From beautiful Coaticook in the Estrie region, I’d like to share my story with cystic fibrosis. On a lovely autumn day, I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl who weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. It was a magical moment. Our wonderful little boy now had a baby sister. Everything was perfect until a few weeks after her birth. That’s when the complications started. After about 10 days in the hospital, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and had still not gained any weight since birth. And then we got the news. Alice had cystic fibrosis. She was only two months old.
As a dairy farmer who spends her days in a world of dust, bacteria, and fermentation, I quickly understood that my working environment wouldn’t be suitable for my little girl since all these things are contraindicated for people with cystic fibrosis. For me, life had just taken on a completely different meaning. In an instant, my dream of passing my knowledge and passion on to my daughter was shattered. Alice’s strength of character enabled us to move forward and learn more about the disease without giving up.
My job has taught me to always do a little more each day to keep my animals healthy. I’ve always believed in the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It also applies to my daughter, who is four years old and, up to now, in perfect health. In my opinion, the winning formula is “clapping” twice a day, enzymes before every meal, vitamin supplements, and frequent nasal rinses.
That’s all very well and good, but you can’t expect life in the country for a child with cystic fibrosis to be the same as for any other child. Alice can’t jump in puddles, play with the calves, climb on bales of hay or follow her mom around as part of everyday life at the farm. And those are only some of the things that she can’t do. The word “WORRY” is always swirling around in our heads because everything can change in a second. A severe case of pneumonia or a resistant strain of bacteria can change the course of Alice’s life and our lives as well. Up to now, every aspect of Alice’s life has been controlled, but sooner or later, she’ll want a bit of freedom, and the word “WORRY” will take on a whole new meaning.
That’s why I accepted Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s invitation to tell our story as part of the 2018 year-end campaign. Research is extremely important. Since Alice was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, my goal has always been to keep her scarring to a minimum until a medication is approved and made available in Canada. By donating to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, you help children, adolescents and adults receive specialized care that improves their quality of life.
-Cindy Routhier, a mother who loves her little girl