Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Doogie Howser: The part about Cystic Fibrosis

So I mentioned way back here (Doogie Howser Part 1) a little bit about my interest in medicine.  And that I was destined to be a doctor even though I didn't know it for quite some time.

And I mentioned two people that were quite influential on that decision.  Well I think it is about time I wrote about them.

The first was a girl I knew in elementary school named Angie.  She was a year older than me and her brother a year younger.  We all played softball together.  Our dads were the coaches for t-ball and maybe coach pitch (can't quite remember that second one).  But in any case, all I knew was that these two siblings had something called Cystic Fibrosis or CF.  I thought it must be pretty common if they both had.  I was pretty ignorant.  Or you know - only 6 years old.  But I remember them both coughing a bit and being skinny.  But the thing that really stuck out was when Angie came to practice with an IV in her arm.  And she played.  She had a PICC line in (temporary long term iv that lets them get antibiotics - and can be done at home).  That is when I decided that being sick doesn't have to get in the way of life.  And that a kid shouldn't have to be worried about something like that.

Angie passed away from CF complications when I was 16.  I had just brought a card to school to put in the box for her, and there was no box.  And there were a lot of people crying.  And that's when I found out she had passed away the night before.

Nicole and I were baking-by cracking eggs on our head.
Fast forward 2 years-college application time.  One school asked me to write a newspaper article for some time in the future and the article was to be about me and what I have accomplished.  I wrote about finding a cure for CF.

I went to college (different one than above -but I thought that was a brilliant college admissions essay-so unique!).  A month or so into it, I walked in my dorm and my jaw dropped.  There stood someone that looked so familiar.  She said her name was Nicole and asked why I was in shock.  I said she looked like someone I once knew.  "Once knew?  What happened" "She died of a disease called CF." "What???  CF, I have CF!  Did she have fingers like mine?"

Ah, Nicole -so funny about her clubbed fingers.  She so desperately wanted normal fingers.  Nicole and I got to be good friends.  She underwent a living donor lung transplant right as we graduated from college.  She graduated at the top of the class.  Despite missing a ton while in the hospital.  She did great for awhile, and got to play her flute again and climb stairs and live on her own and have a job.  But CF is a nasty disease, and she passed away 3 years later.

But as the internet would have, I finally found Angie's little brother online.   And he is trying to kick some CF booty.

And one day, CF will have it's booty kicked right out of dodge.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing this Gretchen. I'm in full agreement that CF is about to have its booty kicked. Yesterday was the anniversary of the transplant...what a miracle that was!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow-I had no idea that was the exact day. I knew yesterday was around transplant time, but pretty amazing how God works and brings to mind certain things just when the time is right.

    ReplyDelete