Long term health conditions

Kate - Interview 19

Age at interview: 21
Age at diagnosis: 4

Brief outline: Kate was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) when she was 4 years old by a new consultant who spotted the symptoms straight away. Previously, she had been misdiagnosed with other conditions such as asthma and a milk allergy. Kate has very few CF related symptoms and although she has had the odd chest infection, she has never required intravenous antibiotics.

Background: Kate is very busy with her final year at university and she also works part-time. Lives at home with her parents. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

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Kate was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) when she was 4 years old. She says that at that time there was not much awareness about her condition and she had previously been misdiagnosed as having asthma and a milk allergy. Kate said that at hospital her mother had burst into a consultant's room after having been made to wait for hours. This consultant was new to the hospital and spotted the symptoms of CF straight away. Within days she was diagnosed, after 4 years of basically having her symptoms 'ignored'.

After the diagnosis she spent a couple of years in and out of hospital until her condition was stable and under control. Although she has had the odd chest infection, she has never required intravenous antibiotics. She takes Creon and vitamins and is generally in good health. 

Since the age of 4, Kate has been attending regular hospital appointments with her medical team including for diagnostic tests. For her this is very important because she feels that in this way her medical team is able to keep a close check on her health and detect any infection early on.

She says that the medical team at the children's hospital clinic is brilliant and she has kept seeing them until recently. Her initial experience at the adult clinic was a bit disheartening and she found the lack of privacy during diagnostic testing difficult to cope with. She remembers that there were no curtains separating the cubicles between one patient and another. Now she is able to cope with things like that but it was not so easy when she was 16 years old! On the other hand, she says that she has gained more control over the management of her condition since transferring to the adult clinic.

Kate is in her last year of taking a degree at university and also works four evenings a week in a restaurant and is busy preparing her dissertation and exams. She says that, as a result, she has little time to see her friends these days. 

Her children's consultant encouraged her to keep herself active by running, swimming, going to the gym, etc. Kate has always exercised but one thing that she doesn't do on a regular basis is her physiotherapy. She feels that her running helps to clear her chest as effectively as a physiotherapy session. 


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