June 11 2009

Jennifer Alawadi

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person, perfectly.” –Sam Keen
 
I first met my husband, Mohammad, over the internet in 2003. We spent long hours chatting, both over the phone and online, and after three short months, I made a trip to Chicago to meet his family. In him I found a very wonderful person who, despite his ill health, inspired me in way I never thought possible. Shortly after my visit, we married. It was then, when I became Mohammad’s wife, that I realized the great responsibility of his illness and joined him in his fight against cystic fibrosis.
 
There were a multitude of hurdles to jump before we received Medicaid. With Mohammad originally uninsured, we were unable to afford all of his expensive medications and, as a result, my husband had to receive oxygen from a concentrator every day. At first considered ineligible for Medicaid, Mohammad struggled to survive off of donated medications from pharmaceutical companies. Since we have started to receive health insurance, he has been able to receive the medications and tests he needs to make it through each week, however; our battle against CF continues.
 
With our CF center two hours away from our home in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Mohammad bed ridden and unable to work, the every day fight still proves to be difficult. Struggling to pay the bills and make rent, I am constantly juggling the roles of caretaker and homemaker. I have to be a shoulder to cry on, a cheerleader when Mohammad has in infection, an advocate among doctors, a housekeeper, a nurse, and most importantly, a wife.
 
Now that Mohammad is 42, there is a greater need for him to stay compliant. Every morning I wake him up early and help him with his treatments and airway clearance. However exhausting the daily treatments are, I am thankful for the hours it gives us together. Mohammad has an extra spark for live – making every minute I spend with him a reward in itself. My goal each day is to do whatever I can to make my husband feel more comfortable and to continue breathing – with the hope that he will receive a lung transplant and more freedom in the future.
 
Through the challenges Mohammad and I have faced with CF, I have found there is more to live than previously imagined. There is a great love and respect that we share for each other and, most importantly, there is hope. Hope that Mohammad will get a lung transplant, that we will make it through the next day and week. I am grateful that my husband never loses hope.
 
My favorite holiday is Halloween.
My favorite food is Indian.
My favorite pastime is visiting aquariums and the beach.
My favorite movie is Ever After.
My favorite color is teal.
My friends and family would say that I am chipper.
My mother is my role model.