Book Jacket


rank 523
word count 55386
date submitted 01.06.2010
date updated 01.06.2010
genres: Non-fiction
classification: moderate

Carry Me Gently: My Life with Cystic Fibrosis

Debra Mattson

Carry Me Gently explores life with a chronic illness--the dread, anger, denial and ultimately, the joy of being alive.


Carry Me Gently: My Life with Cystic Fibrosis is a work of creative non-fiction that is not sappy or sentimental but explores the topics of disease, death and dying with brutal honesty. It is filled with humour and wit, joy and the epiphanies that come with realizing life is worth living, despite chronic illness. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and pancreas. The average age of survival is 35.

The first section is told in the third person as “the girl” is diagnosed with a chronic illness at the age of five. Her memories are of a frightening hospital, absent parents and adjustment to a “looming” diagnosis. The second section is told in the first person and examines life growing up with the knowledge that I have a chronic illness, acutely aware of my mortality. The third section is a dream-like examination of what it might be like to die and coming to terms with the fact that there is still much life to live. This is not a book about disease, but rather, a book about a life worth living.

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chronic disease, cystic fibrosis, death, dying

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    “Hi, my name’s Clayton and I’m calling about the CF support group.”  He says, after I pick up the phone, breathless from vacuuming.

    “Oh great, yes, well, you’re the first person to call.  Great.” I respond.

    “So, how old are you?”  This question is OK in CF land.

    “I’m 25.  How old are you?”

    “I’m 37.” He says.

    “Wow.  That’s great, how’s your health?” I ask.

    “I’m on oxygen but I’m not on the transplant list yet.  I don’t get out much.” He says.

    “Well, I’m not sure how this is going to work, but, do you want to get together, just for coffee or something?” I ask.

    “Are you cepacia positive?”  He asks.

    “What’s that?”

    “The bacteria.”

    “I don’t know, what is it?”

    “Well, if you don’t know then you probably don’t have it.  It’s a nasty bacterium that I can’t catch from anyone right now, in case I have to get on the transplant list.  They won’t transplant cepacia positive people.”

    “I’ll ask my doctor.  I don’t even know, sorry.”

    “Yeah, ask your doctor and then we’ll get together if you aren’t cepacia positive.” 

Foolishly, shamefully, I realize I don’t even know about these bacteria.  What’s he talking about?  Do I have it?  Will I get it?  Is it killing me?  I phone my doctor and ask him and he tells me that I don’t have it.  There are three main bacteria that CF people grow in the lungs:

    PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA [phonetic]:  Is the epitome of an opportunistic pathogen of humans.  It almost never infects uncompromised tissues yet there is hardly any tissue that it cannot affect, of the tissue defenses are compromised in some manner.  The bacteria are common inhabitants of soil and water. 

    BURKHOLDERIA CEPACIA [phonetic]:  A bacteria whose natural habitants are river sediments and the moist area of soil around the roots of plants.  Has an uncanny ability to survive in hostile environments.  Cepacia syndrome is a very abrupt deterioration with sever disease and even death occurring within several months of acquisition.  This type of unexpected deterioration which sometimes involves spread of Burkholderia cepacia into the patient's bloodstream causes rapid fatal deterioration within months. 

    They all grow in our lungs and cause the infections.  Some of them you can get rid of with antibiotics.  But cepacia is nasty.  It’s resistant to many different antibiotics and sometimes, once you have it, it can cause quick and fatal decline.  They call it Cepacia Syndrome.  People without CF can grow it too but it doesn’t affect them; and a CF person can transmit it to non-CF people without any effect on them.  But cross-infections in the CF population are a no-no. 

    Slowly but surely cepacia begins to take over the CF community.  Summer camp, cancelled, too many chances of transmission (don’t sleep in the same room without ventilation, don’t share medical equipment especially face masks, don’t exchange saliva); national meetings of the foundation segregated, with cepacia at one table, non cepacia at another table; then eventually cepacia positive people banned entirely “as per the new policy.” At the international CF meetings, cepacia positive people are banned from attending (they have to show up with a lab test taken within 15 days of the meeting proving that you are cepacia free or you will not be allowed to enter). 

    You are told not to touch each other, remember to wash your hands after you cough, remember to cough into a Kleenex and then put the Kleenex in the paper bag provided at meetings, remember to use antibacterial hand wash if possible.  Meetings now held half in person, half by conference call so the cepacia positive people can participate.  Err on the side of caution; make sure that everyone is safe.











    Luvies and I go to Clayton’s house, after we establish that I am cepacia negative.  He has a big screen TV (like a mini movie theatre) and a big stereo and his hard-working nurse wife is there and he’s sucking on oxygen and we watch a Bruce Willis movie and my nerves are shot. 

    I know I should be relaxing, enjoying the visit, the fruit juice and homemade cookies but my heart is racing, my thoughts are exploding.

    Is that what it will be like for me?  On oxygen 24 hours a day?

    How does his wife feel right now?   

    How long will he live?

    Does he go out of the house with oxygen on?  I wouldn’t.

    What did he do before all this?   

    Is he depressed?

    Is this freaking Luvies out, seeing a guy with CF like this?

    Does he hate me because I’m healthy?

    Is this my fate, then, have I looked it in the face?

    It’s a polite visit.  There is no spark.  Clayton’s old compared to us.  Clayton’s closer to dying compared to us.  There is no spark.  We don’t choose the same movies. We can’t go hiking together. 





    Months later, I am a busy volunteer. I’m the Publicity Chair for the local CF chapter but I’m also Western Canadian Regional Representative for CF adults on the national CF adult committee, part of the Canadian CF Foundation.  I’m attending Annual General Meetings all over Canada—places like Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg.  My job is to tell the foundation what concerns CF adults in my region so that as a national committee with a newsletter for CF adults and with three yearly meetings and with the guidance of the foundation, as a committee we can fight for what CF adults need.  We can write letters to the government, make presentations to health care professionals, share our stories with the CF community.  I’m an advocate now.  I am known as “someone to speak to” if there is a problem. 

    For my first meeting as Regional Rep I conduct a survey.  I want to impress the committee members, to let them know that they made the right choice when they selected me for the position, in competition with others. 

    I carefully prepare survey questions and set out the results in Excel with a lovely pie chart about what concerns CF adults in my region most.  I send the questions out by mail and I make some phone calls. 

    Eventually I call Clayton to ask him, and I hear a faint, tired, raspy hello and I say, “Hi Clayton, how are you?”

    “OK.” Faint, tired, raspy.

    “I’m calling to find out what you’re most concerned about as a CF adult in BC so that I can present these concerns to the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the next meeting.  Do you have a moment?”


    “How are your lungs?”

    “Not good.”

    “Oh, sorry to bother you.” And I hang up.

    Just like that.  Cowardly bitch.  I hanged up on Clayton, dying Clayton, maybe he died that day, maybe he died knowing that I hanged up on him ‘cause I couldn’t handle hearing his faint, raspy, tired voice talking about his poor lungs. 
Because I felt ashamed that I called him to ask him about a fucking survey when he was dying.  What the fuck are you concerned about Clayton?  Could it be your impending death, leaving behind your wife and the house, and your parents and your friends and all the dreams you thought about, and all the hopes you had?  I’ll put 80% for hope in the pie chart and 20% for dreams and then that’ll be that ‘because the pie chart is full so you can’t have any other concerns, ok?

    Stupid bitch.

    If I had it to do over again, I would have said, “Clayton, God, I’m really sorry that you’re not doing so well and I really wish I could do something, is there anything that I can do? Can I come over and sit with you, read to you, put in a Bruce Willis video for you, help your wife pick up the groceries? What the fuck can I do for you?”





    Collette’s the other person who responded to my request for a Circle of Chattering Cystics support group.  Two people.  We’re a quiet bunch, we CF adults.  Collette and I are fast friends—lunches, walks, phone calls.  But there’s always a tension between us.  Between the healthy one and the not-so-healthy one.  I feel ashamed that I’m so healthy and imagine her feeling jealous of me for being this way.  I shrink away from her sometimes, thinking that maybe my energy drains her of her own—depresses her, reminds her of “what could have been.”  I shrink away from her and try to pretend I know how she feels but that’s dishonest because I don’t.  And being dishonest is worse than being in denial.

    Colette is my first CF adult friend to go into the hospital.  The day I visit her there it’s a sunny day—warm autumn breezes blow over still silvery-green leaves.  I have never visited a friend in the hospital before.  I’ve visited my Daddy and my relatives, but never a friend.  Friends aren’t usually in the hospital.  Friends are young and healthy and unless they’ve broken a leg they spend very little time ‘inside.’  But I am here because I had called and left her a message about getting together and she called to tell me that she was in the hospital, not doing so well. 

    I come armed with cookies and a paperback, hoping to provide some joy to this joyless place.  A hospital is a place of trouble.  Yes, there’s hope and miracles, but generally it’s a place of trouble.  I sense this trouble when I walk on the floor.  How many people are dying? How many people are not going to make it to the next day?  Who just died, right now? And now? 

    Colette’s father has arrived from England.  Had I known then what I know now I would have known that this was bad news in itself.  She warned me that he is an old-fashioned; wear your school uniform type with a yearning for arguments.  He believes that employers should hire the best-dressed person, not necessarily the person with the most qualifications. He believes in things like women not working and children only speaking when they’re spoken to. 

    She looks a little pale, but no worse than anyone else with a ‘flu.’  She’s sitting up, not particularly short of breath and engaged in conversation with us both.  There isn’t much I can do to make her feel better though, aside from saying ‘well, I’m sure you’ll be out of here soon’ and passing her a cookie.  I don’t remember what her father said, but I challenged him on something and we sparred a little, lightly, I think I did it mostly for Colette—thinking that if she had enough energy she would have sparred too. 

    Our visit doesn’t last too long, partly because I didn’t want to bother her too much and partly because I didn’t want to spend too much time with her father.  While I’m leaving I promise her that I’ll visit again.  I’m glad that I went, despite how much I didn’t want to visit the hospital.  How much I didn’t want to see what my fate held for me.  How much I didn’t want to think that Colette might not leave the hospital this time. 

    Before long, she calls to tell me not to visit again—that she’s really tired and she’ll call me when she gets out.  So I am released from the duty of visiting a friend in the hospital, sick with CF.   I am released from the boredom of sitting in that room, with dull colours and antiseptic smells.  I am free to continue to try to believe that none of this will happen to me. 

    Had I known then what I know now I would have known that when Colette asked me not to come to visit her again, she was asking me to say goodbye. 

           So I stay away, for her sake.  And I stay away, for my sake too I’m sure.  I pity her and I feel ashamed to admit that.  And she tells me not to bother visiting her in the hospital, it’s OK, she’d rather just be alone and I understand and respect her request.

    I found out she died from her landlord.  Luvies and I were looking for a two-bedroom apartment, with reasonable rent, in a clean and secure building.  We found it in the same apartment building as Collette’s.  I knew as soon as we went for the open house that it was her building.  As we were shown the new tile, new carpet and spacious dining area I said that I knew someone who lived in this building, Collette.  The landlord paused and clearly uncomfortable with his task, told me that Collette had died last week.  That her father was staying in the apartment right now, settling things.  Collette had died last week from the same Disease that I have I almost said but this isn’t about me, this is about Collette dying last week.

    And I wonder about the etiquette of dying.  Is there an appropriate word to say, sound to make, movement to express?  How comfortable can the dying make it for the rest of us, while still fighting, while still resting, while still doing what it is they need to do? 

      And I wonder what it might have been like for Collette to selfishly ask people not to visit her; because she knew she was dying, because she was too tired to deal with other people’s reactions to her condition, because she wanted to save all her energy for the fight or because she wanted to give up and didn’t want to admit it or defend that decision. 

       Or what was it like for Collette to unselfishly ask people to stay away because she thought it was the right thing for the sake of other people but really she wanted everyone there, crying, holding her, stroking her face and singing her to sleep.

        What was it like for her to ask so much of herself, either way?





    Armed with my Excel spreadsheet filled with CF adult concerns in Western Canada we need more drug coverage, we need to have our travel costs paid, we need to continue to research the genetic puzzle I attend the meeting and show everyone what I’ve discovered and we talk about how the concerns are much the same throughout the country and that we’re willing and able to help with some of these. 

    I sit at the table and realize that many people I know aren’t physically at the meeting because they have to participate by phone.  They are cepacia positive and the policy does not allow them to attend in person.   

    I miss my cepacia positive friends.  I tire of policy.  I want to hug them.  I don’t care.  The bacteria will get me either way, who cares.  But I need to think of my family.  I need to think of my health.  I need to be safe. In a bubble, then?  Away from colds and flu and ringworm and TB and dirty snot from a sneeze, filthy dust from an old book, stinky cigarette smoke from a bar.  Safe. 

    I hate having the luxury of moving freely in the CF world because of my ‘status’ and feel guilty for being cepacia negative.  Missing those who are positive.  But I’m safe.  And that, at the end of the day, is all I can accomplish for now I suppose. 





    At this meeting I am armed with spreadsheets and my business suit because I know I can’t offer any firsthand experience.  I armed with business tools to make up for my real life inadequacies.  I know I can’t share firsthand how expensive my medication is—I don’t have any other than the government-covered Cotazyms.  I know I can’t share firsthand about the quality of care in the hospital, because I’ve never been in the hospital since the Diagnosis. 

    I know I can’t share firsthand about the difficulty of finding work or going to school because I’ve been there, done that.  I’m the lawyer in the Erin Brokovich movie, with the fancy shoes and the nice haircut but no real empathy to offer.  I’m out of place in time when I can’t empathize. 

    When I can’t be honest about something then I’m not exactly sure what do with me.  And I can’t be honest about living with CF right now because that would disqualify me from the committee.  And I need this.  I need this for all the right reasons and for some wrong ones too.  So I take on the role of messenger, conduit, the one who will get the word out and in and that has to do for now.  And in the next few years I will lay off the spreadsheets and up the stories, from real life CF adults, with real life CF adult problems, and I learn about a quality that comes easily to me as I grow older.  I learn about empathizing with someone, imagining and then feeling what it’s like to be in their shoes for a moment.  It comes easily to me as I grow older, to see their side of the story, to see the other side of the story itself and still feel for everyone involved. 

    I am rewarded in selfish and shallow ways for my volunteer work.  I am sent from Victoria to Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Winnipeg.  I am sent to represent CF adults in Canada at international CF meetings in Germany and Italy and I am honoured.  I am again a messenger, a conduit, and it does make me happy, it is something I am good at, it is my place in all of this. 

    In Berlin, Germany, after years of serving on the Canadian committee, I walk into the international meeting feeling like a CF virgin all over again.  Now I see CF adults from all over the world—knowing, physically, more than I’ll ever know about CF.  CF adults with no medical teams to look after them, no government that provides medications for free or even with assistance.  No support networks, Internet chat groups, chances for transplant. 

    I am quiet.  Humbled and quiet.  Ashamed. 

    Feeling like I did the first day of Camp Couchiching.  On the fence.  Sort of belonging, but not really let’s be honest





You’re healthy and you are lucky but to be extremely honest you haven’t had to see the ugly side of this disease and have all the bad days that usually outweigh the good ones, which puts you at somewhat of a disadvantage.


A co-CF Adult Committee member writes in her email to the whole committee but is addressed to me.  

Accusation:  let’s face it; you don’t really know what it’s like to have CF. 

    I’m at work, in my pod, with my pod-mates, our desks in a circle, just enough room to get around in it, waiting to move to the bigger office space.  I’ve only been at this job for a few months and I’m pretty sure they don’t know.  I know they hear me constantly clear my throat.  It’s like a library in this place.  Every time I clear it, I’m waiting for the “have you got a cold?” question or the “oh, that sounds bad” comment but it hasn’t happened yet.  I clear it when I get on the phone, during the phone conversation, after the conversation, after I have a glass of water, when someone comes over to talk to me, after they leave.  I feel the entire staff listening to me clear my throat and I hear all their questions in my head, “what’s that about, why can’t she stop doing that, doesn’t she know that’s annoying, what’s wrong with her?”

    This time, after I read this email from my CF adult co-committee member I am in a bigger danger.  I am in danger of crying.  My heart races and my palms sweat.  I’ve been found out.  She figured it out and she’s only saying what everyone is thinking.  That I don’t belong on the CF Adult Committee, that I have no right to talk about having CF because I’ve never even been in the hospital for God’s sake, except for the Diagnosis.  I don’t even have a G-tube and I’ve never had a lung bleed or a lung collapse.

    I am in danger of crying because now I don’t belong anymore.  Now I know that I’m in this strange middle place where I’m not quite sick enough to get it but not quite healthy enough not to worry about what all my coworkers think when I clear my throat a hundred times a day.

    I’ve always known this, since summer camp especially.   I’ve always realized that I cannot begin to understand the many ways to suffer with CF.  I cannot begin to expect anyone to feel sorry for me or to want me to be cured over the little girl who can’t breathe at age four.   I’m the last person who needs a cure for CF.

    But I want one anyway.  I want one for all the other people.  So I don’t have to say goodbye to friends, watch fathers die when their sons are only two years old, watch mothers-to-be miscarry and then die waiting for a lung transplant.

    I respond to this email, explaining that yes, I know that I cannot begin to know what she suffers, that I can only know what I learn from others and I can do a  good job representing my country in the CF community because I am so healthy and have so much energy.  Secretly I wish I could tell her that she’s a lousy cunt bitch who needs psychiatric help because she basically just wished that I was dead.  I tell the committee, openly, that they need to tell me if they feel that I am not doing my job, that I am trying to do my best and that I really want to measure up.

    And the troops rally, just as I had hoped but had worried that they wouldn’t and I am defended.

Uncategorically, Debra has been a very dedicated member of our committee and nobody can dispute that.  And yes, some of us are healthier than you are but we still have CF and have issues that pertain to CF that perhaps are different than yours.  That doesn’t make us any less or more of a representative than you might be.  None of us has it easy and you don’t have the right to begrudge anyone their health.  We all have to deal the cards we’re dealt. 


    And then I read my other co-committee’s response and my heart is warm and my head clears and the rejection, sadness and fear are replaced by indignation, moral superiority and anger.  Back to myself, again.   Back to being someone with not-very-severe CF, safe in that knowledge, welcome in that community, feeling sad that it’s true.



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Seringapatam wrote 472 days ago

Debra. This has not only educated me but it demonstrates the work you have put into it. It grabbed me in the early stages and no matter how much I knew I had other things to do, I couldnt put it down. It has a nice feel to the delivery and your narrative stands out a mile. So well done with this.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Jane Mauret wrote 758 days ago

Hello, Debra Mattson – Carry me Gently
I am always fascinated by true stories and I think the ways you have chosen to relate yours make for something out of the ordinary. In many places it is what I think is meant by lyrical, like poetry. Having said, that, I sometimes felt the writing was perhaps a little self-indulgent but this is where writing memoir is so tricky. We have so many memories, impressions, etc, - there seems to be so much to say we can lose objectivity. I think this is where editing comes in as I understand even famous authors have editors who can be objective on a book's behalf. Looking forward to hearing how the completed version fares.
Jane Mauret (formerly Shannahan)

Vanessa Mayfly wrote 855 days ago

Amazing, its like reading about myself as I too have Cystic Fibrosis, its a cruel disease and you are getting a lot of people knowing what its about .. Your writing is honest like it should be. You are a very talented writer and totally back your book . Will be talking about your book

the morning after wrote 855 days ago

This is exceptionally good writing. I especially enjoyed the depiction of detail. How much poignant meaning you get into the details. The objects you describe having a speaking part like characters in a play.

cancerboy wrote 1379 days ago

Hello Debra
thoroughly loved the book...I am 18 and I have CF...have had it since I was 4 mnths old...the way you speak candidly about even the not-so-pretty realities in the life of a CFer is truly praise-worthy....It was a pleasure reading every single chapter...anyone who has read this book would already know that CF people cant hang out with each other because of the risks of cross infection etc and even if they do meet up its never without one of those lousy looking masks....while reading this book I felt like i was sitting in the company of a fellow CFer and hearing her side of the experience....good to know a girl's perspective on was a treat....thanks a ton Debra
help find a cure for CF

lavery51 wrote 1393 days ago

Hi Debra, what n uplifting book. I myself have Parkinsons disease . I was diagnosed in my 40s. Disease can bring out the nobility om people as it puts life in perspective.backed , God bless, if you get a chance , take a look at YOu Turn. best wishes. lynne

Hypo99 wrote 1473 days ago

This is a well written book with skill and intelligence. well worht a backing.


Hope you get the chance to peek inside The Russian Hat.

warm wishes

marywood18 wrote 1510 days ago

I don't know what to say and I guess I am among friends there as I see you have very few long comments on your work. For me it is because I am left in awe and with a guilt. Awe at how you cope and manage to write about it - not with - Oh pity me - but with real courage and feeling and a desire to help others to cope, too.

Guilt, because I ask myself, how often have I moaned at little irritations and health problems, when others have so much to cope with and how little thought I have given, other than pity to those who are suffering. I am here to apologise for that and to say, I will from now on donate regularly to the cystic fribrosis charity to help in the research and care of this condition.

On the writing front, I think you have handled this so well. You have used skills and talent to make the experience of reading material that isn't easy to read, a lot easier, though I would just say, look out for repetition, for instance the phrase -and all you remember- crops up a lot. Maybe you could vary this a bit by using phrases like: pictures of - memories visit you - images come to your mind of - like looking at old photo's you see - Just a few ideas. I wish you every success with this and hope it finds a publisher. love, Mary - An Unbreakable Bond PS, I am going to post something on the forum, too.

Telegraph wrote 1512 days ago

This decribes the brutal diease with dimilnating factors that patients have to live with the rest of there lives. To those within the medical field realize honesty is a line to a patient. C W

Mal Muirhead wrote 1514 days ago

Moving and engrossing in equal measure. The world is a better place now that this book has been written. It will be even better when it's published.
Mal Muirhead - Marvellous Mavis and the Devolve-o-Meter

gotiko wrote 1514 days ago

This is a book that will surely educated us all. Backed.

Gabriel (It Goes On Forever)

She wrote 1514 days ago

I'm backing your book Debra. Good luck with it.
The Mainstay
Annie of Empire Street

Ransom Heart wrote 1516 days ago

I nearly fainted just thinking about the rectal prolapse condition. Love thyself, love thyself . . . Beautifully rendered. Backed. Marianne (Saint Paddy and the Sundial)

Vanessa Darnleigh wrote 1517 days ago

The honesty and courage it must take to record such memories makes the work of fiction look trite and irrelevant...good on you...the rest of us have more to learn from you than anything we may have to offer! Very best of luck with this

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1518 days ago

I'm glad you are able to stay positive through this personal disaster. To allow us all a view into your thoughts and feelings is an honor, Debra. The very best of luck to you. BACKED -Elizabeth Wolfe (Memories of Glory)

stoatsnest wrote 1518 days ago

What an extraordinary book. I shall read more,but it's too harrowing to take other than in small doses. Backed.

stoatsnest wrote 1518 days ago

What an extraordinary book. I shall read more,but's too harrowing to take other than in small doses. Backed.

lizjrnm wrote 1519 days ago

Backed with pleasure! This is an awesone undertaking and you have done this with such passion and grit. A very important read and as a nurse I can see this helping many people! I am sure you will find a publishing home for this soon and bless you that it is all uploaded so I can return later to finish.
The Cheech Room

sjbal wrote 1519 days ago

Hi Debra,
I hate commenting on books like this, I never know what to say without sounding patronising - So... Well done and shelved???
Good luck,
James (The Lycetta Legacy).

Barry Wenlock wrote 1519 days ago

Inspirational. My friend's little girl had CF. She was a lovely, happy girl, too, but died when she was 20.
All my best wishes with this.

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1520 days ago

A heart wrenching short-pitch followed by a main submission which definitely reitereates what I frequently say - "there is always someone worse off & suffering more." This is a very informative and educational book but written in such a way that it doesn't lecture and doesn't read like a textbook. It is well written & professionally presented & is certainly deserving of success. Best wishes - Paula (Cuthbert: How mean is my Valley?)

drachat wrote 1520 days ago

When you think you have it bad you must always remember that someone has it worse! How horrible to have had to go through that.

It's amazing what you learn, I had no idea what Cystic Fibrosis was.

Happily Backed

yasmin esack wrote 1521 days ago

This is IMMENSELY moving and emotional. I can feel the pain and the anxiety the child is undergoing. Scarry stufff and the Daddy with the lace dool makes me want to cry. Life realities are hard for those who read about them far less for those who actually have them. The suffering comes over fantastically and I can only say that this book will do wonders to teach us about this dreadful disease and help those with it.

Many many thnaks for your story
Painfull stuff

The Lord of the dawn

Zangler wrote 1521 days ago

great work. Happy to back it!
Crossing The Line

Rusty Bernard wrote 1521 days ago

Hi Debra,

I have backed your book because I was hooked by the pitch, loved the introduction and read on. How much more I read depends on time and commitment.

Enjoy everything and good luck.

Rusty Bernard
Psychiatric Evaluation

lynn clayton wrote 1521 days ago

I think one of the most frightening things about having a serious illness is feeling singled out by fate. This book will remove that fear for whoever reads it and will have a more beneficial effect than any work of fiction, no matter how talented. Brilliant. Backed. Lynn

Hypo99 wrote 1521 days ago

I just want to back this work immediatly. I loved what I have read so far. This is an honest abd brilliant piece of work.


Hope you get the chance to take alittle peek inside The Russian Hat

Brendan Doherty
The Russian Hat

name falied moderation wrote 1521 days ago

Oh and you make me cry

name falied moderation wrote 1521 days ago

Debra, heartfelt. The honesty of your writing pleads the heart. I was taken aback by your profile, and this is written in a style unique in the way it is expressed. This is a book about courage and one that I truly wish to see in book stores to open eyes and also to give permission for others to tell their stories. Thank you for writing this book Debra. BACKED for sure by me and the BEST of luck with this strong piece of heart. I would be so happy if you would read some of my book, it too is non-fiction as I would value your comments.


Bradpete wrote 1521 days ago

Heartfelt and humuliating. Well written and hard to read - in the way it is meant to be I suspect!


Melcom wrote 1522 days ago

You are a wonderful writer with a courageous and heart-warming story to tell.

I'm wishing you every success in the future.

Happily shelved.

Amylovesbooks wrote 1522 days ago

This is a really good story - CF or no CF, I don't think it would matter. I suspect you could write about anything and it would be good. I spent the better part of the evening with your story, and finished all that you have uploaded. I now feel I am sufficiently qualified to back your story based on its total awesomeness.

Love Match

SueAnn Jackson Land wrote 1522 days ago


There’s magic to be found right in the middle of 30 pills ground up in applesauce… here: “Like squid and sushi and oysters when she’s older, and chocolate pudding or truffles.”

Trauma is still trauma – no matter the cause or the cure. “The little girl is responsible for saying goodnight to her stuffed animals. If she forgets they may die.” The chapters are long, but the memories were writhing over you when you wrote, I'll bet.

Quoting the Indigo Girls, eh? More reading tomorrow night…kindred soul.

Oh, and before I forget… “On the day I was born, said my father, said he… I have an elegant legacy waiting for ye. Tis’ a rhyme for your lips and a song for your heart, to sing it when’er the world falls apart. Look, look, look to the rainbow. Follow it over the fields and streams. Look, look, look to the rainbow – follow the fellow who follows a dream.” – Finian’s Rainbow

SueAnn Jackson Land
The Truth About Whales

SueAnn Jackson Land wrote 1522 days ago


Just from your pitch... you had me at hello. I'm going to read and will comment more in depth, but right now at this moment, the backing is a welcome. The backing is a congratulatory cheer for claiming life with all of its hard bits and holding on to it. "This is not a book about disease, but rather, a book about a life worth living."

SueAnn Jackson Land
The Truth About Whales

soutexmex wrote 1522 days ago

Welcome aboard, Deb. This website will improve your writing craft, if you allow it. I'm a bit of a pitch doctor, having read thousands of pitches in my time on this website, so I want to share my insight here with you. You have to think of your pitches as your sales tool to grab the casual reader's eyes. The short pitch TELLS instead of SHOWS but it works because this is non-fiction. The long pitch works, too. Perfecting your pitches is how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. The writing is good so I am SHELVING you.

Though I have been a very active member for over a year and have the most commented book, I can still use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Every little bit helps. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key

Burgio wrote 1522 days ago

This is an interesting account of what it feels like for a young child to have a chronic disease – and not receive enough explanations of what all the tests she is having are about. It’s a book that should be required reading for respiratory therapists and nurses so they can fully understand the impact of what being so sick at an early age can mean. I’m adding it to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

D. L. Stroupe wrote 1522 days ago

This is difficult to read, and yet I don't want to fault your approach to it. While I find it awkward to read, your opening makes clear that your first and foremost audience is those who "really know what it is like." For them, this may be the perfect approach. Still, you have a tendency towards run on sentences and I do think you would do well to pare some of them down.

That said, what you actually have to say, so far as I've read, is heart felt and honest. It's the kind of honesty people recognize when you talk about things that most of the time it's more polite to ignore.

SusieGulick wrote 1522 days ago

Dear Debra, I love that you told in detail about Cystic Fibrosis & that it affects the lungs & pancreas - my Mom died of pancreatic cancer at age 74 in 1986 (she had lupus, too, which I have had since I was 15 & am now 70 - every other year I have a blood test for it - should it be more often? My Mom's was inoperable as too far gone, but took a year to die :( - I have it in my memoir. Thank you so much for giving me a head-up because I get pneumonia twice a year & you said it affects the lungs. Before I began to read your book, I was prepared by your pitch, which was very well done. :) Your story is good because you create interest by having short paragraphs, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm "backing" your book: When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved...authonomy. :) Please "back" my TWO memoir books, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" & my completed memoir unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which tells at the end, my illness now & 6th abusive marriage." Thanks, Susie :)
additional quote from authonomy: Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs. :)