Sarah Rusnell was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was an infant. We met Sarah through Rock CF, a Care+Wear partner, when she was running one of their many road races to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. Sarah regularly receives treatment through a PICC line to maintain her lung health. Below she shares her story of how she keeps her active lifestyle while in treatment. Thank you for sharing!
Hello, my name is Sarah Rusnell. I am 32 years old and live in mid-Michigan with my husband, Nick. I have an incredibly full and unique life. I love horseback riding, fishing and running. In addition to my passions, I live every day with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).
CF is a recessive, genetically inherited disease. A defective gene causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. Namely, this mucus causes persistent lung infections by clogging the airways and trapping bacteria in the lungs. The disease progressively limits the ability to breathe over time due to extensive lung damage from infections. There is no cure for CF; the outcome is respiratory failure. Life expectancy is 40 years of age in the U.S.
I was diagnosed with CF at 3 months of age. Every day I treat CF with 2 hours of inhaled medications and physical therapy to keep my lungs as clear as possible and keep the bacteria under control. I also try to exercise as much as possible to maintain and improve my lung function. Horseback riding and running are my preferred methods of cardio!
When I experience an exacerbation of CF symptoms, I am hospitalized. The treatment is increased physical therapy and a combination of high powered intravenous antibiotics to treat the out of control bacteria. I get a PICC line to deliver my medication. The treatment can last anywhere from 14-21 days. Often, I finish my treatment outpatient – returning to work and my activities.
Once I am in outpatient mode, I want to get back to living my life. It’s very important to me to be able to resume my responsibilities and passions while I am still undergoing intravenous treatment. I recently discovered Care+Wear’s PICC Line Cover thru one of their partners and my favorite organization, Rock CF.
Some of the things I love about Care+Wear’s PICC Line Cover design are:
- Light compression allows for securing my PICC line’s lumens and tubing. This allows me to remain self-sufficient on the go without worrying about snagging long extension lines or getting queasy when the external PICC line shifts around.
- All the colors! You can coordinate or conceal; flaunt it or hide it. Some days we don’t mind identifying as a “sick” person; some days we just want to be like everyone else. The ability to take control of this decision is liberating.
- It’s also Antimicrobial for 100 washes, durable and safe. You can wash it with your regular laundry and you don’t have to worry about it harboring bacteria. An investment worth making!
Living with CF is a marathon not a sprint, but we have to take it one step at a time. It is so nice to find a company that thinks of the day-to-day struggles of having a chronic illness and works to make life easier for patients in a subtle but profound way. It’s the little things, like a PICC Line Cover, that can change your perspective, give you more control and help you get back to normal faster.