- Where/how did you guys meet?
We met at my friends get together. I had a craving for cereal and struck up a conversation with Tiffany, turns out she is super in to cereal as well.
- What is your favorite activity to do together?
Eating! Mostly eating things that aren’t good for us. Some couples go for drinks, we go for donuts, Chinese food, and burritos! We also enjoy playing games together, Nintendo, cards, and other board games.
- What is one of your SO’s funny habits?
She’s obsessed with Taylor Swift. I say it’s a funny habit because if I faced the reality of the situation, then it’s more like Tiffany is in a relationship with Taylor Swift.
- What do you like best about him/her?
She shares my obsession with food! Also, she’s fun size! In all seriousness I like her persistence, no obstacle can derail her from her goal.
- What is one of their quirks?
She won’t eat crust. I never knew donuts had crust until I met Tiffany, which means I get 1 and a half donuts 🙂 She is also crazy obsessed with Corgi butts…yeah you read that right. Wait was I supposed to just give one? Sorry!
- Did you know about CF before meeting your SO?
If so, what? I have worked in health care for many years now so I had a basic understanding of CF and what it entailed.Like most people I had a basic understanding at best. It was not until after meeting Tiffany that I became acquainted with the finer points of CF.
- Did you know before you were dating that your SO had CF? How did you find out (When did your SO tell you about their CF)? What were your initial thoughts?
Yes! I am pretty sure Tiffany told me the night we met, it was never a secret or anything she tried to hide from me. My initial thought was HEY COOL! Someone else with a chronic condition! We chronics must stick together you know? Growing up with a chronic disease you learn how to create a positive environment around anything, and that allows people to become comfortable around you. I think Tiffany and I did this for each other, that feeling of acceptance was definitely a factor in making us more comfortable with talking about our situations.
- What did you do to learn about the disease? Did you SO play an active role in that (did he/she tell you to avoid the “Internet definition”)?
I am one of those extremely lucky people to have a mother who was also a nurse. Between her wealth of knowledge and Tiffany’s life experience, it was all the education anyone needed. I’m also fortunate to have built a career in health care and have access to some very intelligent doctors who are able to provide valuable insight as well.
8a. Do you ask your SO a lot of questions about CF? (In a way to learn more about the disease)
Early on, not so much anymore.
- Do you talk about CF?
I think it’s discussed at least once a day! Tiffany is very involved in the CF community and has made many friends around the world. Sometimes we get updates on how some of those people are doing so there is always a CF story to talk about.
- What was it like the first time you saw your SO do treatments, how long did it take to get to that point?
I think Tiffany was doing a treatment the first time I met her, I mean what was the alternative? Not doing one to impress me? I don’t think Tiffany was ever afraid to do her treatments around me, even for the first time. Remember that comfortable environment we were just talking about? Her game had no shame!
- How do you support your SO in their battle with CF (reminding him/her to take pills, wash neb-cups, do IV infusions, going to doctor’s appointments)?
I play multiple roles basically. That of the hardcore walker to raise funds for research, the ambulance Uber driver who is available on demand to whisk her away to the nearest hospital (Still never been tipped, but I guess we can let that go). I’ve been the guy who gives his girlfriend shots (not alcohol). Food delivery driver was one of the coolest because again Tiffany does not eat crust so that means Jeff gets to eat!
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve had to do that is CF related (change IV bandage, remove IV, physically do something your SO because he/she was unable, etc.)?
Craziest thing I have ever done and this coming from an avid skydiver, bungee jumper, you name it, was to hold her old lungs! When she got her new ones they let us hold her old ones and say goodbye, it was bitter sweet.
- How do you think CF has shaped/modeled your SO into the person they are today?
It’s made her who she is. Our experiences help to define us, and hers have made her strong, stronger than most people could ever hope to be. It’s made her determined; she can push through anything and let nothing hold her back from her goals. Finally, they have made her compassionate. She is a warrior when she needs to be and a Saint all at the same time. To anyone out there struggling with CF, reach out to Tiffany, there is nothing more she wants than to help you!
- Does your SO’s health change your opinion on how you look at you own health?
Definitely don’t take anything for granted. We really have no idea how good we have it just being able to climb a flight of stairs without almost passing out.
- Did you ever second-guess the relationship because he/she had CF?
I have never second-guessed our relationship because of CF. If you can learn to love the worst in someone, and I mean CF is the worst because all I want is to fight it for her and I can’t. But, if you can learn to love that about someone, how it has shaped them and become a part of who they are, well then it just makes the rest so simple.
- What has been the hardest thing to get used to (ex: working around treatment schedule, sharing a bed…especially with IVs, GI issues…, spit cups,)?
Treatments were tough, due to us needing to have electricity for her to do it. Limited us a bit in terms of where we could be at a given time. Another thing that became somewhat of a limit for us later on was her oxygen tank, Roxy. When she got up to 5 liters of oxygen we were burning through batteries faster than we could charge them.
- Has CF impacted spending time together? (ex: cancelled plans last minute, illness related, not going “out” as much as peers)
Date nights often took place in the hospital, no big deal! I mean really, life gets in the way. Take the lemons and make lemonade, sometimes you make it in a hospital room no biggie. As far as our friends go, they knew what they were getting in to when they signed on the dotted line. They know our illnesses, and they know sometimes we run out of spoons. When that happens we just reschedule, we are very lucky to have the most amazing friends who understand us and love us.
- What do friends and family say to you about you being with someone who has CF (significant illness)?
They say I am a stand up guy, but what people don’t realize is at some point in their life they will get sick, never let that stop you.
- What do you and your SO do when YOU are sick, how is that impacted because of CF?
She basically stays away from me, but that might have something to due with me locking her out! Getting sick sucks, it happens quite often to us but you can blame me because my job is to literally walk in to doctor’s offices all day. It also doesn’t help that being a diabetic doesn’t allow me get better quicker (Ironic, I know) so when this happens we date over the phone for a while. You do what you have to do to make it work!
- CF and family planning, how does that impact the relationship?
I think it throws a small wrinkle in it, but it’s definitely possible! CF has an impact on every aspect of the relationship, but it doesn’t have to be a negative one.
- How have YOU coped with the progressive nature of the illness?
By riding it out right there with Tiffany. We adopted the Ride or Die motto from Fast and Furious so that helped. I think we coped together, being so close we went through it all together.
- What about the financial burden of the disease?
It sucks! Have you ever seen LIFE MAINTENANCE drugs ring up at over $15,000 for a 30-day supply? It’s a constant thought for us, always somewhere on the mind. We do a lot of fund-raisers to help offset the costs of drugs and treatments. The thought of what would happen without insurance in this day and age is terrifying, but fortunately we have health insurance!
- Has CF forced your relationship to be stronger?
Absolutely. I mean how many guys out there have seen their girlfriend cough up mucus and then still thought, “She’s hot!” Hey look it is something that is constantly bombarding our lives so it forces us to grow stronger each day. You don’t have any other real options, we fight every day for the next day and in that struggle we grow stronger.
- What are some Funnier moments that stick out to you that would only happen to someone dating a person with CF?
Needing two gym memberships at the same time just to burn off 3000 of the 5000 calories a day we were eating to keep her healthy! People in the food service industry feared us, and rightfully so. We decimated their menus, ordered everything, it was glorious chaos!
- What is your favorite thing about your SO? (CF related or not)
Tiffany is relentless! Believe me it has its downsides, like with forcing me to listen to every Taylor Swift song ever, but also in her pursuit of her goals. Whatever she sets out to achieve, she achieves.