I am the mom of a 10 year old son with Cystic Fibrosis (Ty) and an 11 year old son without CF (Bran). This is my journey as I balance Ty's needs while giving Bran the love and attention he deserves.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What about the healthy child?

Brandon is my 10 year old (going on 30!).  He pretty much stays healthy all the time.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I took him to the doctor for being sick.  It was probably back in the toddler years.

I have taught Bran from a very early age to be independent and responsible. As a single mom I had my hands full with just managing Ty's CF.

As Bran gets older he makes it known that he is still a member of this family. A big one for Bran is that I need to spend time with him because I spent the day with Ty at the CF clinic.

As a general rule, Bran gets why I focus so much attention on Ty but that doesn't mean he has to like it.  (He just whispered to Tyler to get started on his medicine before I start yelling. Ha! Ha!).  We acknowledge and address his feelings and I encourage him to have an open dialogue with me about what its like to be the "healthy child" in a CF family.

Recently we were in the hospital for more than a week and it really hit home for Bran. He genuinely missed his brother and was quite concerned about his health. He even told me that he felt bad for Ty having to get so many shots.

I'll leave you with a perspective from someone who has CF and mentions how it must have affected her "healthy" brother growing up (Check out Stacey Bene's Confessions of a Cyster):

One thing that still makes me sad about this period of time is all of the time my stupid disease stole from my brothers life...this equated to him being unintentionally ignored much of the time. Everybody always said how great Jason was at entertaining himself. Honestly, I don't think he had a choice. There was only so much attention to go around. My parents did nothing wrong...I just took a lot of time and attention to care for... Honestly, it must have really sucked for him :-(
 Now its your turn, tell us how you deal with the issues that come with having both a healthy child(ren) and sick one(s).


  1. Thanks so much for sharing! Just to brother never complained. To this day I know he is not resentful. He just knew that's how it had to be. On a positive note, I think it made him a more loving and compassionate person in the end!

  2. I WAS the healthy child growing up. My younger sister was the one with CF. Now, I'm 26 and she is 22, and even now it's not really any easier. But, I've grown to accept it more. So, oddly enough, as a 26-year old, I can say that I can relate to Brandon. I was always torn between wishing it wasn't my sister, wishing I could take it for, but yet being glad that it's not me, wanting to speak up and say "Hey, what about me?" but yet knowing that that's kind of selfish. I'm glad that Brandon feels like he can come to discuss his feelings about it with you. I never felt that way with my Mom. Just goes to show that you are doing something right!

  3. Just wanted to say welcome to the Blogging World! I have a 6 1/2 year old son with CF, and a 5 year old daughter, without. Your boys are adorable.

    My daughter misses her brother while we are in the hospital, but, we found an awesome family to watch her (Azer's Kindergarten teacher, couldn't ask for anything better!). She actually got excited at the last admission. She has become more independent than my son, possibly because she was required to.

  4. I look back now and feel bad for my sister. My parents were married at the time. When I was sick my mom would always come with me (dad can't do hospitals he almost passed out once from the PICC), and that left my dad with my sister. He would always try and take her to do cool things or let her stay with friends or whatever -over indulgence wasn't the answer either. But she really craved the bond my sister and I had, and she still doesn't have. My mom tried but my sister just has up this wall.

    My sister was always the healthy one too. Until our teens years -then she really started acting out. She would make up health things wrong with her or get in trouble with the law just for attention. She is better now -but thats b/c she really does have some medical issue now and she has a better understanding and regrets how she acted.

    Being a parent is a HARD job, whether its to the CFer or the non-CFer.


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