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I have a very serious question for you.

What does it feel like to be able to breathe?

I'm not talking about breathing just well enough to get oxygen to your brain and internal organs. I'm talking about being able to get from class to class without huffing and puffing. I'm talking about exercising without getting winded within a minute. I'm talking about not feeling constricted when you take a normal breath. I'm talking about being able to take a hot shower and not feel like your lungs are slowly closing up the longer you stay in the steam.

What's it like?

You see, for me, it's normal to have to spend the first few minutes of class catching my breath (granted, if I didn't speed walk to class, I might be able to breathe easier). It's normal for the tiniest bit of exercise to be hard work. It's not unusual for me to feel the limits of my lung capacity as I'm sitting reading a book or trying to relax. It's common for me to come out of the shower in the morning coughing, even though I keep my showers as short as possible.

I don't know what it feels like to actually breathe.

As the cold weather rolls in, many of my peers are getting sick with upper respiratory infections. I hear coughing and sniffling echo through the classrooms and hallways around me on a daily basis as people fight off colds, infections, and flu-like symptoms. Luckily for them, they will recover from their illnesses. Their coughs will subside, and their sinus symptoms will go away--breathing will return to normal. In time, they will be able to go a full day without coughing, go on a morning run without feeling like they need to collapse, and even have peaceful night's sleep that is uninterrupted by frequent respiratory attacks. After a prescription of medication or a few days' time, most people feel 100% again. Oh, what I would do for the chance to escape the limitations of being unable to breathe and experience the ability to breathe easy! I honestly cannot even begin to image what this must be like. The constriction of CF lungs is all I've ever known.

Today, I encourage you to be thankful for the ability to breathe. It's very easy to overlook the simple but necessary functions our body carries out on a daily basis, like breathing, transmitting nerve impulses, and pumping blood throughout our body. From personal experience, I can promise you that breathing makes a world of difference in a person's quality of life!


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