May 06 2014

Dryden Groat

My childhood was a challenge for my family and I, as it is with most CF cases. I was a relatively healthy kid despite having this disease. My CF affects my digestive system and weight gain a lot more than my lungs, so the only real concern for my family was to keep putting weight on me. I started playing baseball when I was four, ran around and played with my friends, and was just as active as any normal child. My parent's never held me back and always told me to never let my disease keep me from doing things I wanted to do.

I wake up every morning and sit on the end of my bed to start my breathing treatment. I do two puffs of Xopanex then follow that up with a HyperSal treatment accompanied by 20 minutes on the vest and finish it off with Advair. With every meal I take six enzymes (Zenpep) and I take three with snacks, I also drink at least two Scandishakes a day to get in some extra calories. After I get home from class and work I take my dog, Beau, who is a chocolate lab, out for a jog and some fetch. In a day, I'd say we cover about two miles. When we get back I strap up to do another breathing treatment but this one is followed up with pulmozyme, then when it's time for bed I take my daily medicines, prevacid, zyrtec, aquadek vitamin, nasonex, and a zinc supplement. 

I'd say my main motivation for staying healthy is other people living with CF and their families. I'm blessed to be in such good health and not have as bad a case as most others, so I fight for those who are less fortunate. I make it my goal to not be a statistic and to show others that even with this disease we can achieve great things. Along with those individuals, I fight for my family, my girlfriend, and my friends who have done nothing but support me through all I've been through. 

I can't really remember a single worst day with CF, but I can recall how hard the times are when I get tired of fighting. I ask the question, "Why me?" and I sometimes get depressed, but with prayer and help from those who are closest to me I think of all those who are counting on me and how this disease was given to me for a reason and I keep battling. 

My best day with CF was the day I won the 2009 Texas 1A state baseball championship with my high school team. It was more than just a victory for my team, it was a victory for myself because when that gold medal was hung around my neck I was proud of myself for never letting this disease keep me from playing the sport I love, no matter how hard things got sometimes.

Yes, everyone who knows me knows I have CF. I'm very open about it. I like to share my story and experiences with others.

I love to play and coach baseball, it's what I've done since I was a kid. I grew up with the sport and it's something I plan to be a part of until the day I die. It's the greatest sport in the world in my opinion. Along with baseball, I enjoy playing guitar, exercising with my dog, spending time with my family and girlfriend, drawing, and writing.

My career goal is to be a counselor. I really enjoy helping others.

My personal goals are to get married and spend a long, healthy, happy life with my spouse.

May 02 2014

Gunnar Esiason

“You are never out of the fight”

In terms of my health, I think I had a relatively normal childhood. I was diagnosed with CF when I was 2, but that never really slowed me down. By the time I was seven I was on skates and “playing” youth hockey. It was really more a matter of trying to keep my balance at that point. but I eventually figured it out. I also played little league baseball, soccer, and lacrosse. I was involved in just about everything. It was in high school when I really learned that exercise and staying fit leads to a healthy life. I played varsity football and ice hockey. I was really able to keep my CF under control whenever I was in season; it definitely made life a lot easier.

I graduated from Boston College in May 2013 with a degree in English. I think the experience of college life and lifelong friends are far more valuable than the degree I earned. I taught myself how to live independently and overcome any obstacle thrown my way, including two separate bouts of pneumonia during senior year.

My parents started the Boomer Esiason Foundation when I was two, so I guess you could say I have been living inside the CF world for my entire life. I have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of really great people that epitomize the strength human beings possess. On the flip side, though, I have unfortunately seen firsthand what happens when patients lose the desire to stay compliant. I stay true to my treatments and routines because I do not want to end up in that spot.

No matter how tough things may be on any given day, it is the love for lacing up my hockey skates and getting on the ice that gets me through anything. The sport demands such a high level of fitness for it to be fun. I don’t plan on ever giving it up.

My favorite color is Red
I love my mom’s fried chicken and mashed potatoes more than anything
My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July
My favorite movie is Braveheart
My favorite band is Blink-182

CF may be apart of you, but don’t let it define you.

May 02 2014

Anna Modlin

“Never let fears get in the way of your dreams”

I have dealt with CF pretty much since the beginning. I was diagnosed at 18 months, and grew up in the San Francisco, Bay Area. My mom basically threw me in the pool at 5 years old, and that’s really when I found my love for swimming. That was also when we first saw the impact that exercise can have for CF patients, I didn’t cough once that night after first being in the pool. A few years later, I got into competitive swimming and have been competing ever since. At first, I won many races and was very successful at a lot of my meets. Later in life, though, I felt that my lungs were holding me back from achieving my true potential as a swimmer.

Although exercise and swimming were a huge part of my life, I found that my treatments were always the difference maker. Because of this mentality, I was able to complete my undergraduate degree in four years and then my master’s in three years, both of which in counseling psychology at Santa Clara University.
After I completed school, though, my health seemed to deteriorate pretty rapidly. Four years after graduating with my Master’s, I was listed for transplant and underwent a successful double-lung transplant in November 2010. Since transplant, I have found that exercise makes a huge difference in daily life. I can definitely tell the days apart when I do and do not work out.

Some of my greatest accomplishments have come after transplant. I got back in the pool and started swimming competitively again. I have competed in the Transplant Games of America and have won five gold medals. I also took part in the World Transplant Games in South Africa and won two gold’s and one silver, plus a bronze in a relay event. My new lungs have given me the opportunity to swim freely, something I am truly grateful for.

My favorite color is purple

I love cheeseburgers

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I received my lungs and a new lease on life two days before Thanksgiving in 2010.

My favorite movie has to be the Princess Bride.

Michael Phelps has always been an icon for me.

One word that describes me is certainly, perseverance.

If I could give one piece of advice to a newly diagnosed CF patient, I would tell him or her to NEVER GIVE UP!