Monday, June 13, 2016

Navigating The Journey and a Personal Story

The other week I wrote a post about all the funny things I’ve heard from student’s during my time teaching. Teaching has definitely brought some smiles to my life.

What I have never talked about here are some of the more challenging times I’ve had as a teacher.  But just because they were challenging does not make them any less rewarding.





 I want to share that I have entered into a partnership with Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis CF Champions and this post is sponsored by Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis Services as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and I will receive compensation as part of a Thank you for my post. This month (and the month of May) are Cystic Fibrosis awareness month and I am hoping to help Walgreens raise awareness for a disease that effects so many young people. 


Many, Many years ago (O gosh it almost seems like a lifetime ago), I was a teacher of students who had Cystic Fibrosis.  Many people have heard of CF but don’t really know what it is.  CF is a life altering genetic disease which effects the respiratory and digestive systems. It affects about 30,000 people in the United States alone.  I learned about the disease early on because my best friend in high school had an older brother who had CF and when we were in college he passed away at the young age of 27.  He was considered to have had a long life compared to others living with CF.

The CF students I taught were my students all through their middle school careers. Unfortunately they each got to the point where their illness was so severe that they could no longer attend school. Due to their increased risk of infection and cross-contamination they needed to be isolated from other students at school. So this meant that I had to bring school to them. Being out of school and away from their peers affected each one differently. One patient in particular had several siblings to keep her company while she was home yet another student had no siblings and you could tell that depression may be starting to kick in.  Because I taught them at their home, I got to see first hand as they were hooked up to machines and as they wore their shaker vest, and took their medication. I was invested emotionally with them and their families as they waited for lung transplants to happen and eventually the surgery. Did you know that you have to fill out an application for a lung?  My students had to go through an interview process to see if they were suitable candidates and would take care of the new organ and if they would adhere to all the necessary medication guidelines to keep themselves healthy.

 At the time, there were a few teachers in my district who thought some of the CF kids were well enough to attend school ( and perhaps one in particular may have been), but seeing them at home put into perspective what their everyday lives were like and what they had to go through as part of their daily treatment regiment. 

Eventually I moved on to another school district and no longer had contact with the CF students.  But eventually one by one their parents had contacted me to let me know of their child’s passing. I was heart broken to say the least.



Because there are a variety of people like medical professionals, parent’s (and families), and teacher’s whose lives have been effected by caring for someone one with cystic fibrosis, Walgreen has asked us to help get the word out about their CF services.  Unfortunately my experiences working with students with CF did not end happy, but know that each person living with CF is different and symptoms and disease severity can vary from person to person. Through Walgreens I have been able to read about how others are successfully living with CF. Please take a moment to check out the CF Champions:Navigating the Journey Together .  I would encourage you to read Kristen's story.  She wasn't diagnosed with CF until the age of 31, (which is late for most CF patients) and then found out the her children age 3 and 7 also had the disease.  

In addition to Kristen's story, Walgreens is happy to share the stories of many other CF patients who they gladly call their CF Champions! Thank you for reading.  -M




30 comments:

  1. This is definitely a disease that is not well heard of in the media. I'm sorry for the loss of your students - I know how hard that can be! Thanks for spreading awareness!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know much about CF admittedly. It takes a very special person to work with kids with disabilities and to raise awareness of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, a lot of people don't know about the disease but it is in fact very serious.

      Delete
  3. There are quite a few big campaigns around CF here in the UK and it's such a great cause. Working with CF kids must be hard work but so rewarding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad they are spreading the word about CF in the UK!

      Delete
  4. This is so heartbreaking. I can't even imagine. Our youngest daughter had to be transferred to Children's Memorial Hospital shortly after she was born and it threw me when the nurses referred to her as the "healthy one". But being around others who were getting various organ transplants and the terminally ill definitely gives one perspective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it does. And can you believe that some of these children have had more than one organ transplant in their young lives. I could tell you a story about how my one student got her first lung transplant but it is way too sad.

      Delete
  5. I can't even imagine how heartbreaking that must have been for you, but just think about what a wonderful impact you had on your students lives.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow. I can't imagine the impact of working with students like that. Such a terrible disease!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a terrible disease - I'm sure you made a huge difference in your student's lives, but that must have incredibly hard to get those phone calls. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One parent actually told me in person and that was very hard.

      Delete
  8. Man reading things like this definitely puts into perspective how lucky many of us are to have good health!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, people really need to be thankful for the healthy children in their lives.

      Delete
  9. Thanks for sharing this story. Its always incredible to think about the number of diseases and other limitations that so many people people but that are never talked about. Just because you see one thing on the surface doesn't mean that somebody isn't struggling to go about their daily lives.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, this was an eye opening post. Thanks for all that you do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That job was one I never thought I could do but it is one I won't forget.

      Delete
  11. My brother & SIL had to go through a lot of infertility stuff to get PG & during the testing, they found out the DNA odds of their baby getting CF was super high. Like 70% ... when the twins were born, we held our breath until we found out that they did not have it. Thank you Lord. But when we thought it was a possibility, I was reading up all about it - & now worry when I hear of young ones that have to live with it. I can't imagine lung diseases. Breathing easy - we take it for granted.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This was a very moving post to read. I don't know much about CF, but hearing the stories first-hand from you made it much more real to me. I can only imagine how hard it must be to get some of those phone calls. It is such a terrible disease! Thank you for helping to spread awareness and for all that you do with those students!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading an for your kind words.

      Delete
  13. Oh my goodness! that is just so sad! I know that we often take for granted our health...thank you for sharing the stories and awareness!

    ReplyDelete
  14. That is so sad and I can honestly say that I don't know much about it. It's great that you are helping to spread the word about the resources these families can utilize.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for sharing- we cannot spread the word enough for these special children. It takes special teachers- my daughter was in special education and I have a lot of respect for the teachers that can work with special needs. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. My good friend (30) and cousin (38) both have CF so I sadly know a lot about it and have seen what it does. I pray for a cure!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for sharing your story. Your work with them was so meaningful and Im sure the families and kids were so appreciative of you. Glad you are spreading the word about this!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I honestly had no idea CF could be diagnosed so late in life. Thank you for sharing all this. My mom worked with CF students when she was a speech pathologist in the school district ages ago. It's so important for us to see past the stigma surrounding them - many kids with CF are very bright, funny, and motivated. They want to learn and CAN learn. They just need teachers who are willing to work with them. Thank you for being one of those teachers.

    ReplyDelete

Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.