There is a reason why people say, ‘When there is a will, there is a way,’ because there is never a reason to give up. 28-year-old Jessica Bean is proof that there is always a way to ease an unfortunate situation.
Since she was born, Bean has endured chronic illness—but it began to get worse. Doctors told her, “You are going to need a double lung transplant,” according to an article she wrote for I Quit Sugar.
“Having lived with cystic fibrosis – a genetic disorder which causes the lungs to fill up with thick, sticky mucous – all my life, it wasn’t a totally unexpected conversation. But somehow I had never imagined it for myself,” she said.
Bean took 40 pills a day to control her condition, and she told Dailymail that she had to eat around 4,000 calories a day to maintain her weight, due to her body struggling to breathe and absorb nutrients correctly. Like many people, her diet consisted of a lot of sugar.
One day things went from bad to worse.
Bean shared that being active is what she loved to do—traveling, helping charities, and her mission was to save the world. But before Bean could save anyone else, she had to help herself.
“Suddenly my lungs couldn’t keep up with me anymore. I couldn’t even go for a coffee with friends, as I just didn’t have the energy. Everything I did left me gasping for breath and Cameron [her boyfriend] had to do everything for me,” she told Dailymail.
Bean said that at age 21, she was only at 30 percent lung capacity—and doctors said she needed a double lung transplant, or she would die. Her name was put on transplant lists, and she moved from her hometown in Queensland to Tasmania to be closer to major hospitals.
Jessica and Cameron decided to get married.
Because Bean was afraid she might die, she and her high school sweetheart soon made plans to tie the knot. From seating arrangements to decorations, Bean planned everything from her hospital bed, and she wanted to make sure everything was just right. “I was a total ‘bridezilla’ because I wanted everything to be perfect. These would be some of Cameron’s final memories of me.”
Their wedding day arrived, and coincidentally she met her wedding photographer’s husband, Gary Fettke, an outspoken advocate for living sugar-free. He encouraged Bean to try it, and she decided to go for it.
“Instead of having convenience food and snacks, Cameron started bringing me smoothies into the hospital that were full of healthy fats like peanut and avocado.” The choice of cutting sugar from her diet ended up being one of the best things she could have done.
She explained to Dailymail that when she ate healthier, she noticed results quickly. Her lung capacity improved, and doctors decided to put her on a new Orkambi drug trial in Australia. Since her health had stabilized, Bean was one of the few accepted to participate in the trial, and it worked out great.
“Within days of taking the medication that targets the defective gene that causes cystic fibrosis, I could feel the benefits. I wasn’t waking up vomiting anymore, and I could breathe,” she explained.
After a few weeks, Bean was back on her feet.
Bean’s new sugar-free lifestyle fundamentally changed her health and her outlook on life. She went from thinking her husband was going to have to bury her, to becoming a health and wellness coach. She shared that “eating healthy has been so instrument to my survival.”
“A few years ago, I was preparing to die, now I’ve got a career and am able to enjoy holidays and trips to the movies. I’m so lucky to be alive and it’s all thanks to ditching sugar,” she said.