i've always been fearing the day when i would have to make this thread... about an hour and a half ago, i got a phone call from the best friend of my ex-girlfriend, letting me know what had happened. steph, my ex-girlfriend (that alone doesn't feel right typing... ex-...), had cystic fibrosis, an as-yet incurable genetic disease that is terminal. she lived to be 21 and a half years old, and had to fight for every second of it. i met her about two and a half years ago through a friend from high school. she was staying in gainesville because lung transplants are performed in shands hospital, the hospital at UF's campus, so it wasn't too long before we started seeing movies and stuff together. she was in the hospital a lot from the time i knew her--i actually was more used to seeing her in the hospital than out, at one point. she received a double lung transplant on june 17, 2005, but her body rejected them not even a year later. at the eleventh hour, she got another transplant, a single lung, on july 11, 2006. i did all i could to be there for her because i knew she needed the company. we fell in love and started dating in early january this year. she had moved back down to south florida by this point, so the distance, plus her continued health issues, really prevented us from having too much time together, but the time we did have together was the best of my life. she broke up with me late in april, a few weeks after the doctors at shands told her they couldn't do anything more for her. i don't really want to get into the period after that and up until now because i've been kind of a wreck since then. i've lost 20 pounds (and if you've seen me, i don't really have 20 pounds to lose), among other things... i can't even really begin to describe how amazing of a person she was. i could never do her life justice. she really was the strongest person i had ever met, and she was the love of my life. i had loved her from day one as a friend, and i am grateful that i had the opportunity to love her as more than that, as well. it just seems so absolutely cruel to me that someone who loved life so much that she would endure everything she had to endure would not be able to get the life she absolutely deserved. she has had a profound effect on the lives of everyone who had the privilege of meeting her. thanks for reading.