'I was 12 years old when I learned how to do the physio by myself' 

Lauren talks about living with cystic fibrosis and how she doesn't let it stop her from doing the things she loves

"Cystic fibrosis stops me from going out with friends sometimes and from doing sports, because it makes me cough a lot.

"I also have to go to doctors' appointments and to hospital when I’d rather be with my friends doing social things. It can get a bit annoying at times.

"My personal symptoms include coughing, wheezing and being unable to do things that I normally could do if I wasn’t ill. For example, if I was coughing a lot, then I couldn’t do any sports or dancing because it would make me more productive, which means bringing up lots of phlegm and isn't very nice. Sometimes it makes me sick in front of my friends, which can be embarrassing.

"My treatments include medication, or I have antibiotics through a needle in my hand or Port-A-Cath, which is a piece of metal under the skin. I also have inhalers and physiotherapy twice a day, which helps stop me getting bugs and brings up all the nasty stuff that can do my body harm.

"I was 12 years old when I learned how to do my physio by myself properly. I also learned how to use my inhalers and the Positive Expiratory Pressure (PEP) mask. My mum taught me how to do it. I think it was easier for her to teach me than a doctor because she has been with me the whole way through.

There isn't a proper age for people with cystic fibrosis to start learning their own treatments, just when they feel confident. It’s important that people learn to manage their own treatment. It makes you feel more independent and happy that you’re not relying on somebody else.

"Having cystic fibrosis doesn’t stop me from doing everything I want to do, but when I’m unwell, it can stop me from swimming and dancing. When I’m well, I can do anything that someone who doesn’t have cystic fibrosis can do. I love to dance and sing, and I want to be an actress or dancer in musicals.

"When I’m unwell, I always try to have something to aim for. When I’m in hospital and can’t go out for a few days, I always plan something nice so that I have something to look forward to when I come out. You can fight anything bad that comes along when there's something positive at the end."

Page last reviewed: 21/03/2016

Next review due: 31/12/2018