Memorial Day Birthday

Posted by: 
Barbara Harison

Here I am living with CF and writing this blog as I am about to turn 74 years old. I was born on Memorial Day - May 30th. For many years of my life, I celebrated my birthday with the day off from school or work, often with a family picnic. Now Memorial Day is on the fourth Monday of May and I usually have to wait a few days to celebrate the birthday. I was diagnosed with CF within a month after I turned 64 years which makes this year also a ten year anniversary of my diagnosis. I always figured I was a CF carrier with symptoms, as I lost a younger sister to CF in 1971 when she was just 21 years old. The diagnosis in 2010 was actually a positive event as I could finally have the latest treatments available. I am pancreatic sufficient and do not have to take enzymes. Yet it was a whole new regimen of treatments to undertake at 64 but my health improved and I could last longer at exercise and not get short of breath.

As Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month comes to a close we all strive to live during these unprecedented times. The health and safety of those living with cystic fibrosis is more critical than ever. In January of this year I was fortunate to receive benefit from the new miracle drug Trikafta. It has been a new beginning of life; within just a few months I wasn’t coughing that much and had more endurance for exercise. I went to the CF Clinic in March just prior to the pandemic and test results confirmed improvement in FEV1 and I did not have any trouble completing the step test. I am healthier now than I was in my fifties and remain healthy even though stay at home has disrupted my exercise regimen. With no swimming pools open I miss swimming laps which is the best exercise for my lungs. I have been taking walks every day and golf courses have been opened for the past two months and I will get to have a birthday round of golf.

I look forward to maintaining my active lifestyle and helping others to stay healthy and active. I only wish my sister, Loretta, could still be here and benefit from this new drug. In memory of my sister I established the Loretta Morris Memorial Fund with the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation (CFLF) ten years ago. The Fund awards Recreation Grants to CF patients to help them Live Stronger and Longer. Preference is given to grant requests for the activities my sister enjoyed: horseback riding and dance; and my favorite activities: swimming, golf, and yoga. The support of 62 friends and family members has enabled the awarding of 170 Recreation Grants over the past 10 years. The total funds disbursed for the grants equal $78,200.

Now that beaches are open I can take beach walks and enjoy the salty sea air and remember the poem I Want to Age Like Sea Glass, by Bernadette Noll:

I want to age like sea glass.  Smoothed by tides, not broken. 
I want the currents of life to toss me around, shake me up and leave me feeling washed clean.
I want my hard edges to soften as the years pass -- made not weak, but supple.
I want to ride the waves, go with the flow, feel the impact of the surging tides rolling in and out.
When I am thrown against the shore and caught between the rocks and a hard place, I want to rest there until I can find the strength to do what is next.
Not stuck -- just waiting, pondering, feeling what it feels like to pause.  And when I am ready, I will catch a wave and let it carry me along to the next place that I am supposed to be.

 

Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER- 

    


Barbara Morris Harison lives in Ventura, CA and serves on the CFLF Board. She was diagnosed with CF at age sixty four (64). She lost a sister to CF forty-nine (49) years ago and established the Loretta Morris Memorial Fund with CFLF in 2010. Barbara is retired after a long career in public parks and recreation administration and management of her own consulting business, Harison & Associates. When she is not swimming laps or golfing she volunteers for community organizations.

 

 

 

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

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