Beauty in the Struggle

Posted by: 
Martha Garvey

“Roses are red. Violets are blue. Things may seem tough but you’ll get through.” This poem was written in crayon and framed above the computer in room where I did my pulmonary function tests (PFTs) growing up. I visited this room every 3 months from ages 5 to 19. I remember thinking those words over and over in my head as a kid, in hopes they’d calm me down and better my results. Looking back I think it’s pretty clear that I had PFT anxiety. In my mind it was either blow a good score or go in the hospital for weeks of IV treatments, meaning I’d miss out on the rest of hockey season which was always my biggest concern.

These past four months I’ve had other concerns than hockey. I ended up hospitalized in October. It was nothing new. I’ve been here before. I wasn’t scared but I was angry. I had months of big plans ahead of me and laying in a hospital bed was not one of them. I had just enrolled in a screen writing class, interviewed for a job I really wanted, booked a flight to Chicago to watch my Bears play the Vikings and I had hopes of visiting my best friend in Lake Tahoe. But all that was traded in real quick for a picc line.

I like to think I’m hopeful, not naive when I make future plans. I know there’s a huge chance it may fall through due to my health but I refuse to never try. No matter how many times I’ve had to cancel or change plans, I still get bummed and angry.

This last hospital stay was probably the hardest I’ve had in some time. I’ll save you all the details but it seemed as if there was a new obstacle or complication just about every other day. But what really stands out from my stay, are my friends and boyfriend Ryan. They never let me down and never failed to make me laugh. Between the surprise visits, the pizza parties, the Rocky movie marathons, the saline syringe fights and “accidentally” leaving the hospital grounds, I found myself laughing and often forgetting about whatever medical hiccup I was dealing with that day. One day I had three friends accidentally bring me the exact same joke book in hopes of cheering me up. It was a bunch of small, beautiful moments that meant the world to me.

Although it may seem like the biggest oxymoron ever, I do believe there is beauty in everything, even CF. Regardless of everything this disease has put me through. It's given me a beautiful and unique perspective of life. There IS beauty everywhere.

There's that blissful beauty of being told you get to go home after being in the hospital for weeks at a time.

There's the beautiful moment of normalcy when your favorite nurse is working and cracks jokes with you or asks how your family is doing.

There's beauty in the shape of pure delight when you get to take that first shower without a plastic glove over your iv.

There's triumphant beauty in seeing your pulmonary function tests improve and that your hard work and diligence has paid off.

There's bittersweet beauty in seeing your friends and family come together to rally for you in order to raise funds and awareness for the CF Foundation.

Or that oddly beautiful moment when a new friend tells you they googled your disease because they care about you and wanted to know more.

This disease is ugly but that doesn’t mean life is. There’s beauty in the struggle and in the resiliency of those with CF. Things may seem tough but we’ll get through.


Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER- 




Martha is currently 24 years old and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth. She is an outdoor recreation educator by day and an aspiring stand-up comedian at night. Martha maintains an active lifestyle by snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and paddling on the beautiful lakes of Minnesota. She is also a former CFLF Recreation Grant Recipient. Follow her adventure on Instagram at @marthagarvey





***Views expressed in the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily of the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation*** 

***Please speak with your physician before making any changes to your CF management***


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