Tammy Grover is a mama bear in every sense of the word. She keeps her cubs close and has dedicated her life to trying to help them survive.
Two of her three children were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) not long after birth. Mom, Tammy, has made it her goal to help her kids manage their CF and educate others about the importance of organ donation, according to an online article in the Regina Leader-Post.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic, life-threatening disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system, and limits the ability to breathe over time.
CF causes a sticky and thick buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. The buildup clogs the lungs, causing breathing problems and giving a place for bacteria to grow, leading to lung infections and damage. The build-up can cause CF patients to feel as if they are drowning while trying to take a normal breath.
To say CF rules the life of Jelena, 15, and Jaydn, 18, is an understatement.
It even impacts their half-sister Jenesis. Although Jenesis doesn’t have CF, she must be very careful not to bring germs home that might threaten Jelena and Jaydn. Early in their young lives, Tammy decided to homeschool both Jelena and Jaydn to help reduce the possibility of introducing germs into the family home.
Homeschooling has also helped Tammy better oversee the family’s daily schedules. There is no such thing as a vacation day from CF. Trips to the hospital are frequent. In addition to needing to take nearly 40 pills a day, with supplements to help with CF’s digestive problems, Jelena and Jaydn must use respironics vibrating vests and positive expiratory pressure (PEP) masks to remove mucus from their lungs. Jelena and Jadyn both wear masks when they go outside, and Jelena takes oxygen with her so she doesn’t run out of breath.
Jelena, whose lung capacity is down to 30 percent, will need a double-lung transplant and has grown immune to the medication that helps remove the bacteria from her lungs. As you can imagine, the testing, hospital stays and medication are expensive. Homeschooling has made it impossible for Tammy to work, and she is on assistance. She manages to keep a positive attitude for the sake of her kids and for the future, as she works towards raising awareness for those struggling with CF, including those closest to her heart.