Learn about cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, and how to treat and live with this chronic disease.
CF is a rare genetic disease found in about 30,000 people in the U.S. If you have CF or are considering testing for it, knowing about the role of genetics in CF can help you make informed decisions about your health care.
If you or your child has just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, or your doctor has recommended testing for CF, you may have many questions.
Diagnosing CF is a multistep process. A complete diagnostic evaluation should include a newborn screening, a sweat chloride test, a genetic or carrier test, and a clinical evaluation at a CF Foundation-accredited care center.
Raising a child with cystic fibrosis can bring up many questions because CF affects many aspects of your child’s life. Here you’ll find resources to help you manage your child’s daily needs and find the best possible CF care.
Living with cystic fibrosis comes with many challenges, including medical, social, and financial. By learning more about how you can manage your disease every day, you can ultimately help find a balance between your busy lifestyle and your CF care.
People with CF are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. As an adult with CF, you may reach key milestones you might not have considered. Planning for these life events requires careful thought as you make decisions that may impact your life.
People with cystic fibrosis are living longer and more fulfilling lives, thanks in part to specialized CF care and a range of treatment options.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited care centers provide expert care and specialized disease management to people living with cystic fibrosis.
We provide funding for and accredit more than 120 care centers and 53 affiliate programs nationwide. The high quality of specialized care available throughout the care center network has led to the improved length and quality of life for people with CF.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation provides standard care guidelines based on the latest research, medical evidence, and consultation with experts on best practices.
As a clinician, you’re critical in helping people with CF maintain their quality of life. We’re committed to helping you partner with patients and their families by providing resources you can use to improve and continue to provide high-quality care.
As part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's mission to help improve the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis, the PSDC initiative taps the CF community to inform key efforts to support the management of daily care.
Your cystic fibrosis care team includes a group of CF health care professionals who partner with you to provide specialized, comprehensive CF care.
Many people living with cystic fibrosis and their families face complicated issues related to getting the care they need. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Compass makes sure that no one has to do it alone.
CF Foundation Compass is a service that helps people with CF and their families with navigating insurance options, connecting to legal information and experts, finding available financial resources, and tackling other life issues.
CF care team members are paramount in providing highly specialized care to people living with CF. CF Foundation Compass can help by serving as a strategic ally for care teams, so team members can focus on their patients’ care.
CF Foundation Compass can help you navigate insurance, financial, legal, and other issues you are facing. Use this online form to start your conversation with a Compass case manager today.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for CF and supports a broad range of research initiatives to tackle the disease from all angles.
The CF Foundation offers a number of resources for learning about clinical trials and treatments that are being developed to improve the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Our understanding of CF continues to evolve as scientists study what causes the disease and how it affects the body. These insights drive the development of new and better treatments and bring us one step closer to a cure.
Researchers, supported by the CF Foundation, have made tremendous advances to improve the health and quality of life of people with CF. We are committed to providing the tools and resources you need to continuously build upon this work.
Putting myself on display on the theater stage, in a way, was a natural next step after spending much of my life being examined by countless clinicians. Beyond making me comfortable on stage, CF has also fueled my creative work in musical theater.
July 27, 2020
Choosing My Health Over My Livelihood
5 Financial Tips for the COVID-19 Era
Cystic fibrosis is a convenient disease to have if you want to look skinny in pictures and win a hotdog-eating contest. However, if you're the least bit shy or easily embarrassed, this is not the disease for you. When I was diagnosed at age 5, people
asked if I was deaf because I didn't speak. I simply screamed if they came within 6 feet of me. In my defense, new people never meant anything good; just another person trying to get bloodwork out of me. Not to mention, my school kept explaining the
“stranger danger” rule, and I obeyed the rules.
However, having cystic fibrosis beats the “shy” out of you sooner or later. One of the medical students who inserted my catheter was the guy from high school who I turned down for a date. A friend's older sister took detailed notes as I had an endoscopy
with no anesthesia. I've had to show my rashy port-a-cath to every doctor in the state of New Jersey. I've had full-on conversations with people
while I was on the commode. Needless to say, getting a sponge bath from the girl who cheated off of you in math class is a quick way to become a people person.
I suppose this is what led me to the theater. I had become so open and comfortable with my body that putting on a show came naturally.
I put on shows for my family. I made my friends perform musicals that I had written. I took my roles as leading lady and director very seriously. Even the guy folding shirts at The Gap got a full reenactment of my birth. Long story short, Mom signed me
up for theater class. I was certified in Theater 101 at the age of 6.
Theater was my escape from cystic fibrosis. It didn't matter that I was doing something weird or being way too graphic for my age. People in theater not only accepted me, they encouraged me. It didn't matter that I had to get a home IV because I knew that Peter Pan was waiting for me two weeks later. It didn't matter that a new person was about to take blood, because I could tell them all about Rent.
Unfortunately, my Broadway destiny took a slightly different path. I kept up with musical theater all the way through my senior year of high school. I mostly did community theater because I was hospitalized too often to even consider auditioning for school
shows. During my last musical, I hid an IV under my costume. It was winter and I was battling a nasty case of Pseudomonas and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.
Sheer willpower got me through the performance, but the beaker of blood and my drop in FEV1 was a huge reality check.
I decided to perform in fewer shows (down from my usual eight shows per year) when I got to college. I was a lot sicker and shad a lot more on my plate. I was diagnosed with Mycobacterium abscessus my junior year of college, during which time I had to turn down an offer to play one of my dream roles. My friends went on performing, pursuing their degrees in the arts. I was confident in my decision to pursue public relations -- you know … insurance ... but my friends' social media pictures still hit below the belt. It was one of the darkest times of my life.
I decided to pull out the stories and music that I wrote when I was a little kid. I found lyrics about the hospital and about how I always felt like my cough was disgusting.
Something clicked. As my health continued to decline, I realized that there was another way that I could participate in theater -- as a writer.
I put pen to paper and -- within one month -- the lyrics I had written at age 12 became a full-length musical, Just For Claps. It was a new musical comedy about cystic fibrosis and a play on words -- clapping (percussion)
and clapping (applause). No one got it, so I later changed it to Fall Risk.
Last year, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation gave me the greatest wedding gift of all -- an Impact Grant to produce my original musical. And, two weeks later, I received the second greatest gift of all --
a double-lung transplant. Finding a hobby and a passion allowed me to pull through the tough times of CF. I thought I was performing in spite of my cystic fibrosis. Turns out,
cystic fibrosis led me to my passion. I hope the guy at The Gap back in 1996 sees the show and I hope that he is proud.
Interested in sharing your story? The CF Community Blog wants to hear from you.
Adult with CF
Nicole is the writer and executive producer of Fall Risk, a new musical comedy about cystic fibrosis. She is a public relations graduate from Kean University, and certified
in the theory and practice of Child Life from UCLA. She also authored a children's book called Two Cents, which is based on her experiences with critique related to CF. Nicole is proud to be an AbbVie scholarship winner and WEGO health award
finalist. Nicole is an Impact Grant recipient, a patient representative for the Robert Wood Johnson Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, a Regional Lung Transplant Conference patient representative, and public speaker. Nicole lives in New Jersey with her
husband, mother, and twin puppies. You can follow Nicole on Twitter @cystic4real, on Instagram @sigurn1, or on
Facebook. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share this Post
This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.
Follow Us On
Insurance, financial, legal, and other issues. A dedicated, knowledgeable CF Foundation Compass case manager is ready to work with you one-on-one.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
4550 Montgomery Ave.
Suite 1100 N
Bethesda, MD 20814
800-344-4823 (toll free)
Sign up for our emails