The Beginning

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My name is Hannah.
I'm seventeen years old.
And I have cystic fibrosis.

I was born on August 2nd, 1995, right on my due date. I was healthy - perfect oxygen, perfect weight, perfect everything. There were no problems, so I went home.

As I got older, my parents starting to notice things that set me apart from other kids my age. I was hungry all the time. We're talking seven bowls of cereal before preschool, and still heading out the door starving. I also coughed and wheezed all the time. In the first 5 1/2 years of my life, I went into the ER seven times because I couldn't breathe. My pediatrician diagnosed me with severe asthma, and put me on every asthma medication in the book. But it wasn't helping--I was getting worse.

Finally, after years of pain and unanswered questions, I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis a month before I turned six. If you're not sure what that is, here's a basic explanation. In the 1950's, children with CF weren't expected to live long enough to attend kindergarten, so the mere fact that I survived to be five is astounding. Now, every baby is tested at birth for cystic fibrosis so this exact situation doesn't happen.

I went in to the hospital to be treated with IV medications, and in the next few months, my parents became experts on how to treat my disease. And because of my seemingly mild symptoms, I was able to have a very normal childhood. It wasn't until the fifth grade that I was admitted once again. We were told that I had cultured for pseudomonas, a common "bug" in CF patients. After this admission, things began to change.

Throughout middle school, I repeatedly retracted pneumonia, causing me to go into the hospital 1-2 times a year. And that's how things have held up until today, the end of my junior year. In the sixth grade, my lungs were functioning at 95% (a normal person's function at 120%.) The lowest they've ever been was during this past summer - 44%. And today, they're hovering at around 70%.

The main purpose of this blog is for me to help other people, whether they be other CFers looking for someone who can empathize, or educating someone who's never heard of the disease. I'm not sure if anyone is ever going to read this - and if not, that's okay, too. Writing is something I'm passionate about. Something I enjoy. So I think I'm just going to put my thoughts out into the world, available for others to borrow.

Sounds like a plan, Stan.