It sucks. And I wasn’t even the parent.
My nephew, Tyler has Cystic Fibrosis, an unfortunate disease that has no cure. It sucks, too. Last week he had to go into the hospital for some IV antibiotics for 5 days. You see, people with CF have a hard time getting rid of bacteria that most others don’t even realize we have. If it isn’t kicked out of his system it would do serious lung damage. So into the hospital he went.
He stayed on a floor at Children’s Hospital with other kids getting IV treatments, anything from what he was getting to Chemo. Going to that hospital every day for 5 days, let me tell you, this is when things got real. I can’t speak for my sister or brother-in-law, I’m sure his disease has been real from the start for them. What with the myriad of pills he takes every day and twice-a-day vest treatments. But for me, as his aunt, it started now. With his first hospital stay.
Let me tell you about Tyler.
Tyler is 7 years old and about as cool as they come. He’s tall and blonde with a splash of freckles across his cheeks and nose. He’s musical, very musical. Yesterday in church we sang the song “Days of Elijah” and he looked at me and said “You know I’m gonna go crazy.” If he were to stick with the piano he’d probably be better then me in a year when I took lessons for 8 or 9 years. A point on which I’m a little jealous. He can sing. He has mad skills on the dance floor. He denies it, but he likes Justin Beiber. I’ve been told he has a gaggle of 7 year old girls following him around school. He’s loving and caring (except when I say he likes pink, then he gets a little rude. . .) and it’s obvious that he loves God. He can and will make friends with anybody, even the older kids on the playground that try their hardest to ignore him. In Ben’s words, “He’s the best cousin in the world”.
After all of those things comes the fact that Tyler has Cystic Fibrosis. It in no way defines him. He doesn’t let it. He went into this hospital stay excited for a vacation. He does his treatments, walks around with this annoying port in his arm for the medication, like it’s nothing. And maybe it is for a kid whose been doing this his whole life, I don’t know. But to everyone around him, Ty is an inspiration. He doesn’t let it get him down. He goes on with his life.
Tyler is one of my heros. It’s from him that I’ve learned that crap happens to you. You get dealt a bad hand. Life doesn’t always go as planned. But it does go on so you might as well live it up.
I’m hoping and praying he keeps this positive attitude going forward. There will be more rough times, more hospital stays. But he will always be one of the coolest kids I know. Even if he likes Justin Beiber.