This one was HARD for me, but I knew it would be going into the movie. I intentionally waited until it came to video to watch it. I knew I would be very triggered watching this movie, so I wanted to watch it in the privacy of my home.
For those that don't know, I am a CF mama. I lost my oldest daughter to CF at a little under 2 1/2 years old and my youngest child, Ezra, has CF as well. The details of what happened the day Hayley passed left me with PTSD.
As someone that knows the ins and outs of CF, I was concerned about the title the first time I heard of this movie. For anyone without CF knowledge, the rule of thumb is all CFers must be six feet apart at all times to prevent cross-contamination of bacteria and infections that do not affect most people. I was glad when the trailer showed me there was a valid reason behind the missing foot in the title.
Stella and Will both have Cystic Fibrosis. Stella is very in control of her treatments, she stays on top of them and is very organized about her setup. Will, on the other hand, is rebellious about his own therapies due to the resentment of his health and condition. Stella is on the lung transplant list, waiting for her perfect match to come through. She survives the hospital stays with studying, facetiming friends, and working on coding. Will, doesn't meet criteria for a lung transplant due to a bacteria he's contracted. This makes their budding relationship especially critical. These two, above all, need to stay apart. But their hearts don't want to listen to that reason.
I was extra critical with the hospital and treatment scenes because I am a CF mama. I will not bore you with those details. They did very good overall with staying true to the life of a CF patient. I was disappointed in the lack of parent involvement. I understand the characters are older (Will turns 18 during the movie), so they can care for themselves and even stay in the hospital alone. But, as a CF parent, I felt they should've been around more than they were. I will state that I haven't reached that point of CF parenting as my oldest is only 4 1/2 so I am his advocate and in charge of his care 100%. My thoughts might change on this point in the future when he is old enough to handle some of his own care.
The love story is sweet and not corny, as so many are nowadays. Their connection makes perfect sense. CF is a very isolating disease and only understood by those walking through it. They understand the struggles, the hopelessness, the constant pain, the fear of the unknown, and sharing those emotions and experiences brings them to a relationship they know is forbidden. The missing foot in the title is part of this. Stella decides CF has stolen far too much from her and her and Will decide to take one foot back. Instead of following the standard six feet apart rule, they commit to five feet and use a pool stick as measurement when they are together.
There are two separate scenes with CPR, which is likely not a trigger for most, but it is my biggest trigger. I went into the movie assuming the chances were high of seeing a scene with CPR so I was as prepared as someone with PTSD can be. There were statements by Stella and Will that were tough to hear as a parent of a CFer, but I strongly feel they were accurate representations of the emotional strain this disease leaves on its victims.
Overall, I give the movie 4 dragonflies.
Content-wise, I caution against anyone under 16. There is more cursing than I expected, given the age of the characters. The majority of the movie takes place in the hospital with treatments and medications throughout as well as a few surgery scenes. Given the matter of the disease, there is a good bit of discussion on death and the afterlife. There is a scene with Stella and Will both in only their underwear. There is a character that is openly gay and a few statements/conversations regarding sexual acts. My only trigger warning is if you are sensitive to medical scenes, though nothing is too graphic in that department.
I figured the best way to share our story was to begin with some background on our history and family.
So, here it goes..
I (Lyndsie/aka Lainy) have dealt with social and general anxiety as long as I can remember. I don't recall the age I realized my fears weren't "normal" or that panic attacks were panic attacks and not something everyone experienced. But, at some point, I matured enough to realize something was wrong with me. It would take a lot more years before I decided to seek help for these issues and still to this day, I only accept help on an intermittent basis (which I don't recommend, mind you).
My husband, Alex, and I were high school sweethearts. Six years after meeting, we were married. Shortly after that, we discovered I was pregnant with our first child. Nothing sets paranoia and anxiety into overdrive quite like pregnancy hormones! I was a wreck!! I was so sure I was going to do something "wrong" and mess up our baby. It was this fear that led me to sign up for the genetic disease testing that would change our lives forever. It was a simple blood draw that informed us we were carriers of the Cystic Fibrosis Gene, meaning our baby had a 25% chance of having Cystic Fibrosis. I had heard of the disease before, but knew nothing of it. So, I did what any anxious person does when handed a scary, unknown situation; I turned to Google. And even after my husband told me to stay off Google, I researched the way our lives would change every chance I got. This research of course only intensified my guilt and fears, yet it became a masochistic habit I couldn't stop.
Two weeks after Hayley was born, we received her official CF diagnosis and began our first pathway down chronic illness. Despite the additional challenges, we loved being parents and Hayley quickly accepted her princess status in our household. She was a strong girl that didn't let any of her sickness show. Even when she wasn't feeling well, she didn't show it. Just before Hayley turned two, we added our second daughter who is a CF carrier.
Five months later, Hayley suddenly passed away in her sleep. We knew she was dealing with a lung infection, but we had zero indication of how serious it was. As it turns out, she was dealing with necrotizing pneumonia. Her passing, and events that happened that day, led to my PTSD, which I was diagnosed with a few months later.
When Callie was 19 months, despite having already had exposure to all types of nuts, she had an allergic reaction to peanut butter. We were very blessed in that her reaction wasn't as severe as it could've been. She broke out in hives and began to show slight signs of anaphylaxis, however, the moment we wiped her down, all her symptoms disappeared. After seeing an allergist, and a blood draw, her peanut allergy was confirmed and we became epi-pen carrying parents.
One year after Hayley's passing, we discovered we were pregnant with our third child. Emotions ran high with the fear of returning to the CF world. My pregnancy with Ezra was my hardest. I had severe back, hip, and pelvic pain that I continuously brought up to my doctor with the concern something was wrong. Each time I was brushed off with an "it's your third pregnancy, you're just feeling the pain more intense now". Ezra's birth was my only natural birth without an induction. It was intense, to say the least. Two weeks later, we received our second CF diagnosis call and once again set off on a path that had already stolen far too much from us.
My pain only continued to increase after Ezra arrived. After quite a few doctors and too many tests to count, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and the beginning stages of arthritis. I had already been diagnosed with Endometriosis as a teenager.
The combination of our illnesses is the reason I wanted to share our journey. We have an array of different health issues on top of my mental health struggles, and of course the normal day-to-day life and parenting stressors. I wanted a place to share our struggles, victories, advice, experiments, and more.
Here is where you can keep up with me and what is going on in my head, with my characters, and works! This is where all of my author information, cover reveals, releases, sales, contests, etc. will be posted. Check back for updates regularly.