Reach The Beach - Oregon

Team Hanna

My name is Hanna, I am 22 years old and I have Cystic Fibrosis.  I was diagnosed with CF when I was 3.  CF is a genetic lung disease that causes lung infections and limits the ability to breathe overtime.  It also affects the digestive system and other organs.   There is too much mucus build up throughout the organs due to a defective gene.  I have frequent lung infections and I have a very low immune system.  I do breathing treatments with a nebulizer and airway clearance routines to get out as much mucus as I can.  My energy is usually quite low and my lungs usually feel tight.  My voice can be really raspy at times from coughing so much and I have a hard time gaining weight because my digestive system does not work well.  I have to take enzymes every time I eat to digest my food.  I grew up on the Oregon Coast which helped me and my health because of the salty air.

As I grew up, I played many sports and tried to stay really active.  But as I have gotten older, my health has decreased.  Which is what happens with everyone with CF.  The average lifespan is the mid 30's.  But I try not to let that bring me down. 

I am married and very happy.  I have graduated cosmetology school with Aveda, which has all natural products and is better for my health.  I have worked on a farm and now I work part time at a salon.  Work is very hard on me sometimes, but I work with very caring people which makes everything easier.  I have traveled, and continue to stay active.  I have been blessed by staying positive through it all.  Learning to stay happy is the key to getting through every day and I thank God for all of my trials which have made me stronger and more understanding of others.

I have also been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which effects the whole body with constant pain.  Here is what I have done in my life to increase my health and to gain more energy.  I have learned to cut out all dairy from my diet.  It increases mucus buildup.  I have also cut out meat which has helped  my energy to be up and my digestive system to work more smoothly.  I also eat mostly organic, which truly has a different effect on our bodies.  I have stopped taking almost all of my prescription medication after learning of all the side effects and how they could potentially be making me worse.  I take my enzymes, and do my breathing treatments every day.  I have substituted everything with supplements, vitamins, essential oils and staying active.  My doctors have been very impressed and my lung function has increased as well as my energy.  I feel so much happier and stronger.  I still have  a lot of pain and frustration, but I know that I am strong and I have so many people who love and support me.  I pray constantly through out the day and I know that it always brings me a great comfort and I have been blessed with strength.  Living with a disease is incredibly hard, but I have learned to make it my strength.  I love life and I am grateful for my time here on Earth. 



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