For the many of you who know me, I was diagnosed with Primary Immune Deficiency and Antibody Deficiency at 23-years-old. In the last five years, both my body and my emotions have been put to the test and I have found strength that I would have never even known I had. More recently in the last few years, I have had more hospitalizations than ever before and have had to find bravery and determination to get through weeks of feeling frustrated and angry in a hospital bed, wondering why I can't just be..."normal".
Unfortunately, despite all precautions, at times my diagnosis continues to outwit me. These times of requiring emergent medical intervention and prolonged hospital stays are discouraging, but they also remind me of my strength. Every single time I come out of the hospital, recover from another infection, and complete my monthly infusion treatment, I remember that I told myself when I was diagnosed, that I would never let this chronic disease stop me from living my life the way that I have always strived for.
I am currently dating the love of my life, living in a new house we purchased one year ago. I am working full time as a nurse at a leading Children’s hospital. We are attending weddings, traveling, and doing house projects. I feel like my life milestones are falling into place exactly as I always dreamt of, despite many obstacles. And for that, I am so grateful.
In the last six months specifically, my health has been put to the test. I can’t thank Matt enough for jumping in and being there every second of every day for me. The late-night drives to the hospital, the full days sitting at my bedside, the time off from work to take care of me. I want to thank my mom, dad, and rest of my family, who never fail to show up for me in times of need; I am grateful for such a strong support team.
My illness is “invisible”, meaning that it is not obvious I have a chronic condition when I meet the eye. However, it does not mean my body is not constantly fighting, in overdrive, and diminished of a normal immune system needed to protect against basic infection. I am so grateful to my support team for not only accepting me as a "Zebra", but for always walking beside me.
The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) has given me hope and a place of support that I am so grateful for. I am grateful for my unbelievably supportive family for always dropping everything to be with me when I am sick, my life-saving monthly plasma treatments, my antibody treatments, my supportive colleagues, my loving and understanding friends, and my incredible healthcare team. For every memory I have of being sick and feeling defeated, I have many more of joy, happiness, and laughter.
Please help my family and I support the Immune Deficiency Foundation by making a contribution to my team and sharing this page with your family and friends. Every dollar we raise will advance Immune Deficiency Foundation's cause for better treatment, stronger advocacy, and patient resources!
Additionally, this years walk will take place on October 15th at the Franklin Park Zoo! Please feel free to join in our walk for IDF!