Long term health conditions

Sophie - Interview 15

Age at interview: 19
Age at diagnosis: 8

Brief outline: Sophie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 8 years old. She was taught by her parents to do all her own medications and treatments and encouraged to do sport. She is the Social secretary for her university Netball Cub. Sophie has a positive approach to her condition and says that she lives life to the full.

Background: Sophie is a second year university student reading Psychology. Lives in shared accommodation with other female students. Sophie enjoys doing sport as it cleans her chest and makes her feel well. Ethnic background/nationality' British.

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Sophie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 8 when she got pneumonia. She was not able to understand all the implications of her condition at that time but her parents gradually started to teach her how to do her own medications and treatments.

Her experiences at primary and secondary school were very positive. Her attitude has always been to tell others about her condition and explain what cystic fibrosis is. In her experience she has found that her peers are curious to start with but soon they get used to her taking her tablets and doing her physiotherapy. 

Sophie comes from a very sporty family. She has always been encouraged by her family to take up sport and exercise. At secondary school she was captain of netball and athletics. Sophie enjoys doing sport as it cleans her chest and makes her feel well. She is now the Social Secretary for her University Netball Club. Despite having problems with haemoptysis (coughing up blood) she tries to exercise whenever possible. Sophie says that cystic fibrosis patients should be encouraged to exercise.

She attends a special cystic fibrosis unit and finds that the medical care she receives there is brilliant. She knows that if she has any problem she can talk to a consultant the same day. When she travelled abroad she was given all sorts of written information, medication and a contact number back in the UK. 

At university she initially found it difficult to get the balance between managing her condition and her independent life as a first year undergraduate. She has learned to give more attention to her diet and tries not to let herself get run down. But she always does her physiotherapy and nebuliser everyday.

Sophie has known about the life expectancy of a cystic fibrosis patient right from the beginning, and, which at present, is 41 years of age*. But she does not think of her life as a countdown, but rather sees cystic fibrosis as a challenge and does not allow it to stop her from doing the things she wants to do.

Read Sophie's guest blog to find out what she's doing now.

*The average predicted survival for someone with CF currently stands at 41 years old. This means that according to the statistics currently half of those with CF will live to over 41 years old, although a baby born today can be expected to live longer- Cystic Fibrosis Trust May 2014


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