Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cystic Fibrosis Doesn't Define Me

I’m a brother. I’m a friend. I’m a music-lover. I’m a son. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a boyfriend. I’m a nephew. I’m a grandson. I’m a gym rat. I’m a Christian. I’m a CFer. CF is merely one facet of who I am; one piece of the Ronnie Sharpe puzzle. CF does not define me.

Too many people with CF let it consume them. They become labeled as a CFer and lose their identity to the disease. Due to the totality the disease’s effects on the body, it is easy for people to let it become the entirety of their being. A CFer is pegged as a sick, weak, dependent individual. A CF life was supposed to be short, depressing, and difficult. That was not who I wanted to be. That was not life I was going to live.

My mom molded my outlook from a young age through the way she defined me in her own mind. It was never, “This is my son Ronnie and he has Cystic Fibrosis”. It was, “This is my son Ronnie”. She left the rest up to me.

Throughout my childhood, it was her perspective and my conscious decision to “redefine” myself that aided me to become the robust individual I am today. I knew the way I would be defined by others, started with how I defined myself. It was a mental game, and I was ready to play.

I didn’t allow my mind to be plagued with thoughts about CF. Of course, CF crossed my mind when I was doing treatments or in the hospital, but I learned at a young age that sitting around, wallowing "in my own mucus" wasn’t beneficial and wouldn’t change my circumstances. With a non-CF focused mindset, my life became mine, not my diseases. A mind that was mine, full of thoughts about all that life is filled with, was a healthy mind. Switching my mindset enabled me to worry about relationships and activities that mattered. I worried about how I treated my family, or how I interacted with strangers. I focused on how I could be a better friend, or how I should treat my girlfriends. I preoccupied my mental space with aspects of life that mattered.

With a mind filled with an assortment of life’s realities, I was able to enjoy all that life had to offer. My life became filled with friends, family, sports, school, business, and faith; in addition to CF. I began to fit CF into my daily life, instead of scheduling my life around CF. I’d squeeze my treatments in between football practice and dinner with my friends. I’d go into the hospital when I had a break from school, and before a family vacation.

CF is only one part of my thoughts, my life, my being. I may have CF, but CF doesn't have me.

2 people had something to say...:

CFlover said...

I ♥ this post.
Michael & I sometimes laugh when he starts coughing or when he really wants to skip a treatment and one of us will say
"Oh yea I forgot about this CF thing"
We always say the hospital is the only reason we remember he has CF...just 1 of those goofy things we do..kinda funny and this post made me think of it.

Oh and thanks for the awesomly kind words about my "mean blog person"

Brenda Coffey said...

I love this.... it inspires me so much. I have a 3yr old son who has CF. I try so hard to just make it feel like all the treatments are just part of our life but sometimes it is hard. I just want to the best by William. your blog makes me feel better about not being so ,up tight about things and just letting stuff go because something has come up... (his dad gets so upset if i dont make sure something is done right at the time i schedule it... like ,you said you have to make the treatments work around our life not live around it...<Thank you from a loving mom of a cfer