I was always told I could do anything.
That CF couldn't stop me.
That, even though my day to day life looked a little different with treatments and pills and hospitalizations, I could still be "normal".
I'm finding out now that's not necessarily the case.
Growing up, I knew I was different, but I still functioned like a normal kid. The only time I remember CF limiting me was my freshman and sophomore years in high school. My doctor, mom, and I made the decision to sit out of marching band my freshman year and to keep me on the sidelines running the metronome and helping how I could without actually participating my sophomore year. Junior year I was finally able to join marching band, and my senior year I was a drum major, so CF didn't limit me that much by the end of it all. I finished college in four years with a major, a minor, honors, and summa cum laude. I am in grad school now and will graduate on time summa cum laude with my masters in speech pathology. While CF was always evident, I never felt like I couldn't do whatever I wanted to do.
I am going to start looking for a job soon, and after much thought, I came to the harsh realization that I can't work full time like a "normal" 24 year old. Staying healthy is a full time job now, no longer something I can just add on to my daily schedule. I don't have the time or energy to have a full time job and take care of myself the way I need to. As hard as that is for me to realize, I know it is what's best for me in the long run. I am such a hard worker, and I give 110% to everything I do, so I know if I tried to work a full time job I would run myself into the ground and be able to work fewer years than if I worked a part time job. The other big factor I'm forced to think about is what setting I'm going to work in. Different settings expose me to different amounts of germs. For instance, I cannot be a speech pathologist in the hospital because I would be exposing myself to a ridiculous amount of germs. I have to think much more than a "normal" graduating speech pathologist about where I'm going to work. It's not just about my preference; I have to think about my health, as well.
I still try my best to not let CF affect my life. I have goals and dreams and aspirations. However, I know that I can't ignore the reality that is a progressive, chronic disease. Life is a balancing act, and I'm trying my best to learn that balance.