My life is unrecognisable. Unrecognisably good.
I start my day without a coughing fit. It’s a refreshing new normal. I arrive at work with energy for the day ahead, it turns out a day in the office is much more enjoyable when you are not running on a lifelong sleep deficit characterised by low oxygen saturation and fitful rest.
In September 2020 – shortly after contracting a dangerous type of chest infection and developing adrenal insufficiency – I started a new medication hotly anticipated in the CF community.
I went from staring down the possibility of 12 months of intensive IV antibiotic therapy and the unwelcome reality of cutting down work hours, to something I still can’t easily put to words: I got my life back.
I haven’t slept in a hospital bed for almost two and a half years. I haven’t taken IV antibiotics for two years. Instead of cutting my hours further, I am now able to manage more time at work and have been privileged to be a part of some amazing projects working in healthcare communications at Cuttsy + Cuttsy and Kings College London.
I am not cured. I still take daily steroids to survive, multiple insulin injections and deal with a small handful of curious complications. Just enough to keep me on my toes. But I am closer to well than I have been for many years.
My health is still part of my story. We are all shaped by our experiences and so many of my experiences are connected to illness. A founding belief of Professional Sick Girl was that there are lessons to be found in every part of our lives, no matter how painful, in fact especially the painful bits. Despite that belief I stopped writing about my health for a while because it stopped being therapeutic. I didn’t want a focus on my illness to narrow my world.
Turns out the lessons from ill health are still some of the most valuable I’ve ever learnt. As I maintain a better standard of health than I had once dared to dream, I don’t want to forget the hard-won truths.
Over the next seven posts I’ll share the most meaningful silver linings that chronic illness has given me. You can subscribe to Professional Sick Girl, via the link at the foot of the page, to be notified when the next post comes out.
Finally, for those of who who have been reading PSG since it began in 2013, thank you for sticking around!