Vanessa’s Story
On her 23rd Birthday, Vanessa was diagnosed with Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID). This is her story...
Although things may have changed, Vanessa has not let her immunodeficiency stop her from doing the things she loves.
Before her diagnosis, Vanessa was a relatively healthy child, however in her teens and early 20s she began getting sick more frequently and taking weeks or months to recover. Doctors kept prescribing antibiotics which did help to a degree but would prescribe them for months. This is when Vanessa and her family knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until she was referred to an allergy immunologist for a completely different reason where her immunodeficiency was picked up on a blood test. Due to her immune levels being so low her specialist needed to check them twice to ensure they were correct as she said “it would be expected that for someone with your immune levels being so low that they would constantly be in and out of hospital” however Vanessa had never been and looked healthy from the outside.

It was on her 23rd Birthday when Vanessa found out that she has Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID). Receiving a diagnosis at this age was both confronting and relieving, as she was then able to work with her healthcare team to create a treatment action plan.

Going to hospital and getting treatment was very new for Vanessa as prior to this she had never been hospitalised before. She expressed she had an incredible specialist and supportive healthcare team. Vanessa was scared to begin the treatment as it was something she needed to learn in a hospital setting so she could complete weekly SCIg independently at home. Vanessa was very lucky to have unconditional support from her family, friends, and husband and this has been the backbone to her doing so well today. Upon doing research about CVID she came across the IDFA and joined. She is grateful to be a part of a community of others with immunodeficiencies as well.

For Vanessa to stay fit and healthy, she requires SCIg therapy where once a week she administers it subcutaneously at home, which she has been doing in the year and a half since her diagnosis. SCIg treatment has also expedited recovery from infections and illnesses.

She recently got married and is enjoying her life being a wife. She enjoys being in nature and going on adventures, and loves spending quality time with her family and friends as well as travelling and being active. Vanessa is still able to work full time as an Exercise Physiologist but sometimes finds days challenging when she is tired and sick; however is learning to manage her life and ensure she is putting enough time to look after herself, her health, and her needs.

She is so grateful for people in the community who can donate plasma as it makes a huge difference in her quality of life. This new chapter in her life has allowed her to live her life to the fullest and enjoy every second. She doesn’t let anyone, or anything get in the way of her dreams and aspirations.

Published: November 2023