Today, I'm happy to be able to call myself a life coach. A year and a half ago, I never thought I would've been able to utter those words; I was depressed and had no direction in life. I had an idea that I wanted to be a writer, but I didn't know how to make money from it… so I started a business running people's social media accounts, and I hated it. However, it was through meeting with a potential client about the business that my life changed. The potential client asked me to meet her at a book club, and I was happy to go since they were reading a book on the law of attraction. At the meeting, I met a life coach there, and we had a great talk afterward; she made me feel like I could live a life that I would love. I set up a consultation, and she sold me immediately. Through the next few months, we would do a lot of delving and would have a lot of hard, challenging, yet necessary conversations. Then one day she asked me a question that I'll never forget.
"Why do you need your illness?"
See, I have a chronic illness called Cystic Fibrosis—CF for short. CF causes premature death, but because of advances in modern medicine, the average life expectancy has crawled to the late thirties. Because of this, it has evolved into a chronic illness; the medication available only treat symptoms but don't cure anything. There are some new treatments (and others on the horizon) that are starting to affect the gene directly, which is exciting, but for now I have to live with the symptoms of CF. My own experience with this disease is the following: trouble breathing, abdominal issues (like not being able to digest food correctly), and an overall feeling of being unwell. Since I was a child, I've had to deal with the idea of death. When I was born in 1994, the average life expectancy was much lower than it is now, so I’ve always believed I was going to die at a young age. I thought that Cystic Fibrosis was taking everything from me. So, when my life coach asked me, "Why do you need your illness?" honestly, I was offended. What did she mean by that? I didn't like or want CF. I had spent my whole life trying to fight and defeat it. Trying to "win the battle" as they say to people with chronic illnesses. I let that question simmer in my mind for some time. Then, out of nowhere, the answer hit me. My life wouldn't be my life without my illness. CF hadn't been taking things away from me… it had been providing me everything. Because of my life experience with Cystic Fibrosis, I know what it feels like to be hopeless. I know what it feels like for living to be an obstacle. I know what it feels like to suffer. I know what it feels like to deal with never-ending health issues. These experiences CF had given me, that I once thought were destroying me, turned out to be giving me life. I finally could see a new light in all of that darkness. I was being put through horrible situations to be shaped into a vessel of empathy and hope for others. We all have unique talents and a purpose here in this world. I believe mine to be that of a messenger—a messenger of hope and healing. These situations caused me to learn what it means to have hope in the face of death, and healing in the face of sickness. I now hope to carry that with me everywhere I go. Healing others that feel like they need it, and giving hope to people that feel like they have none. So, I ask you, "Why do you need your illness?"