Lucy’s cystic fibrosis story

Lucy Mountain, 17, sitting her bed at hospital
10 April 2019

Lucy Mountain, 17, is not letting long hospital stays stop her from pursuing a career she loves. Lucy has cystic fibrosis (CF) and goes to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for two weeks at a time, every ten weeks, for intensive treatment.

Lucy, 17 years old, putting make up on

At the hospital she juggles her hours of treatment with attending college to study hair and media make-up. She plans to become a professional make-up artist and the nurses love having their beauty guru on the ward.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder that causes a build-up of thick mucus in the lungs and the digestive system. This can cause breathing problems and increases the risk of lung infections, whilst also clogging the pancreas making digestion difficult.

Lucy also has diabetes as well as her CF, so her trips to Sheffield Children’s are important for her to keep on top of both conditions, receive IV antibiotics and oxygen when needed, and be closely monitored by specialist staff.

Lucy said, “Coming to Sheffield Children’s is like a second home for me. I have been coming here for as long as I can remember. I can bring my own pillow, blanket, laptop and everything I need for college and get help with my physiotherapy and other treatment for my CF and diabetes.

“It’s really important for me to come here because it keeps me on track to look after myself. It’s difficult to keep up with the amount of physio, nebulisers and other care for CF, so the support from the hospital keeps me going.”

Noreen West, Consultant CF Paediatrician at Sheffield Children’s said: “Lucy is proof that you can have a lifelong condition and still study, follow your career aspirations and enjoy life to the full.

“Cystic fibrosis is a complex and time consuming condition. For many children with CF this can mean 1-2 hours a day to perform chest physiotherapy and take multiple nebulised drugs as well taking over 50 tablets a day for someone of Lucy’s age. Despite this they will often require prolonged admissions to hospital requiring 2 weeks on intravenous antibiotics for lung infections and assistance to clear their airways, as well as maximising their nutrition.

Lucy Mountain getting help from a nurse with her oxygen mask at Sheffield Childrens Hospital

“Both the Sheffield Children’s CF team and I feel privileged to look after children like Lucy from diagnosis soon after birth until they successfully move onto adult care. Having an environment which feels welcoming and comfortable, working with a great team who respect and know them well, helps to make children and young adults cope with a rigorous and intrusive regime.”

 

Holly-Rae Smith, Youth Empowerment Officer at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “It’s fantastic that Lucy is able to follow her passion with the support of her Cystic Fibrosis team at Sheffield Children’s. Being a teenager is difficult for everyone but deciding what you want to do while managing a condition like cystic fibrosis can be particularly hard. At the Trust we run regular courses on topics like applying to university or starting work. These can help young people with the disease to develop their skills and help them achieve their goals. Visit www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk and search for Building Brighter Futures if you’d like to find out more.”

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is one of just 13 cystic fibrosis specialist centres in the UK. Find out more about the service on the website.

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