An Interview with Nancy Stone, 77 years with Cystic FibrosisPosted on July 9, 2018

In the 1700's Cystic Fibrosis was not a commonly known disease. In fact, the only link between the disease and diagnosis involved kissing a child's forehead to see if it tasted salty. If it did, there was a large possibility that he/she would not live much longer. Fast-forward to the 1930's, CF began to be recorded, but misdiagnosis was frequent as CF was often confused with other respiratory problems such as pneumonia. Through a progression of new findings and pioneers in research in the 60's, parents of children with CF and those outliving the disease into adulthood began organizations to raise funds for CF research. At this time, CF was still in its early stages of understanding, which meant many children often went undiagnosed.

In this era, we find Nancy Stone in her early 20's being recently diagnosed with CF after finding out her two brothers also had the disease. Today, the average life expectancy for a CF patient is approximately 45 years of age. Nancy is now 77. While growing up in Wisconsin, she would often travel to Colorado on family trips, which contributed to her choice of attending the University of Colorado.  It was there that she applied her athletic skills and experience racing with her two older brothers, by joining the University's ski racing team.

CF has not hindered her ability to be active and to live in locations with higher altitude.  Although she does cough more often, she also feels that the higher altitude has helped her feel better.  So much so, that she recently made the permanent move to Colorado - a move that allows her to be close to her daughter and granddaughter.

Her proudest achievement has been getting her degree in speech pathology and being able to work at a public university for the past 35 years. Speech pathology is something she feels helps her serve others, primarily children.  While working in a public university and having CF has its challenges, she doesn't get a lot of questions about her disease or asked why she coughs so often, but is very open with her students if they do ask questions.

Nancy attributes her good quality of life to having a positive attitude and following her heart - her positive attitude has gotten her through the ups and downs of cystic fibrosis. She encourages others with CF to join support groups and to lean on family and friends to get through the tough days.

 

 

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