perceive me. (And to hell with them if that were the case.) What I think I am could be widely different from what I actually am to the majority of people. There are those that unfortunately become so obsessed with trying to live in the image that others have created for them that they forget who they were born to be. That’s a scary concept and opens a whole philosophical can of worms, so I’ll try to take my mind out of overdrive and write as simply and honestly as I can. Think of me as humble and demure, or pretentious and proud. Just think of me, and know that I’m so much more than the words on the pages. But this is a good place to start.
I was born on Aug. 18, 1985. Within weeks of that date, my mother noticed something was wrong with me. I was ALWAYS hungry and I was not gaining any weight. I was even more fussy than those babies that suffered from colic. After some testing, it was confirmed that I had cystic fibrosis. I’d explain what CF is, but it might be easier if I tell you to visit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website at www.cff.org. However, to sum it up I often say that CF causes the mucous in my body to be too thick in all my entire body, so things get sluggish and gunky. That’s quite a simplification, but it’s a starting point. This “gunkiness” debilitates almost all of my organs, but it’s especially detrimental to my lungs and pancreas. Describing this fatal genetic disease can bring up the same quandary as describing myself: there is likely at least a small discrepancy between how CF affects me and how it appears to affect me. If you ask my family, they’d probably note that I’m pretty damn strong and have done quite well with the cards I’ve been dealt for 28 years. In my own opinion, I’d actually agree.
I’d add that my childhood was pretty carefree and I rarely got sick. However, each year I was increasingly less able to keep up with the “normal” kids, I was hospitalized more often, and I became more depressed as I realized that this stupid cough, that was so often mistaken for some contagious superbug, was going to kill me. When I was in junior high, I developed diabetes because my pancreas doesn’t work correctly. It was an added hardship, but one that I did eventually adapt to. Nowadays, I check myself into the hospital where I’m a 10th-floor legend at least 5 times a year usually. These stints last about a week on average, and when I’m let loose I go home on intravenous antibiotics for another two or three weeks. It’s such a regular occurrence that my friends and family don’t even blink when I take out a syringe, connect it to a tube stemming from a chest-implanted catheter, and inject myself with various liquids. Even when I’m not sick, I still cough slightly.
I take handfuls of pills, use an airway clearance vest, give myself insulin injections, check my blood sugar, do nebulizer treatments, and that’s just routine maintenance that I do at least two times each day. CF really invades every aspect of my life. But the point is that I HAVE a life. I currently live with my parents in Michigan. My mom, who is truly the best mom in the world, works as a support staff and bus driver for our local school system, and she takes care of me when I’m too sick to care for myself. My dad is a self-employed logger/lumberjack; he’s an extremely hard worker who is always supportive and proud of me, and he can always make me giggle with his goofy antics. I have an amazingly intelligent, beautiful sister named Sarah, who is a surgeon in Boston. She inspires me daily and pushes me to be stronger physically and mentally. I’m extremely proud to be her little sister. I really can’t say enough about my family. They have always been there for me, and I hope that they know much I love them. And a family isn’t complete without a dog. Ours is a super sweet Vizsla named Lily.
I volunteer at our local animal shelter twice a week when I’m feeling well enough. I try to keep busy with craft projects such as scrap-booking, jewelry making, quilting, etc. I’m an avid reader, and I obviously like to write. I try to exercise as much as possible because it’s very beneficial to my lungs as well as the rest of me. I even attend Zumba twice a week in a class led by my two gorgeous cousins whom are always so sweet and caring about my health, especially when I cough so much I have to run to the restroom and puke. I love being outdoors and just this past year I started a small vegetable garden in large pots that I could move around and rearrange. It was an incredible experience that yielded some delicious and interesting results, and I hope to do it again this summer. I also love to ride my small motorcycle on the winding backroads that snake through the trees here in our rural town. The freedom I feel when I’m on that Honda is rivaled by few other activities. It might be dangerous, but so is living.
In all that I do, I strive to be a good person – one that I would want to know if I were someone else. That sounds cliché, but sometimes the most simple things are the truest. I like to try new things because I can get bored quickly. Honesty can be a difficult virtue to subscribe to, but I attempt it with a good heart. I’m loyal. I get moody sometimes, and I’ve found I can be easily hurt. I’m outgoing and friendly. I’m creative, passionate, and spirited. I pride myself on being open-minded. I have proven to be intelligent by some of today’s standardized tests and cultural measures. I cannot be pigeon-holed. I get anxious when labels are applied to me because I don’t even really know myself, so how can anyone else know exactly who or what I am?
So this is my life. More or less. I’m obviously leaving out many details. They’ll work themselves into my writing eventually. I only wanted to give a simple picture of the person that writes these posts. Hopefully now you have a better idea of who I am, or at least who I think I am.