"I try to reassure everyone who has been affected by this disease that CF isn't the end of the world if you don't want it to be."
The experience of living with cystic fibrosis is markedly different today than it was decades ago. Thanks to the discovery of the CF gene, the availability of effective drug therapies and advances in technology, the 30,000 Americans who deal with the disease day in and day out are living longer and fuller lives. In a word, they are thriving.

Laura Tillman

Laura's Story

I grew up in Michigan and was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1995, at the age of 47 and after years of suffering from chronic sinus infections, a chronic cough, pseudomonas infections, and a sundry of other symptoms. I am currently 61 years old and have been married to my husband Lew for 33+ years. I took early retirement in 2000 from my position as a certified school psychologist, due to constant infections acquired from working with infants and toddlers. Since then, I have been involved in volunteer activities for various CF organizations, both state and national. I currently serve on the board of directors of a state organization, as well as USACFA.

Initially, after diagnosis, I was completely compliant with all the recommended treatments while still working full-time. However, finding the time to get adequate sleep and exercise was next to impossible. After five years of declining health, I decided to take early retirement, which was the best decision I could have made as far as my health was concerned.

Laura on Having a Sense of Humor

I have found that maintaining a positive attitude and a sense of humor can be very beneficial to my health. One of my favorite little sayings is “she who laughs, lasts …” I feel that volunteerism, attitude and humor—as well as the support of my husband—are as important as the medicines and treatments I will continue to receive throughout the remainder of my life. My husband and doctor might take exception to this and add that my stubbornness and feistiness also keep me going.

Laura on Staying Informed

Although I’m pretty insistent in determining the terms of my care, I will do whatever I consider reasonable in order to achieve my goal of living a very long and fulfilling life. I know CF is a monster that can turn quickly and rear its ugly head. That’s why it’s good to be prepared with knowledge, a great doctor, and flexibility in one’s attitude. The key to maintaining one’s health status is to be as knowledgeable about your own body as well as to be a very informed medical consumer.

Proudest Moment: Asked to be a god parent
Favorite Food: Middle Eastern
Favorite Color: Mauve
Favorite Movie: Gone With The Wind
Favorite Hobbies: Baking, pilates, animals, reading
Awards: Years of Dedication Award from CFF, 6th Grade Spelling Bee
Dream Vacation: Bostwana and Victoria Falls, Africa
Favorite Music: 60’s
Passions: Travel, theatre, opera, dance
You can find Laura on ... Cysticfibrosis.com, Cystic L 

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