Hi Mel, can you please tell us a bit about you?
Hi, my name is Mel. I’m a little pocket-rocket with so much energy and drive. I love to read and hang out with friends. I own a massage business and I have two amazing little kids in my life – a 10-year-old son and a 9-month-old daughter.
How do you balance having a family and fitting in CF treatments?
I don’t let CF consume my life. It is part of it, but there are so many more factors as well and this balance looks different to everyone.
I have a good routine with taking my medication, so I don’t forget as often.
I ask and accept help. It takes a lot of courage to ask and accept help and this is the best thing. Others want to help but are unsure how, so I delegate jobs – such as having people take my son to school or pick up food shopping, and this helps ease the load.
What do your kids think about you having CF? Do they have many questions/concerns?
My son is very empathetic and kind. He’s always helpful and I think having a mum with CF has moulded this. He doesn’t know any different as he has always been around my treatments and medications. He doesn’t like having to come to my hospital appointments though!
What are some of the challenges of having CF and a family?
Looking after others when I have a chest infection and am low in energy. It is tough to keep going and I need to ask for more support. I found physical family outings, such as walks, incredibly difficult if I was unwell and struggling to breathe, so we would do other easier family things such as movie night (with popcorn and chocolate!)
I learnt over the years that I really need to protect my body and my energy as my job is very physically and emotionally depleting. If I was worn out, I really just had to listen to my body and rest.
What are your proudest achievements?
- I loved swimming with a whale shark, this was an incredible experience.
- I am proud of my mental resiliency and ability to bounce back when I have been unwell or unhappy.
- I love my children and am so lucky to have had both boy and girl. I can’t wait to grow old with them.
Do you have any advice for younger kids living with CF?
- Listen to your body. If you’re feeling unwell, try to rest and look after yourself as the number one priority.
- Feed your growing body with really good nutritional food that you enjoy.
- Move your body every day, whether this is dancing to music, jumping on the trampoline (I did this for so many years as a child) or riding your bike. When you move your body, your brain feels good, your lungs feel good, and you are happier.
Interview from Rozee Magazine, Summer 2022.