When Justin was born I was as excited as a sister could possibly be.  I had waited seven long years to have a younger sibling...and now I finally had one. Justin acted just like a normal baby, laughing and crying and being adorable.  But he wasn't a normal baby.  He had a terrible disease and nobody knew it.  In fact, we didn't find out that he had cystic fibrosis until four years after he was born. 

During the first few weeks of his diagnosis, things were really scary for me. My whole life changed eight hours after my brother was given a sweat test (this is a test that pretty much diagnoses cystic fibrosis).  Justin was whisked off to the hospital the day after Christmas for two weeks. 

Let me tell you, it's pretty hard to have only half your family around for two weeks. It was also hard to spend my whole weekend at the hospital seeing my tiny brother with a needle stuck in his arm (actually it was an IV and it probably didn't bother him nearly as much as it did me).

The few weeks after Justin got home, my life changed drastically. We could no longer just run out to the store, because Justin had to get  his treatment done or take his medicine.  Justin was always getting  things because evryone felt bad for him.  I began to envy him, and I even wished that I had the disease so people would pay attention to me. 

I got over a lot of my jealousy when I learned about how much medicine he has to take and what he has to go through to stay healthy. I began to look up to him because he was so brave. 

Today about four years after he was diagnosed, Justin is a happy six-year-old who loves to annoy his sister!  He hasn't been hospitalized for almost two years and we are all very happy about that. Did you know that every day, the scientists get closer to finding the cure for CF? When they do, my little brother's future will be looking very bright!

Thanks for visiting my page!  Jessica

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004