Hello, my name is Sharon. I am 58 years old and live at the beach side suburb, Semaphore, in Adelaide. My husband and I have three adult children and a granddaughter we adore.
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) 19 years ago after having glandular fever. I managed quite well for a couple of years with meds. As time went on the meds increased and I developed more illnesses. I had benign thyroid tumors (which I now know are part of the immune system) and added more meds as the RA worsened. In 2005 I had a Melanoma removed from my ear (and learned that melanoma was related to my immune system too). In 2006 I had constant sinus infections that did not clear up for more than 12 months! As a result of complications during the surgery I had to try to fix this problem I ended up in chronic pain , crush fractures in my spine and had Bells Palsy.
Next it was discovered that my platelets were dangerously low, resulting in a brain bleed. It was a scary time and I am very lucky and grateful that I have a great rheumatologist who kept sending me for tests and to other specialists in search of an answer. Eventually in 2008 I saw an immunologist who after many tests and immunisations and repeat blood tests, was able to diagnose me with CVID (Common Variable Immune Deficiency). Suddenly we had the final puzzle piece and could see that my seemingly, complicated and unrelated medical history was all related to the immune system!
I started Intragam P infusions April 2008 and have them every 28 days. After the first six months of infusions I found I was feeling much better. Finally the infections became less frequent and took fewer courses of antibiotics to clear. I feel so very grateful for all the amazing, selfless blood donors who make it possible for me to have the quality of life I enjoy. To say thank you is not enough x x x
A secondary Melanoma caught me off guard in 2008 but fortunately it was contained and removed. Still learning about CVID, I found the IDFA web page when searching for information online. I had no idea there was foundation here and facebook group and joined that night. One amazing thing I learnt from the group was that low platelets can be a sign of the onset of CVID – it was a relief to finally have an answer as to why that had happened in 2006. The closed facebook group was a lucky find for me. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone, and the friendship and professional help has been wonderful throughout some very difficult times. I look forward to being able to support others too as we are not alone!