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Does Cystic Fibrosis Make You Bitter or Better?

Super-DuperI’ve heard the phrase a few times over the years, but got a refresher today about having a good attitude. When bad things happen, you always have the choice to be bitter or become better as a result. It’s always a good thing to periodically evaluate your life and ask yourself which you allow to happen.

I’ve make the distinction between the two basic types of CFers: the down and out who have given up on living life to its fullest and those to take the bull by the horns and drive it into the ground, even if they get tossed into the air and gored a few times in the process.

I happen to be the latter type, as are many of you.

CF has, without a doubt, made me hundred or thousands of times mentally, physically, and spiritually tougher than I would have been if I had gone my whole life without a sick day, restrictions/discrimination due to having CF. In every instance there was a choice to be made. In the vast majority of them, I chose to make myself better, tougher, smarter, and more mature.

People are watching you. If you’re a parent of a child with CF, they are watching you. You have to be strong and become better, too. If you don’t they will accept your view of what is happening to them as reality and it will most likely be an unchangeable reality to them – as perception becomes reality due to thousands of factors of mental and physical activity that affect one’s health.

It doesn’t happen often, because the society we live in is slow to compliment and quick to complain, but there are times where people come up to me or e-mail me a note to tell me that I am an inspiration to them or that I handled a situation well. It is one’s strongest testimony about what they are made of and how they see life: how many people can attest to their character in the face of adversity of any kind.

It’s not an end all, be all of medicine, but if your health is failing, inspect your life and your attitude on life. Attitude is a proven fact of medical science – thus the placebo effect. If someone thinks that they have been given a wonder drug they have the potential to make themselves better by thinking they will get better, even if they were given an inert pill. You have some power to turn things around just with your mind. To throw centuries of medicine aside would be foolish, but you also have to do your part because to throw away centuries of insight into the human condition would also be foolish. You need both to succeed at the game we play.

So what have you; are you bitter or are you better?


  1. Kristi Bowers says

    love this. my thoughts exactly as I have been reflecting back on this year and how my attitude has changed from bitter and discouraged to better and in turn, so has Kaleb’s. 🙂

    • 2011 will be like no other (duh!), I guarantee it! I smell good things in the air and I think we’re getting close to a tipping point with attitude, technology, and awareness.

  2. I’m a dad and not a CFer, but I know there are days where I am indeed bitter. I think about the dreams I had that are sidelined by the disease. Then I think about the fact that Samantha is healthy, happy, and the future is bright. In the end, I realize God is in control and I can rest easy in that knowledge.

    • It’s amazing how easy it is to rest easy in that knowledge and equally easy to slip out into the wilderness and start freaking out about everything just to make yourself suffer.

  3. Well said, Jesse. I confess that when you & Rachel were little, there were days that I was very bitter – like the day I put my fist through the plywood wall of out little rental house in Findlay. But those days never lasted long, because I knew they would only make the situation worse.

    The Apostle James said to consider it it joy when you experience trials. “Consider” is the perfect word for it. It’s not automatic. You have to think it through and it’s a process. And as you consider God’s power, His character, and His love, you learn to trust. As you consider what Jesus endured for us, you learn to identify more and more with Him and realize that He already identifies with you.

  4. Lauramagsamen says

    As I left my daughter, laying on the OR table this morning, as they prepared her for a bronch, I have to say that maybe I felt a little bitter, but as soon as I saw her sweet face again in the PACU, it was all better. We as parents, always strive to be better and in turn, I believe Jordan’s attitude is one of bettering herself in every situation; not just health related issues. It certainly is a rough path that you guys must travel, but with a little perserverence, good attitude and faith, your light shines through!

    Hope you’re recovering well!
    Take care.

    • I was raring and ready to go just a couple of hours after surgery. Best surgery experience ever – I could do that every couple of months if I had to for the best results, but I’d rather never have to do it again. Keep us posted on her bronch results. I subscribed via e-mail so I am sure to catch her next post.

  5. Aunt Sandi says