Why start a blog at this point in your life Fanny (third-person references add dramatic flare, no?)? Good question. I was just watching a riveting episode of “Let’s Make a Deal” when I thought “STOP THE MADNESS! WHAT A STUPID DECISION!” and then I laughed at myself: is this really all there is to my life now? I mean, Wayne Brady is funny and all, but I have such a higher purpose and I know it. I can achieve so much … and I can fit a bit of Wayne Brady in along the ride.

Welcome. My name’s Fanny (yes, that’s my legal name). I’ve kind of grown up with the local notoriety of Madonna or Beyonce so I don’t need a last name (and with a name like “Fanny” is it really necessary anyway?). This is my first blog entry – ever, about anything. Not sure how I will achieve my objective or how it’ll be received but I know what it is I want to convey: in part, that everyone has a story. Everyone is 2 people:

1) who they portray themselves to be to others (public self), and

2) who they really are (real self)

So you can’t judge anyone because you don’t really know what’s going on behind the proverbial scenes.

In that vein, I don’t want to live in that grey-social media- persona- state-of-being-perfect all the time. Sure, I like nice things, who doesn’t? But the pics I post of me and my family and friends in designer clothes, hair, makeup done, blinged out, smiling and laughing is exhausting (although I do smile and laugh a lot; I’m a pretty fun/ny gal). Breaking news: I don’t normally hang out in Louboutins with diamonds on, my hair did and a designer dress on (but I do look good when I am, right? RIGHT?!?! I’m looking for confirmation here people!!). And don’t trust those people that want you to believe all they do is vacation and hang out like that.

But what about when all my hair fell out? Or when you could count my ribs because I lost so much weight? Or when I couldn’t even laugh because I couldn’t muster up enough energy? Or when I have tubes sticking out of every part of my body feeding me, breathing for me, draining me, sustaining me? I sure can make some of those moments look glamorous. And yes, you read right: those aren’t hypothetical situations. If I could summarize my truth in one paragraph, here it is:

I was born with cystic fibrosis but not very many people knew at all because I was asymptomatic most of my life; it never really impacted my life experiences though (I had a great childhood). I graduated from 2 law schools, I fell in love with my best friend (no, not my childhood female best friend, although I do love you honey J ), moved to Chicago, got married and got pregnant shortly thereafter (potent little buggers!). Everything was perfect, until my 2nd trimester when I started experiencing difficulty breathing and caught pneumonia. I delivered my son after carrying him to full term, naturally, in July of 2011 (happiest day of my life) and by October of 2011 I was on oxygen full time at 10L/min because my lungs were irreparably damaged and failing. March 16, 2012 I was officially placed on the waiting list for a double lung transplant. May 29, 2012 I received a life-saving double lung transplant at Loyola University Medical Center – I wouldn’t have made it much longer had I not. I have since dealt with A LOT of transplant/medication induced complications and continue to fight for the life I deserve, but more importantly, for the life my husband and son deserve. My baby is the reason I BREATHE (don’t take that simple function for granted).

PHEW!!! Do you know how long I’ve been waiting to shout that from the social media mountain tops?! There. I’m sure there will be a lot of whispers and messages between acquaintances (“did you know?”, “she looks ok”, “I can’t believe it, she masks it so well”). I’m here to tell you I’m not masking it anymore and neither should you. Now, obviously I’m not assuming you’ve endured the same difficulties as me by addressing the VERY niche market of CF’ers or those who have endured a lung transplant; I want to spread a universal message of acceptance and value regardless of the insecurities you have due to your own hardships and perceived flaws. There will always be people to have something to say (especially about me because I’m a character!). There will always be people who judge me and you (whether it’s negative or positive) but here’s my thought process…WHO CARES?! (I know, I know… how eloquent and thought provoking of me, right?!).

Whether you like what I have to say, or not, please be advised that my perspective is framed differently than most others. It’s neither good nor bad; it’s just my own and I claim it. So don’t treat me, my husband, my son, my family or any of my close loved ones any differently because of said perspective. Please feel free to ask me questions, express your concerns, offer your opinion…whatever. Just don’t approach me any differently than you would have yesterday.  I don’t accept sympathy very well and  I don’t expect to be given any allowances because all of a sudden I’m considered “fragile” and “sick” by those who didn’t know any better before reading this. I’m neither of those things.  So, I’m using this platform to spread my message but also to provide social commentary (because there aren’t enough blogs out there now that do, right?!). And yes, it may be colorful at times, but hey…would this entire endeavor be interesting if it wasn’t?

I just hope this little glimpse into my story has given you pause; maybe all the effort we put into our ‘image’ isn’t worth it. We all mask who we really are to some degree, so maybe, just maybe…the real ‘you’ is enough. It has been a long time coming and a very difficult process, but I’m beginning to accept that the ‘real me’ is more than enough. I’m fan-frickin-tastic, not despite everything, but because of everything (and humble too, did I mention humble?!). Stay tuned…in the meantime, just breathe.