Give Yourself a Fighting Chance

Hello my friends. If you are reading this I just want to say thank you for checking it out. This is my first blog post which is exciting! I hope this post inspires you to never give up when times get tough. We all have obstacles in life that we must face. Some people experience more hardships than others. It’s just the reality of life. The most important thing you can do when faced with a challenge is to keep pushing through. Don’t quit and don’t give up. Your life is to meaningful to just throw in the towel. At least give yourself a fighting chance. I did and I’m healthier and happier than ever.

Living With CF

You see, I was born with Cystic Fibrosis. In short, CF is a genetic disease that mainly affects the lungs and digestive system. Thick, sticky mucus builds up in the lungs and clogs the airways. It causes frequent lung infections which scar and damage the lung tissue over time. Those of us with CF have to take many pills on a daily basis, as well as, do breathing treatments regularly. Today’s life expectancy is near 40. Yes, as you can tell, it’s a scary progressive illness that takes the lives of many way too soon.

Growing up I was very active in sports. I began doing breathing treatment’s around 7 or 8 years old because that’s when they were made available to the CF population. I was pretty healthy as a kid and even a young teenager. It wasn’t until my late teens when I really started experiencing health problems. Most of the problems were caused from my own doing. Simply put, I wasn’t taking care of myself and I was an alcoholic. Literally, from 17-23 years of age, I was drinking 5-6 days a week to the point of blacking out most times. I was a party animal. I made partying my number one priority. My health on the other hand, that took a backseat.

The Wrong Direction

You could say I enjoyed partying, but there was more to it. I was sad, hurt, depressed, angry and an emotional wreck. I was struggling mentally with everything I had to deal with on a daily basis. I was masking my undiagnosed at the time, anxiety and depression, with alcohol. Later on in life I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which also played a role in my alcoholism. However, all of this partying would soon start to get the better of me. Between 20-23 years of age my health was starting to head in the wrong direction. I was hospitalized five times due to lung function decline. It felt like the hospital was becoming my second home. I was always sick and had no energy. I would cough all the time. I wasn’t doing my treatments or exercising as much as I should have. Everything seemed to be going horribly wrong. Yes, it was all my fault.

Found My Way

Twenty three was a tough age for me. I was dealing with my own issues. My health was slowly deteriorating. My father passed away from alcoholism. I gained custody of my nephew. Luckily, I had family and an amazing girlfriend (now wife) to pull me through. At 23, I made the decision to put partying on the back-burner and make my health my number one priority. Why? Because I knew that if I continued on the path I was on, I wouldn’t survive another five years. I wanted to live. I was sick of being sick. I was sick of the hospital stays. I wanted to be healthy and be able to breathe. I wanted to be around for as long as possible for my family and friends. I wanted to show that CF can’t beat me. Also, truth be told, I was scared of what the future held for me.   

Since then, I have made fitness my lifestyle. It’s a routine that I’ve made part of my life on a daily basis. I also began doing my treatments religiously. I have only been hospitalized one time in the past nine years. That hospitalization was due to catching a bad cold. Fitness changed my life. It’s done so much good for me. I am healthy. I am happy. It’s my coping mechanism for CF and OCD. I have tons of energy. I look good. I’ll be 32 in just a few weeks and I still have normal lung function (knock on wood).  I also get to share my love for fitness with others and help others live healthier lives.

I could have easily continued on the wrong path, but I chose not to. I decided to face this challenge head on and work my way through it. I am not the type to throw in the towel and give up. You shouldn’t be either. Your life is too precious and meaningful to just quit. Fitness is part of my everyday life now. It has changed me for the better. Without it, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this for you. 

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Bradley Poole

An ultra runner and gym owner, Bradley’s life-long battle with Cystic Fibrosis and mental health has fueled his passion to not only share his story with others like him, but to inspire and encourage them to take back control of their life so they can become the best possible version of themselves.

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