Saturday, November 29, 2008

The CF chest...

No not boobs all you pervs!  I am talking about the CF chest cavity.  We all know what I mean.  That expanded, barrel chest look we have.  The one that makes us self conscious about our appearance.  Well it makes me self conscious.  

I decided to write about this today because I had to buy more bras yet again.  My chest keeps expanding and it won’t stop.  I feel I will topple over soon if it doesn’t!!  As I sit writing this I am constantly pushing my shoulders back to expand my bra hoping it will stretch it out.  But unfortunately it doesn’t.  It continues to dig into the side of my chest. 

Last week, I had to go shopping for a dress for my reunion (which I didn’t end up wearing anyway).  I went to 3 different stores looking for a dress that fit and that I liked.  I was trying on 8s and 10s!  And they were still too small up top!!  The bottom would look big and baggy and yet the top wouldn’t close.  I hated it!  I was fed up and frustrated.  I’m a petite person I am not supposed to have trouble fitting into clothes or finding ones that zipper.  Though in recent years I have found the bloated stomach and barrel chest are much more pronounced and I am resorting back to my pre-dx days of skinning arms and legs and bloated body.  IT BLOWS!!!  

A few weeks ago I found my prom dress again.  It is so pretty I love it.  I would love to donate it but I don’t think it would fit anyone but me (or another CF girl).  It was altered A LOT so I could fit into it.  The dress is a 10, but the stomach area was taken in to a 4 so I could wear it.  But that was the only size that would allow me to zip up!  And that my friends was 10 years ago!!!  And probably about 30% lung function (I was in the 60s-70% in high school).   Of course now I would love to try it on but I know I will be sad when it won’t zip.  And not that I put on 15 pounds since high school but because my chest has expanded SO much.  

It’s little things like this that irk me the most about CF.  Not only can I not breathe normally, digest food normally, but now I can’t even buy clothes normally!  I feel weird in tight shirts because I look fat, up top.  I hate wearing bathing suits because then the barrel is VERY noticeable.  And getting naked, forget it!!!!  Ok well there I have no issue but its not like I am standing up modeling my nakedness LOL!  Minds are elsewhere ;)  I am constantly buying new clothes because the ones I had 6 months ago no longer fit.  Mainly work clothes, and they are expensive!!!  The buttons start to pop out a little and then, opps, next size up!  Of course the next size is too big elsewhere and I begin to look like a drowned rat.  I am still in a size small so no it isn’t that huge of a deal but XS used to be big on me and would still fit if not for this stupid chest!  

The worse our lung functions get the worse the barrel looks.  I am at 40% right now I can only imagine what it will look like when I am at 20% and 10% and can’t breathe worth a pooh.  Will some of the barrel look go away if I can get the excess air out?  Will I be able to fit into my clothes again if I can get the plugs out that are trapping the air?  When I ultimately decide to have a transplant will that look go away entirely?  This are just arbitrary questions.  Will the bloated belly disappear too? 

For all you bloated, barreled CFers, I salute you and your quest for loose fitting, comfortable clothing!  Now shall we all do chest bumps? LOL


  1. I hate the barrel chest and bloated belly too! I have always had a hard time with dresses b/c of the barrel chest. Anyway yep chest bump to you ;)

  2. I know I'm not a girl, and not a CFer, but that's the very thing I hate about spina bifida, if I may. With me, it's pants. No pants are the right shape and/or size to not slip off the back every few minutes, even with a really tight belt.

    I'm not sure why what you wrote happens in CF, nor what I wrote in SB. It's frustrating, because one of my favorite things in life is peoplewatching. I love female watching, dur. But also examining what makes a well dressed specimen of my gender, too. I love peoplewatching and love clothes!


  3. My barrel chest has lessened some since transplant 7 years ago. I guess I breathe more like I'm supposed to and don't use all the accessory muscles... not that I want you to have to have a transplant, but since you know you probably will in the future.. it's just something to look forward to (along with no cough and being able to breathe). :)
    Yeah, it's the little things that irk me too about this disease too.

  4. You read my mind this weekend!!! I have to go clothes shopping very soon-- NOTHING fits. Like you said... shirts just don't fit right (baggy here, tight there).

    Don't get my started on pants and skirts-- AHH!!!

    I have to wear a swimsuit in public next week-- anyone had a huge shirt I can borrow???

    I HAVE noticed that my barrel chest gets bigger-- especially in the past few months. GAG!!! I have trouble with the strap that goes around the chest... never get it and the rest of the bra to fit. Its one or the other...

  5. longtime reader, first time comment. :o) I can't agree more! I cannot describe how grateful I am that these flowing, scoop-neck, quasi-maternity-looking tops with the skinny arms are in style; at least for a while it's been somewhat easier to find tops. I also happen to have the tummy issue AND a complete lack of a rear, so I run into the opposite problem with pants. Thanks for this post, I know it sounds crazy, but the only other CFer's I knew when I was a kid (and have kept up with on facebook) are guys, and I just thought I was strange until very recently when I started reading CF blogs. Love yours, and great post!