That's why I love this next Community Faces guest blog so darn much. It is strong. It is real. It is determined. It is her and it is US -- every single one. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your story, and for your choice to continue living loudly for a long time yet to come.
Community Faces: Sounds from the Underground
Name: Katie Fielding
Age: 31 with CF
CF Stats: Diagnosed at 1 year old, Double DF508
Find her at: www.katiefielding.com or @katief on Twitter and Instagram
Last summer I was taking pictures in Finland. I'd been there a few days when I realized the pain was back. Back in my finger that laid on the cameras shutter. Only a few months before had I felt this pain for the first time. The doctors and I had still yet to figure out if it was an allergic reaction to a drug or CF related arthritis. At this point the verdict was clear, CF arthritis was going to be a new presence in my life.
What do to in a foreign country? I had just started 5 weeks of travel for which I carefully planned how to handle all my meds; I wasn't about to go home over some joint pain. I went to the internet and looked up the Finnish name for the drug that I could take that would help. I went to the apotek and find that I am able to get it there over the counter. I know that the pain will soon subside.
My honeymoon won't be ruined and won't be cut short. Even though I have been on many honeymoons before--and I am not even married. I take honeymoons all the time. I take those trips that people "wait" for. The dream trips. Im planning another one as I write.
Its because of CF that I don't wait to take these trips. I don't need a special occasion or even a travel partner. I want to see, do, and taste now. I want to experience it all, before the day Ill have to pause to breathe. I know that if CF teaches us anything about life, it is that NOW is all we have. Those of us who breathe for a living, also have to live for a living---it makes all the research dollars and scientists work all the worth while. I fight CF by living loudly.
When I get on a plane or ride in a train, a part of me thanks all the things that brought me to that moment. My parents, family, and friends who have undying support for me, and the CF Foundation and my doctors who have provided me tools to be heathy enough to see the world.
Ill keep on traveling for myself--and those with CF who cannot.