Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relationships and CF

**This post was written a handful of months ago. I thought I would re-post it because it's timely and I'm tired :)**

I asked my readers to throw some topics my way to write about so I figured I would tackle the following...

Reader:
I have read a few of your blogs and I love that you have made the choice to refurbish your life by working out. My girlfriend Heather came on here and made a few friends, as well as me, before she left us a few short months ago. I have been going through alot lately and since you asked for suggestions about things to write about I thought one up. How has your life with Mandi been through the ups and downs of everything to do with CF. I know i went through alot with Heather and those years are starting to catch up to me now that shes gone. I know its alot to think about, but i figured i'd try to give you somethin to think/talk about on your blog.
Well, first, I thank you for your kind comments and choosing to read this blog. I'm sorry for your loss but I'm also thankful that you were able to spend 4 great years with Heather. I'm sure she was a huge blessing in your life and a time that you will remember forever. Everybody who is afflicted with CF seem to be special in there own way and are often a blessing to anybody who knows them.

Now onto Mandi and I. Well first off, I have to point out that Mandi and I have only been dating for a year. But when we met it was an instant connection and have probably done more as a couple in this last year than most couples do in 10. We've been to 14 different states, China, Mexico, Canada and have been extremely blessed to be able to spend so much time together.

I met Mandi about 6 months prior to actually sitting down and talking with her, but I was in another relationship and the meeting was brief. I ran into her again after my previous relationship ended when I met up with some friends for a movie. She is actually the little sister of a friend of mine, so the thought of her being "dateable" never entered my mind. We ended up kind of gravitating towards each other and spoke most of the night. Like a fool, I spent most of the night talking about my ex! Again, I stress, I wasn't looking at her in that light and I wasn't looking to get into another relationship. But when I actually started to get to know her and spend more time with her, that all changed. That first weekend I'm pretty sure we talked for 48 hours straight. I was smitten very early on but of course had to play it cool. I mean, what's wrong with me being chased right? Luckily, Mandi was up to the challenge and I'm very thankful that she didn't call my bluff :)

I was very open about my CF from the very first moment we met. The second night that we got together we really dove in head first to the subject. I had touched on it our first conversation, but we were busy talking about past relationships so it was brought up more in passing. When I did start to talk about it, Mandi of course had many questions, but she took every answer in stride. I found out later that she googled what CF was and was little shocked with how the internet made it sound and with how I made it sound. She has now learned that CF not only affects people physically in many different ways, but also mentally. For me, I've never been doom and gloom about it. CF is a challenge, sometimes it a very difficult one, but sometimes I don't even know it's there.

CF has provided many positives in my life as well and Mandi has mentioned many times that she can see the ways that CF has molded my outlook and personality. I honestly don't know what kind of person I would be without CF. If I had to guess though, I really don't think I would be a person that people would want to be around. Now, people seem to gravitate towards me because of my positive outlook and my zest for life. Without CF, who knows if I would have those same attitudes. I think I would take a lot of things for granted and probably not appreciate my friends and family like I do now.

Ok, now that I have successfully NOT answered your question, let me attempt an answer. Point bank: Mandi is my rock. I had my mom to lean on for so many years (and still do) that I knew that I would need a strong and confident woman in my life in order to make a relationship work long term. I needed someone who was comfortable in their own skin and could stand their ground, but also, one who is sensitive enough to "baby me" when I'm not feeling up to snuff. Mandi does the perfect job of "kicking me in the butt, but then bringing me ice". She motivates me and pushes me to know end, but she's there to comfort me when I just can't push any harder.

As far as up and downs, Mandi has handled them like a champ. I know it's sound crazy, but Mandi has already mentioned that she is comfortable with the idea of possibly being a widow at a young age. We of course aren't planning our lives for that to happen,, but we both realize that anything is possible with this unpredictable disease. Mandi not only embraces all of the positive affects that CF has on my life, but the negatives as well. She is the ultimate at just rolling with the punches. Sometimes you can tell she's a bit worried or stressed, but that's where we balance each other out. I don't stress or worry about a thing. When you're told from a very young age that "you probably won't live a normal or long life" you tend to not sweat the small stuff. To be honest, I don't sweat the big stuff either. I'm too busy living my life to the fullest to worry about all of that stuff.

Mandi has seem me at my sickest and handled it like a champ. She almost had no choice though. I never waivered in knowing that I would recover fully and work my butt off until I did. She is a huge reason why I have been able to recover so quickly though. She pushes me everyday and hold me accountable to workout and do my treatments. She really doesn't have to push that hard though, cause since meeting her, I have yet another reason to live.

8 people had something to say...:

Mandi said...

I'm generally pretty silent on Ronnie's blog, I figure I am in enough stories and daily routines that my comments wouldn't be additive. But I feel inclined to comment on this post..in large part because I know many CFers struggle to realize that they deserve relationships just as much as the rest of us. Ronnie has mentioned the complexities that come along with having CF and entering a relationship. I can understand that a CFer might have anxieties about letting someone fall in love with them and then making them witness what can sometimes be an uphill battle or even lose their loved one (the CFer). But as a girlfriend of a CFer, very much in love, I can tell you that that thinking should be changed.

Ronnie has blessed my life. While CF presents challenges and unexpected turns in our journey together, his attitude about it has rubbed off on me. I truly see CF as a blessing in our lives. It has made me stronger as an individual and has made our relationship stronger. And as Ronnie mentioned, I have thought about the possibility of being a young widow. The pain would be something I cannot begin to fathom, but I can say confidently that I believe God has a special purpose for Ronnie and I'm so blessed to get to be a part of it. And when God is done doing with Ronnie what he has put him here to do (whether that's at 35 or 75) I can find comfort in knowing it's all part of God's plan for my life and rejoice in the incredible journey we had together.

So with that being said, I encourage all CFers to search for that unique individual who is willing and excited to accept and face the challenges that come with a disease like CF. I can tell you, I'm sure there's plenty of people like me, who are just happy to get to spend as much time with their CFer as possible, and leave the uncontrollable up to The Big Man, who knows what he's doing.

OceanDesert said...

Hey Ronnie and Mandi! I hope Meh-he-ko is treating you well, but I can't imagine it not!!

You and Mandi are a great TEAM. SO, when's the wedding?! ..HA! just kidding! ;)

Finding a true partner to pal around with in this life is one of THE greatest gifts, I'm so glad you found each other ... and Mike and I are glad we found you guys too!!! :)

Katey said...

Great Post! I'm so glad you have found a woman that does all those things for you....sounds like you have a special relationship!

jdemott said...

Ronnie and Mandi:

This is another great post. I am impressed. Your attitudes are positive, and your willingness to blog about the facts is useful, I believe. As a parent of a child with CF, I hope my son is able to maintain a good attitude as he gets older, and that he finds the right person to share his life with as well, however long that may be (to 35 or 75).

Josh said...

Hey Ronnie and Mandi,

I feel the same way about my wife. The more I read your blog, the more I am amazed at the similarities in our stories. My wife and are coming up on our 4th anniversary and I have to tell you...it keeps getting better every year.

I have wrote this a few times on your page, but I will write it once more...congrats to both of you! When you find that special person to live your life with it is an unbelievable experience and I am happy you are living the dream.

To all those out there still looking...be peaceful and patient. It may take a while, but the right person will fall in your lap when you least expect it. Just be open and honest from the beginning.

Rebecca and Mitch said...

Thank you for this very touching post and comment, from Mandy. I fell in love with a Cfer(Mitch) 15 years ago. Like you, I did not know how long we had together. He just had a double lung transplant at UNC in September, we have twin boys through IVF who are 6!, we have travelled all over the world together, etc. Every day, I hoped for another and every year, I just wished for one more. The universe keeps answering our Love Call. Congrats to you both!! Best wishes and I am happy to have found you both...-rebecca
ps- we have a blog too, for the transplant- though its not as cool as this one. www.checkonmitch.com

errica said...

It was very interesting reading your story about meeting Mandi and building up to a relationship. It sounds so simialr to me & Paul! He was very open about CF from the beginging...I looked CF up on the internet (there was no google back then!) and I had to come to terms with the possiblity of being a young widow. And I just told myself that I would be blessed to have 1 year with Paul, so I dove in. Almost 13 years later we are still going strong. I agree that CF brings some very positive things to the relationship, most notably I think that you both know that your love is real...it's not just fun, convenient, somthing to do for a while, it's the "for better or worse" I will be here with you every step of the way love. Congratulations on finding each other!

Anne said...

Soooo... if there's ever a "Mandi Jr," I'd like to discuss the possibilty of an arranged marriage to my 18-month-old son! : )