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Posted by Charla Schriever on 11/01/2005

Through the Eyes Of CF
Risa, an Inspiration

Hello, my name is Risa. I am 44 years old and I am am writing to share my story and offer inspiration to all of you live with cystic fibrosis.

I knew that I had CF as a young child. At first I viewed CF through a child's eye as a source of attention from my family. This thought pattern worked for a while until I grew up and moved on my own. I thank both of my Mom and Dad for instilling so many wonderful values while growing up. I have learned through the years that having insight and foresight are too valuable tools to have while you are surviving an illness.

Throughout my twenties, I was more focused on ideas and dreams being realistic and beating the odds rather than idealistic thinking that CF will not affect my life if I stop doing what I have to do. I have learned from looking back, that I needed to be more accepting of myself as a whole person not just having Cystic Fibrosis. CF did not run my life but it can if you let it. It can rob you of your years by consuming your fears and worries if you do not accept your life and if you do not take hold of it in a positive way. Being positive is not easy for anybody let alone battling CF daily and the responsibilities that go along with having an illness to care for. I see CF as my child, a child that is growing, a child that wants to keep striving for more goals and knowledge.

Waiting for a Double Lung Transplant
I no longer have to do chest physiotherapy as I have had a double lung transplant almost five years ago. I am 41 years old. I still have the illness but this does not affect my new lungs. I am the person that I want to be because of CF. Waiting for the Transplant was the most difficult time of my life as I reflected over my strengths and weaknesses and often pondered that If I was able to conquer many obstacles why not this one? Having an illness and going through the transplant process taught me so much about life. As I reflect on one of the most valuable lessons I had, I would say that it was about relationships. The most important relationship that I had and still have is one with myself. I am an insightful thinker and I can figure things out by breaking thoughts down and finding new ways to view situations in a positive way. This was a learning process that was developed over time.

Alleviating Your Fears
We can easily jump to conclusions when we think something is not going to workout for our best or our loved ones' interest. We can bring our bodies to a stressful peak and then we can feel exhausted and run down. Most of all we can feel overwhelmed when we feel that life is not going our way. I choose to stay away from negative thinking patterns. It is normal for one to hear patterns of thoughts like these working on our minds trying to solve problems when we do not understand how to focus positively. I am sure we have all been through these thinking patterns at times. The key is to identify when we are having these thinking patterns. A good thing to do when he feel down or hear something that is scary is to ask yourselves," What is really happening here? Am I jumping to conclusions without really knowing the answer? What am I afraid of?" When you find or think you may have found the answer to your questions, then ask yourself "what can I do to solve these fears and worries." Do I want to keep thinking about something that I have no control over?

The Big Picture
In time you can see the road to your solutions much more clearly when you practice these thinking questions. After realizing that you are having doubtful feelings about different situations, then this process can be easily learned when you challenge yourself to new ways of positive thinking. Think about this for a moment, everybody sees art work differently. If you see a design that looks like something entirely different from your friend, do you see the whole picture for what it truly is? That is what I learned to do, to see thoughts and feelings in a different perspective. Sometimes it is too painful to look at the picture in its entirety at first, so we can look at different sections each time until we can see and understand the picture more clearly.

Until the next letter, God Bless You All.

Miscellaneous CF stuff  Classic View