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Self-Love & Chronic Illness

Self-love, self-esteem, and body confidence are attributes everyone struggles with at some point in their lives, and it can be even more difficult if you add having a chronic illness that can affect your body. So, today we are asking CFers “What has CF taught you about self-love?”:

-“There have been moments when I have truly hated how my body was coping with CF. However, once I started recognizing how hard my body was working to fight this disease, it allowed me to appreciate the coping ability my body had. Self-love is incredibly important, especially when you’re battling CF. I believe that taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally fuels your body’s ability to continue fighting CF.” – Kim Wood

-“I have learned that I have to make time for myself to do everything CF requires of me on a daily basis. Sometimes it is hard to make time for treatments and appointments, but we have to remember that if we don’t put ourselves first and learn to self-advocate we will miss much more than those few hours of treatments every day.” – Meaghan MacRury

-“Wow, that’s a huge question! CF has taught me about self-acceptance, mental and physical limitations (mine and others), and about the battle within. Even though my parents always taught me that I was just like everyone else (but with a few modifications!), we tend to place societal expectations of a “normal” person on ourselves, and we end up having to work twice as hard to be viewed as such. Age and wisdom has taught me that we all have issues that we have to deal with. I have CF, but the person next me may have MS or diabetes or cancer, or who knows what.  We are all important. We are all special in some way to someone. Remember that when you are down or feel like you are a burden to your friends, family, or spouse.  They love you for who you are, CF and all…and you should too!” – Brenda Chambers-Ivey

-“Cystic fibrosis is an all-encompassing and progressive disease. I count myself lucky for understanding this early in my life.  I am eager to live my wonderful life as it unfolds.  I am not in any rush for this; I strive to be present each moment. I deeply appreciate the simple joys life has to offer. I am grateful for each day, and for each deep breath. I am empathic, compassionate and tender which I believe are all components of being strong. I have always felt loved. I love the people in my life, I love my life and I love myself. I am a lucky man. To me, self-love means properly caring for myself in all facets so I can fully appreciate myself and, as a result, others. I am passionate about offering kindness. Self-love enables me to offer kindness more abundantly.” – Alex McCombes

-“Environment trumps all (if we have nowhere to live then even the healthy will not survive). Second to that is personal health. Health has to be top priority otherwise you won’t be well enough to do, see, feel, touch, hear or experience anything.” – Jess Best

-“I have learned that everyone has parts of themselves that they wish were different – for some people, it’s their physical appearance; for others, it’s an undesirable personality trait; for people with an illness like CF, they usually wish that they could be free of their illness. However, I have also learned that we are able to grow when we accept that these things are a part of us, and learn to grow with them rather than fighting with them. For myself, this means avoiding the phrase “fighting CF” – I will do everything I can do to be as healthy as possible while understanding that CF is an inextricable part of who I am and that I have learned so much from dealing with it. I guess that in short, CF has taught me that self-love often involves acceptance of oneself as you are, and then doing everything you can to be the best that you can be within that frame.” – Terra Stephenson