Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
It is a defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that: clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes.
People with CF can have a variety of symptoms, including: salty-tasting skin persistent coughing oftrn with phlegm, lung infections, wheezing or shortness of breath, poor growth and/or weight gain and frequent greasy and bulky stools.
I had the oopportunity to interview Kirstie Tancock, a young and inspirational woman with cystic fibrosis.
Here are my questions and her answers.
What is your name? Kirstie Tancock
How old are you? 26
What is Cystic Fibrosis? A genetic condition that affects the organs by clogging them with thick stick mucus. This can particular affect the lungs causing repeated infection and lead to respiratory failure. Along with impairing the function of the digestive system, liver, pancreas among other things.
When were you diagnosed with cystic fibrosis? 6 weeks old
At 21 you were told you needed a lung transplant and without one you only had days to live, what was your initial reaction? I was placed on the lung transplant list at 21 I was told I had 2 years entially but this wasn't the case, with in week I was told I had 6 months and another few weeks I was placed on life support. I knew time was running out before the doctors told me. I just wanted to make sure my family were ok.
How does CF affect your daily life? I have to take huge amounts of medication and before my transplants hours on treatments. Struggling to breathe.
After your transplant you had to learn to walk again, why? I was placed on life support before my first transplant aswell as been bed ridden weeks before this lead to muscle atrophy (muscle wastage). So I had to regain strength in my muscles.
Sadly a year after the transplant your body started to reject it, how long was it till you found another donor? I was placed back on the list on a Thursday and a set of lungs were found only the day after. I didn't have long left so it was now or never.
How long was your recovery process? For my second transplant, My initial recovery was extremely quick within 3 1/2 weeks I was home but I had had radiation therapy before this really slowed my overall recovery. I think it really took a year to start to feel normal energy levels.
Today you teach pole dancing, what was your inspiration to do that? I took a class in college and loved it. It's gymnastics, dance, acrobatics all in one, I found it really easily and it was a exercise I could do with very little lung function. I'm constantly inspired by other pole dancers, by my students and by those with cf.