I’ve been working on this poem since last week. It was originally titled “If I didn’t have CF” but I changed it to “If I Never Had CF” because I know that if CF went away by some miracle drug, I would still have been able to take away so many lessons just by having lived with it… The news about vertex this week just made me more hopeful for a time in the future when CF is not what it was in the past, and those of us who [were fortunate enough?] to have lived with it can say we learned how to LIVE. Would you still appreciate everything the difficulties of CF have taught you if you were able to be cured or given a drastic new treatment? I know I would take that treatment without hesitation but I would still live the way CF has taught me to.

If I never had CF
I’d be a little taller
my lungs a little fuller
my skin a tad less salty.
If I never had CF
I’d take my sweet time,
take it all for granted,
be terrified
of doctors
and hate the smell
of hospitals.

If I never had CF
I’d have stories for grandkids
and beautiful wrinkles around my eyes.
The beach would be for tanning
and the gym would be for weight-loss.
I’d be a little more selfish
have less ambition
less drive
less pride.
If I never had CF
I wouldn’t laugh so much
cause it takes a chill
to feel the warmth of the sun.
I’d probably slack off
knowing I got my whole long life
to do great things.
I’d hug you less
knowing I got my whole long life
to hold on.

If I never had CF
I wouldn’t be me.
But I promise those hard learned
lessons were worth it.
And I’m ready to reminisce
look up at the sun, toes in the sand,
and remember when the beach was
for breathing.

-Lauren Bombardier