kids sitting with Maysa, doing their best to entertain her during her physio sessions. Some things were harder—like when we spent Maysa’s second Christmas with her tiny, 15-month-old arm bandaged to hold an IV port, going to the hospital every 12 hours for intravenous antibiotics. But there were also heart-warming time, like when my son, then four, tore a strip off his Grandpa for trying to come through the front door without first using hand sanitizer: “Gwanpa, you din’t kween yow HANDS! Yow hands kin’ have GEWMS! You hafta go back outside and KWEEN dem, wight NOW!” Hilarious, too, were the early weeks of using a nebulizer—a device that turns a liquid medicine into a mist that can be inhaled directly to the lungs. My husband would hold Maysa in one hand and the nebulizer mask in the other, and try to stick the two together, while I danced around singing maniacally, trying to distract her from screaming herself hoarse. Through tears of frustration and of laughter, life went on, amidst the regular stuff of life with kids—teething, potty training, board books, and toddler tantrums. And then one day, it didn’t feel strange anymore. Cystic Fibrosis had become part of our world, as regular as anything. We seem to have come through the cycle of shock, sorrow, acceptance, and peace. And we will likely plunge through the cycle again. Each day with CF brings risks, risks of viral illness, of bacteria taking hold, of lung or weight deterioration. There will always be uncertainty; there will always be fear. But if I allow those things to rule me, I will not be doing justice to my daughter. When I look at the big picture, we have everything to be thankful for. Maysa has CF in a day when a cure is not just a dream, but a plausible and tangible hope. New medications are being developed that show incredible results. Research has skyrocketed in the past 10 years. In the past, a child with CF might not live past the age of five. Today, the average life expectancy in Canada is in the late 40s. Maysa has the best possible chance of living a normal, healthy life. She has the privilege of access to healthcare, to the very best doctors, and the very best treatment. But she still needs help; she still needs hope. And so many others, who have battled CF for long years, need it sooner. Today, Maysa is two-and-a-half. She is a bright, busy toddler, with a charming nature and an adorable smile. She tries to do everything her older brother and sister do, and in typical third-child fashion, screeches “HEY! www.IslandParent.ca
Dat’s MIIIINE!” if anyone looks at a toy she is holding. She actually likes the nebulizer. We travel to Victoria every month or two to see her amazing team. She truly loves her doctors and therapists, and looks forward to visiting them. One day she will realize that not everybody has to do the things she has to do to stay healthy. But for now, she doesn’t know another way and she faces everything so bravely. Chest infections and illnesses have had her in the hospital for a month or so of her young life. Weight gain will always be a struggle—and an essential one, since healthy weight has been proven to boost lung function. But right now she is doing better than she ever has before. As for me, in a strange way, Cystic Fibrosis has been a blessing in unlikely wrapping. If it weren’t for CF, I would not have true gratitude for where and when we live. I would have missed the opportunity to experience grace and love being poured on me in a time when I could not stand alone. Cystic Fibrosis has broken my heart, but in healing around the break, I find my heart has been made infinitely more capable of love, empathy, and gratitude. Because my child has CF, I now recognize, with awe and humility, the decades of determined hope mustered by volunteers who have raised millions upon millions of dollars to fund the quest for a cure. I now see how people affected by CF have managed to turn their grief to hope, channeling their fear into positive action and striving for a better future for children who had not yet been born. For my child. Maysa’s life is infinitely better because of all they have fought for. And so I feel privileged to take my place beside them, my daughter’s tiny hand in mine. I believe we will see a cure for Cystic Fibrosis in her lifetime. It cannot come too soon. But the future is on the doorstep, and the future brings hope. May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month. Every week, someone in Canada dies too soon because of CF. To learn how you can help in the mission to cure Cystic Fibrosis, please visit www.cysticfibrosis.ca. Every bit helps to build a road to the cure. Also, look for your local Great Strides Walk, happening Canada-wide on May 25. To lend support or simply spread awareness, please visit www. cysticfibrosis.ca/greatstrides.
FITNESS CLASSES FOR NEW PARENTS
Get your spin class in without the worry of child care. Class includes spin and some core and stretching. Tu 11:30-12:30pm May 6-Jun 24 $40/8 89221 Tu 11:30-12:30pm Jul 8-29 $20/4 89222 Tu 11:30-12:30pm Aug 5-26 $20/4 89223
Stroller Boot Camp
This class will challenge your strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. Classes take place inside and outside. M 10:30-11:30am May 5-Jun 23 $35/7 89197 W 10:30-11:30am May 7-Jun 25 $40/8 89199 W 10:30-11:30am Jul 2-30 $25/5 89200 W 10:30-11:30am Aug 6-27 $20/4 89219
Get in shape and attend to your child. Classes are inside and out and include power walking, toning and flexibility. F 10:30-11:30am May 9-Jun 27 $40/8 89193 F 10:30-11:30am Jul 4-Aug 1 $25/5 89194 F 10:30-11:30am Aug 8-Aug 29 $20/4 89196 All classes are in the JDF Fitness Studio
Sarah Milligan lives on Vancouver Island. She is grateful to her children for the joy they bring—not to mention the endless writing fodder.
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