Real 65 : Lucas & Chrystal

Real 65 is a segment of Breathe 3-65 that is dedicated to entries and interviews sharing honest and personal experiences of living with, treating, and loving someone with Cystic Fibrosis.
It is a place for all those impacted to share their stories.


Today's meaningful entry is written by Lucas Moldenhauer, a dear friend and support to Breathe Bravely. He is graciously sharing his story of what it means to love someone with CF - his wife Chrystal,  and the beautiful meaning of her birthday. 

"Do birthdays really need to be painful after someone turns 40?

I turned 40 almost a year ago. My wife, however, can hide behind her ageless beauty. The fact that she chases our 3 year old daughter from one playground to the next with collegiate agility also helps to hide her true age.

Chrystal and I met in college. Looking back now, it seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  Chrystal had been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 3 months old. She was well accustomed to the CF curve balls, the loneliness, the marathon, the spiritual struggle of a genetic disease.  I was beginning my CF learning curve.  I can still feel that intensity, that excitement. I can remember learning to anticipate the left hook after the quick right.

Birthdays are different for everyone. For CF patients, they could be just another day of drudgery.  They could be mere painful reminders of lost time or lost friends. Birthdays could also be milestones on a unique marathon of life. When we started dating in college, we didn't know how many birthdays we would celebrate together. But on any journey in life, if you wait for all the lights to turn green before you start, you'll probably never start.

Her birthday last month found her in the hospital for an 18 day visit, in a city far from home. In fact, her hospital of choice is almost at the other end of our time zone. So while Chrystal worked hard doing her 4 long pulmonary therapies each day, listening to the drip, drip, drip of Intravenous Antibiotic Cocktails, I loaded Chrystal's therapy poodle Maggie and our daughter in the car to cross the Mississippi River and head west!  As our 3 year old daughter was practicing her "S" sound, saying MissiSHIPPi, over and over, I started contemplating some of our history with CF, and a list started to form.

You might be old with CF if you remember:

  •         The original VEST machine that actually weighed 100 pounds (and barely fit in the back of our Geo Prizm). We were so glad that each VEST got smaller and smaller. Now they weigh 18 pounds I believe.

You might be old with CF if you remember:

  •         Manual chest percussions. Chrystal and I met on college choir tours, and her close friends were the "percussion team" in the back of the bus, keeping her breathing. When Chrystal would visit my home, my mom would put on the old vinyl Godspell and we would do percussions to the melody of "Prepare Ye the Way!"  Come on now, sing it with me :)

You might be old with CF if you remember:

        Telling your friends not to bother looking up CF in the encyclopedia, because those old dusty things were so outdated they said the patient wouldn't live past 2 years of age. 

You might be old with CF if you can Not remember:

  •         How many Christmases, Easters, Thanksgiving feasts, birthday parties, Family vacations had to be missed because of an urgent hospital stay.

You might be old with CF if you can Not remember:

  •         How many talented, selfless, dedicated, professional doctors, nurses, aides were there during Christmas, Easter, and summer vacation, to give their best care.

They say, you are only old if your list of regrets outnumber your list of dreams.  I believe that's true and that turning 40 can be just as exciting as 18.  When Chrystal and I started dating, we had no idea the huge advancements that were just around the corner.  I believe the future for CF care is more exciting now than ever.

Thanks for being part of the CF community. I can't wait to hear your stories of how CF has improved your perspective on life."

- About Today's Contributor - 

Lucas Moldenhauer loves to travel, encourage, inspire, discover and connect. He and Chrystal got married over 15 years ago while obtaining his Masters. Leaving a legacy for their 3-year-old daughter is important to him.  He aspires to mow many acres of grass with herds of buffalo. 



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Disclaimer: The writings and postings of Breathe 3-65 are a reflection of the personal opinions, experiences, and knowledge of the contributing author. Breathe Bravely is not liable for the statements and personal opinions shared. The material of Breathe 3-65 is provided with the best intention and great care is taken to share information from credible sources. However, the content shared on this blog is not medical advice and is not under any condition a substitute for the medical advice provided by your medical providers. Please consult your care team before making any changes or additions to your current CF treatment plan.