My husband just wanted to make me laugh.
I had always had a cough, sometimes worse then at other times. One of my earliest memories is getting a lung X-ray in a doctor’s office. As I got older I became a connoisseur of antibiotics and prednisone dosages. I was a pro at allergy shots, allergy testing, self diagnosing bronchitis or sinus infections.
My doctors ran tests but never said anything more then a temporary illness. At 39 I got married. Throughout our dating he was familiar with all my inhalers, my coughing fits, etc. After being married a few months and a bronchitis that just wouldn’t go away he said, “I just want to make you laugh and not worry where your inhaler is! We need to keep going back and keep looking for answers.”
So I became persistent and finally some lab work came back very low. She sent me to an immunologist because the pulmonologist who ran the lab work didn’t really know what it meant! So I went to an immunologist, I was told my labs were extremely low and they were shocked I was walking around and working.
She described the fact I had little to no naturally occurring immunoglobulin. As she described it she said she had to do a vaccine challenge to confirm her diagnosis. That’s when it all clicked! I had a condition called Common Variable Immune Deficiency.
I had worked in healthcare for 20 years and I had lots of documentation that I did not have titers to vaccines even though I had had MMR vaccine at least 9 times, chicken pox vaccine 4 times, hepatitis series twice, vaccines never took and that’s how they diagnose this disorder! WOW! Had anyone in any employee health known about this rare disorder maybe I could have been healthier sooner!
Six weeks after diagnosis I started weekly subcutaneous infusions. At first they were rough. My body had to adjust to having something it had never had before! Slowly but surely I started noticing a difference. Three years later I am off all my daily inhalers and allergy medications.
I can laugh at my husband’s jokes without an inhaler in my hand! I wish more people knew about this disorder as I truly believe I was born with it! I no longer get sick 8-10 times a year and in fact I only used antibiotics once last year and I’ve been without prednisone even longer! My treatments are expensive and I am lucky to be able to work and have insurance. For that reason I have become a volunteer with Immune Deficiency Foundation and try to get word out there about this rare disease! If my husband wasn’t so adamant about me laughing without coughing who knows where I would be now—probably still living with a cough!