July 10 2012

Megan Whearty

Live every day like it is your last.

While this may be the most overused, reworked phrase today, it holds true meaning to me. I am not like other people my age who say YOLO (you only live once) and then go out and do something reckless. In my life, any day could actually be my last – because I have cystic fibrosis.

I was born in a small, close-knit Kansas town and was diagnosed with CF at birth – so everyone in my community knew about my disease. In some ways, I was lucky to have my entire community as a support system, even though the attention became overwhelming at times. I relied on my mother for her guidance and strength, and she gave it willingly. CF, for me, was easier to deal with because of my small community and the support of my mother. With that support, I was able to graduate Valedictorian of my high school class and gain acceptance to Kansas State University.

At KSU, I have had a harder time adjusting than the average person, but I am determined to succeed. I work a full-time summer job, try to exercise daily year-round, eat healthy, take care of myself and my appearance, and am proud to say that, even with all of that, I have a 3.7 GPA. I refuse to let CF slow me down and take over my life. I am better than my disease.

I have learned throughout my life to never, ever judge a person or situation without knowing the whole story; to accept and appreciate the differences among people. Without that attitude, I would never have lasting relationships because everyone I encountered would just look at me as “the girl with CF.”

I plan to stay healthy and to stay on top of my disease; to graduate from KSU and then to move on to my Master’s degree in family studies. My dream is the same as most girls’ dreams – to have a steady job I love and a husband and children to go home to every night. And I will reach my dream because CF will never take over my life.

My favorite color is… red.
My favorite food is… mashed potatoes.
My favorite music genre is… country!
My favorite teams are… Kansas State (duh!) and the Green Bay Packers.
If I could visit anywhere in the world, I would go to… anywhere that is warm and has a beach.
My stepdad nicknamed me… George, after Curious George, the monkey.
If my family and friends had to choose one word to describe me, they would say that I am… optimistic.
My role model is… my stepdad.
If I could give anyone who was recently diagnosed with CF advice, it would be… Your diagnosis is not the end of the world; it is maintainable. If you stay positive and take care of yourself – you will not have a negative outcome.