If ever there was a “girl next door,” it’s Ashley Coleman, a beautiful, bright-eyed-blonde and very active young woman! She’s got the smile of a Homecoming Queen!
Even though Ashley was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), she’s grown up enjoying sports just like the next active kid. Not only did she play softball and soccer, she even ran track. How ’bout them apples, right?!
And she was never admitted to the hospital for anything cystic fibrosis related when she was growing up. Not once.
But AFTER she graduated college and settled down into work life, Ashley seemed to have gotten a little complacent about her CF. I suppose it’s because she was feeling so good. She was working three jobs and was on track to complete her studies as a personal trainer.
Soon, for whatever reason, Ashley slowly stopped taking her treatment, which had disastrous consequences! She ended up in the hospital not knowing if she was going to ever make it out. But under the care of her doctors, she was released back home and began the long road to recovery.
The big question was: Could she return to her baseline lung function before she stopped taking her treatments and managing her cystic fibrosis?
To make a long story short, the answer is: She’s working on it! And I bet she’s got a ton of fans in the CF community cheering her on—I know I am!
If you’re new to all of this, you might ask, Why is it that we’re cruising around in our daily lives, having fun, doing well, and then it all changes? Or more to the point: Why does someone who’s living with a chronic illness stop taking their treatment?
It’s simple really. We’re only human, and we all just want to feel “normal.” And when you’ve been living with a chronic illness your whole life, like Ashley, and that illness hasn’t given you any problems, you might start thinking that you are “normal.” If you’re normal, then why do you need to continue treatment?
Unfortunately, this is a common trap for people with rare diseases. A chronic illness will never go away, and while some times may be better than others, consistency in treatment is key. This is something Ashley learned the hard way, but it’s a lesson she won’t soon forget!
Even if CF treatments are boring for this active lady, Ashley knows they are an important part of her daily routine–just as important as her time at the gym.
Ashley just hopes that some day she can find a way to be active during her treatment instead of confined to a chair. So if by chance, you have fallen off of the “health wagon,” don’t beat yourself up! Forgive and take care of yourself.