One of the many frustrating things about cystic fibrosis is that the symptoms of an infection (even a very serious one) are not easily recognized by most people. It’s easy to make assumptions about someone when you don’t know the whole story.
It’s easy to make sarcastic comments about me “changing brands” or “switching to filters” when you hear me cough because you can’t see the infection raging in my lungs.
When I suddenly lose several pounds, it’s possible to assume I have an eating disorder. You don’t know the way my body struggles to absorb nutrients; you can’t tell that the meds I’ve been on have made me too sick to keep any food down.
It’s easy to assume that I’m lazy when you see the constant state of disaster my house is in. What you don’t know is that by the end of the day my body is usually too exhausted to do housework. You can’t see the way my heart wants to beat out of my chest every time I vacuum or feel the shortness of breath I feel when I move laundry from the washer to the dryer.
The fact that I come to work with a forced smile on my face must mean that I feel fine, right? You may not be so quick to assume that if you could see my 102 degree fever or the generous amounts of ibuprofen I’ve been popping every four hours just so I can work through the pain.
And I guess it’s easy to believe that the half-truths you tell and hurtful things you say about me will never make their way back to me. And even if they do, it’s not like I’ll care that much since this is all just a show I’m putting on, right? But you’ll never see the tears your words have caused.
There’s just so much you don’t see.