Monday, November 3, 2014

Andrew's Perspective:

On Dating Someone with Cystic Fibrosis:

If you haven't read the first part: Cheriz's perspective on dating & having CF, or you just want to refresh your memory, check it out : Right HERE! And Now Andrew's perspective on dating someone with CF! 

Well to start off, I will introduce myself formally. My name is Andrew and I am dating Cheriz who, as all of you know, has Cystic Fibrosis. I am 23 and am currently studying to be a high school history teacher. I attend class full time and also work full time. We have been dating for the last two years as of October 27th, and it has been two years full of ups and downs, but I would not trade them in for anything in this world. I do not consider myself a writer and actually am very self-conscious about my writing; I do not even let Cheriz proof read my papers. The purpose of this blog post to help spread the word that dating someone with CF is possible and actually is one of the best things that have happened to me in my life!

When I first met Cheriz it was in our community college’s show choir. She seemed like a normal (well as normal as Cheriz can be) girl. She had a dynamite personality, she was funny, and she wasn’t too bad on the eyes either :P. You would look at her and see nothing out of the ordinary; you especially would not see a girl who had a “terminal” disease. It wasn’t until a few rehearsals into the year when I found out she had Cystic Fibrosis, and to be honest I had no clue what the heck CF was, all I knew was that she had it. I heard her mention she had a blog, so I decided to take a look into it. I was very much attracted to her and wanted to know more about her; but I was a little too shy to actually ask her. I started to read her blog, and I grew to like her even more, she wrote with a lot of passion and made it easy to learn. So that night I read every single blog she ever posted, and felt like I was a creepy stalker, but I didn’t care. She was someone that I wanted to have a relationship with. As the days went on, I started to talk to her more and more learning other things about her. I decided well now was the time to become that stud and sweep her off her feet! I asked her out after our last show choir performance and we started dating ever since, score one for that stud ;)!

Over the last two years of dating Cheriz we have had our ups and downs, as is the case in any other relationship, but dating someone with CF has different situations that I want to address. These are not meant to scare away any would-be suitors of a person with CF, but it is something that you need to be aware of. First of all, dating Cheriz keeps me on edge, quite a bit actually. When she gets sick, I get nervous to the point where she constantly tells me to relax or calm down, but it’s hard for me to do that at times. I feel like I have to do something to help her, but there are aspects of CF that I cannot help. I remember a few time she had these seizures. Now they are not the typical seizures that you see in movies where they start shaking and foaming at the mouth, but they are when she gets low on oxygen and cannot function properly. She starts to alter her breathing patterns and acts like a zombie. When this happened I felt helpless. I am always someone who tries to help others and cannot stand to see someone in pain. I asked her after one episode, what can I do? She told me that I cannot do anything to help her, just be there for her. Ok so let me get this straight, I have to sit back and watch you in pain and not do anything? Yes, that’s exactly what you have to do; hold my hand and let me know you are there. Well that was something that was very difficult for me to handle. That is one specific example, that not everyone with CF goes through, but there will be times when they don’t feel good, their lung function is low,  or are in the hospital and you want to do something about it but can’t. My best advice is to just be there for them. Let them hold your hand and tell them that you love them. I know it sounds simple and mushy, but it is the best thing for them.

Another thing to do is never blame yourself for when they get sick. This is another part that is still hard for me to cope with. People with CF have a lower immune system than those who are completely healthy, like me. I am one of those people who hardly ever get sick; sure I have the sniffles every now and then, but no big deal. Dating Cheriz makes me realize that the simple sniffles I am experiencing can lead to her getting sick, and possibly end up in the hospital. There have been numerous times when this has happened, maybe not as serious as a hospital visit, but where she has been sick and her lung function may go down or she may lose weight. Every time this happens, I feel terrible, because I feel like I am the one that did this to her. Maybe if I had not kissed her that one time, or maybe if I didn’t cuddle with her (which is one of my favorite times with her…I know I’m sappy) she would have been fine. Something you need to realize is that you are going to get your significant other sick at some point in your relationship, especially if you live with each other. The key is that you can’t blame yourself. Sure you are going to feel sorry for it, but don’t let it run your every thought, because otherwise it will drive you crazy, and make you sad, which no one likes!

Finally, there are things that may not be so pleasant about dating someone with CF. Cystic Fibrosis is not the most attractive disease out there. It is filled with a lot of coughing. Cheriz has coughed so much that she has thrown up because of it or has coughed up mucus. She has coughed so much that she has peed herself because of it. You get it; a lot of coughing equals not so pleasant experiences. CF also affects the digestive track. Cheriz along with many others who have CF have to take digestive enzymes in order for their food to properly break down. This can lead to bowl issues such as diarrhea, bloating, any in extreme cases intestines twisting and causing blockages. Because of such bad digestive problems, the gas is horrendous. She gets stomach aches frequently and doesn’t feel good due to intestinal issues. Cheriz can clear a room so fast it’s crazy, but you know what, it does not bother me. Sure it smells God awful, but I love her and they way I think of it, is well at least she does not have a blockage! So yeah CF can be not so pretty, but these are small factors that really should not prevent someone from dating them!

Now enough with the negatives, let’s move on to my positives. I can say that I absolutely love Cheriz, and want to spend my life with her! She is someone who I love to talk to (even though I don’t talk all that often), someone I can tell anything. The issues that I talked about above are meaningless when it comes down to it. There are things that I realize come with dating someone with CF, and I don’t care about them because all I care about is her. For example, in the morning Cheriz can at times be very tired and exhausted due to her not being able to sleep very well.  She wakes up coughing a lot. To help her out, I get her meds ready for her, or
I help her with her therapies. Another small thing I do for her is manual chest therapy. When she is doing her meds, I will pound on her chest to help break up all the gunk in her lungs. Folks who are dating someone with CF take note, this is something that can be very beneficial to your significant other (plus it lets you get out your frustration or anger! :P)! These are small things that I do for Cheriz, not because I have to, but because I want to!

 Looking into the future it is going to be hard, I know that. There are times when we are going to have to make hard decisions, ones that affect both our lives. There is possibly going to be a time when I may have to realize that she may not be with me anymore, as sad it is to think about, it is still something that I do ponder on from time to time. But let me ask you a question, wouldn’t you rather be with the person you love for say 20 years than be with someone you don’t love for 50 years? People don’t fall in love with someone because it’s an easy option, they fall in love with someone because of the person they are and the way they make them feel. Cheriz is always herself around me, she does not hide her CF, and that is a compliment to me. I want her to feel like she does not have to hide her CF in front of me; on the contrary, I want her to embrace it. As much as I would like for her to miraculously get rid of it, to stop her problems, it is not going to happen anytime soon. She can use her CF in ways that can make her happy and help other as well. One way is through this blog. Her blog lets people know what she and other CFers are going through. It is a source of inspiration of those people and even to people who do not have CF. Cheriz works so hard. Having CF is a full time job, and she still manages to do lots of other things on top of it. I am proud of her and love her all the more because of her CF.

So as a message to you who have CF, please do not fear a life of loneliness and hundreds of cats (if you’re not allergic to them), there are people out there that will not care about these issues, I’m living proof. Just be yourself, and don’t be afraid to talk about your CF with someone who you like or even with your significant other you may have now. Those of you who are dating someone with CF, give it a chance. Do not let CF define who that person is. They are great people who may be the person of your dreams, and you don’t realize it yet. Cheriz is the girl of my dreams and I love her so much! Remember: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. 

Ok now its cheriz again: I want to thank Andrew, for writing this blog for us and thank you for reading about relationships! If anyone has specific questions, just post them in comments on the blog or Facebook page and will answer them the best we can!  

And don't forget to read Cheriz's perspective Part 1: "The difficulties of dating: right here!


2 comments:

  1. Thanks Andrew you have given me some things to remember and think about. My GF who has CF sent me this to have a read. Im still getting used to all of it and this post has helped.

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  2. No problem, always remember that if you two work together it will all be good! The issues that Cheriz and I have at times are very small in the bigger picture! Thanks for reading and glad it helped!
    -Andrew

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