Today I got the opportunity to say goodbye to an amazing young lady. I attended the funeral of one of my Cystic Fibrosis patients. When I first started working at the hospital as a Respiratory Care Practitioner, she was one of the first CF patients I ever had. It didn't take long for her to capture my heart. Man was she spunky. There was never a dull moment whenever we had our talks. Her treatments lasted approximately 30 minutes, but somehow she always made me forget time. I always seemed to stay with her past her treatment time, making me late for my other patients. Whenever she came in for her tune-ups, I always went to visit her and check on her. It made me sad to see her get weaker in her final years. She still continued to carry the vibrant fire in her considering she was given a death sentence. She was born a fighter and truly fought until she took her last breath in her father's arms.
Cystic Fibrosis is a deadly genetic disease that unfortunately has no cure...yet. This disease is passed down through families that causes build up of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body. When mucus clogs the lungs, it can become very difficult to breathe. The thick mucus also traps bacteria in the airways, which can result in infections and inflammation and often leads to severe lung damage, and eventually, respiratory failure. It also can obstruct the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down food and absorb vital nutrients. About 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) have CF. An additional 10 million people (about one in every 31 Americans) are symptomless carriers of the defective CF gene.
In the past most children diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis did not even make it to elementary school. With more research and newer medications, patients can live up to their 30s and 40s. Most of these patients though, require lung transplants. My wonderful friend had just received her double-lung transplant this year, but unfortunately her body began to reject her new lungs a few months after surgery.
So this post I want to dedicate to her. My hope is that you become aware of what this disease is and hope you see the need for a cure. In my job, saying goodbye to these patients has become the hardest part. I wish to one day live to see the cure for Cystic Fibrosis. You can always help by making a donation at Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. That donation helps to add tomorrows.
RIP Kayla Elizabeth Murphy