Jeremy Parks Photos

by Jeremy Parks, BS RRT

Being a CF patient and an RRT gives me a unique perspective of the respiratory care profession. I have given several presentations titled “An Inside Look into the Life of a CFer,” which addresses the various struggles CF patients face, how important respiratory therapy is in our care, and what it’s like to be a patient.

I was unofficially diagnosed with CF at birth and officially diagnosed at two years of age. I had an older sister, Christa, whom my parents lost when she was eight months old to CF and sepsis. Christa was the first in my family tree to be diagnosed with CF, and it was because of her that the doctors knew to test my younger sister Kara and me. Kara does not have CF.

As respiratory therapists, you know that cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disorder affecting the exocrine glands. It causes the production of abnormally thick mucus, leading to the blockage of the pancreatic ducts, intestines, and reproductive tracts and bronchi. It often results in respiratory infection. Now, if you were to tell someone with CF (a CFer) that they have a disease called cystic fibrosis and rattled off that definition, you would most likely get a resounding “WHAAAAT?!?!” The textbook definition of CF means nothing to CFers.

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