Parenting a child with cystic fibrosis during a global pandemic


Forward of 65 Roses Working day, Claire Merrigan writes about her encounter of parenting a kid with cystic fibrosis and autism throughout a world wide pandemic.

We are the Merrigans: a family members of 4 (effectively five, when you contain our beautiful doggy Rambo). I am Claire, or as Mason likes to connect with me, Mommy. Stephen is Daddy, significant sister is Holly, who is 13, and Mason is the infant of the residence who is now in double digits, 10-decades-old – or as he would say, two numbers!

Mason was born with cystic fibrosis (CF). He was diagnosed at a few weeks old on December 21, 2011, via the new child screening programme at Tallaght Nationwide Kid’s Hospital. He was really sick as a little one owing to other difficulties, primary to him needing a feeding tube at 4 months’ outdated. To this day, he still calls it “Peggy”. This designed a big big difference and served Mason get power by attaining weight.

At 4 decades aged, Mason was identified with autism. This was followed, at 6 decades outdated, with a prognosis of cystic fibrosis-linked diabetes, which would demand him to consider insulin. This was on my 40th birthday which also occurs to be Halloween, which also occurs to be his favourite holiday getaway. So, we continue to celebrated.

Obtaining another diagnosis for Mason was so tough. I cried my coronary heart out. With that remaining mentioned, both equally Stephen and I completely supported just about every other and generally positioned relevance on conversing by way of anything. We usually say we get our toughness from Mason. He experienced such a anxiety of needles, or sharpies as he phone calls them, but took obtaining insulin injections every day in his stride and usually with that massive beautiful smile and massive eyes on the lookout up at us. How could you not get power and hope?

So, following Halloween and a 40th getaway that had been planned, we bought on with putting a new program in put for Mason’s desires.

Mason is on a great deal of everyday medications to preserve him effectively. Some are by means of his tube but he can take 30 as well as capsules a working day, 4 nebulisers, and has upper body physio. He is now down to 4 right away tube feeds – from seven nights – to attempt to regulate his diabetes.

All that staying reported, Mason is the most lovable, happy very little boy. Perfectly, not that “minor” any longer as he is catching up with his large sister, Holly.

Incredibly early on in our lives of CF and autism, we made the decision it was incredibly significant that we devote as a lot time to Holly also. We required, like each individual other loved ones, to stability our time in between both equally young children. Holly really endured with separation anxiousness when she was very younger as I experienced to go away to expend a lot of time with Mason in healthcare facility.

We made a decision sports could definitely assist her. At the age of 4, she joined the regional camogie club, where I am camogie chairperson and co-take care of the beneath 14 team. Her group won the U14 county final in 2020 and I was so happy of her. She has also performed GAA football and soccer from a young age.

It truly is with the aid of these clubs and local community, as effectively as lifelong pals, that have introduced Holly on so considerably and presented me an outlet also. She also acquired a GAA athletics scholarship forward of coming into her secondary college and she has lately extra basketball to her record of sporting pursuits.

Throughout Covid moments, our family’s plan was break up in 50 percent as we tried our most effective to guard Mason but also to permit Holly proceed with her sports activities. I would do all the athletics with Holly although Stephen stayed at dwelling with Mason. He is effective nights which authorized us to to control this split agenda. Any time Holly has a match, no make any difference the sport, when we go out the door, Mason usually shouts “Rating goals, Holly!” even nevertheless in most athletics she is a midfield player!

With a pandemic, it can be so challenging on a household who has a vulnerable youngster or particular person in their home as all your concentration goes on defending them at all expenditures. Mason was much too youthful to get a vaccine until finally this 12 months, so that meant he skipped a large amount of university. The good thing is, his instructors have been so good with Zoom calls and get the job done packs and we feel truly fortunate to have these types of a supportive university in Educate Jointly.

A person issue that truly aided though we experienced to cocoon was a household gymnasium which we designed in our again backyard with the guidance of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and the regional group. We have used it so a lot for Mason’s physio. Nicely, when I say “we”, I mean Stephen, Mason and Holly. Stephen writes up physical exercise programmes for Mason in a minor reserve with stickers on every single site as Mason is a extremely visible learner.

It has been so required to maintain Mason balanced in these pretty scary periods. Which is why it is crucial to help Cystic Fibrosis Ireland which truly helps family members like us everyday. With no the aid of its training or PPE grants, we just would not have been capable to manage a Home Fitness center. We seriously sense so lucky to have this kind of an astounding group of pals and relatives who are usually there to aid also.

I definitely struggled to publish this posting mainly because it has been a tough time for our family members but there is finally some hope on the horizon with Mason now getting fully vaccinated. He is again in college total-time, which he loves, as he has the most incredible, supportive close friends in his course, as effectively as his excellent particular requirements assistant and teachers.

I not too long ago begun again operating aspect-time in Elverys Sporting activities in Gorey Searching Centre which I under no circumstances considered would be possible. Sad to say, there is however no remedy for cystic fibrosis, on the other hand, with the new medication, Kaftrio, coming really quickly for Mason, it offers us so considerably hope for the potential.

I will be in Gorey Browsing Centre this Friday April 8 as section of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s 65 Roses Working day charm. If you are in the neighbourhood, make positive to say good day. I genuinely do want to thank you for taking the time to go through about our family. We couldn’t do what we do without the assist of our broader family, our friends and you.

Make sure you guidance Cystic Fibrosis Ireland this 65 Roses Day, Friday 8th April, by having element in a 65 Roses Obstacle, donating on-line at or purchasing a purple rose in taking part Dunnes Suppliers, purchasing centres and other retailers nationwide.


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