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CF cough

Ahh the CF cough. It's recognizable by pretty much every CF patient, family member, and caretaker. "Normal" people tend to run the other direction when they hear our body-shaking coughs, afraid of contacting some horrible cold or flu virus. But alas, we are not contagious. We cannot suppress the urge to cough...and cough...and cough. And we certainly don't need your freaked our stares. We are just CFers, and the distinct cough you may hear is normal for us.

I've had people tell me that they didn't know such a sound like my coughs could come out of such a small person's lungs. When I cough, it's not one of those cutesy coughs that a delicate girl trying to act properly would let escape because of a tickle in her throat. No, I'm the exact opposite. I sound like I'm hacking up a lung. I know what you're thinking--so attractive.

Hence the reason for all the breathing treatments. I feel like I'm constantly doing treatments, maybe because between school, work, and extracurriculars, the free time I have at home must be devoted to my health. It's not like I can skip a treatment here or there very easily, either. If I skip a treatment, my lungs never neglect to let me know they're suffering. Coughing attacks become more frequent, my lungs work twice as hard to circulate air, and exhaustion sets in rather rapidly. I just wish that for one day, I could feel what it feels like to actually breathe, without any constraints, struggles, or coughing. I wish I could skip a whole day of treatments and not notice. I wish I could run a mile without stopping to catch my breath. Just for one day.

That day isn't today. And it's not tomorrow. But maybe, just maybe, it will be soon. For now, I will keep on coughing the recognizable CF cough, doing my treatments, and avoiding the awkward stares from my classmates. In advance, please excuse my cough attacks.

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