I've been very fortunate in that I lived a relatively normal life until I was 32. I graduated from college, had a job in Boston, got married, had a child and bought a house - all well before the age of 30! I was convinced that I was one of the lucky ones and that my attitude would carry me through life without having to deal with many health problems.
I hit the skids when I was 30 or 31, but was able to continue on working, being a mom and doing just about whatever I wanted to do, despite feeling pretty crappy. You can only ignore your health for so long before your body gives out... mine was finally fed up with being abused and I wound up in the hospital for 3 weeks and on intervenous antibiotics for 6 months. I had let myself get very, very sick. Denial is a beautiful thing!! This was a huge wakeup call. When I was discharged from the hospital my mom had to come live with us because I was unable to take care of myself and my son. This was quite a change for someone who was used to being very independent! I had to start doing airway clearance, taking IV medications every 6 hours and needed to rehab myself back to some level of physical activity. I began exercising. Eating really well. Making sure I got enough sleep. Being completely compliant with my treatments. And you know what? I actually got better. It worked! It was amazing to see that the changes I made in my lifestyle actually had a positive impact.
The social worker at the hospital convinced me that I needed to apply for disability, which I did, convinced that I would be denied. I took a 6 month leave of absence from work, knowing that I needed to give myself time to get better before I returned. I was amazed when I was approved for disability and decided (with the help of the social worker) that I would not return to work and would make my health a priority. I've never been sorry that I made that choice.
Sometimes it is hard, not working. After all, our culture is based on materialism, income, and nearly everyone else works. Its hard not having that in common with people. It can be awkward when I meet new people, when they invariably ask "what do you do for work?". I've come up with some flip answers to deflect the question, but it never really erases my uneasiness at being different.
I suppose its unrealistic to think that CF would NOT impact my life in just about every area: it does just that. Every decision has that factored in to the equation, making things that much more complex. I'm not complaining, there's no point, its my reality and I need to deal with it when things come up. Just one more speedbump in the road of life.