Living with a Primary Immune Deficiency During a Pandemic
Let me first explain what a Primary Immune Deficiency is. Many have heard of autoimmune. This is not an autoimmune, although many with Primary Immune Deficiencies (PID) also have autoimmune issues as well. Put simply, an autoimmune is an OVER production of the immune system so that your own cells attack your own body which often results in inflammation, whereas as in a PID, it is an UNDER production of some part of the immune system.
There are over 200 types of PID's, mine specifically is called Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID). CVID is contrary to the word common and is categorized as rare (depending on source approximately 1 in every 50,000 people). With CVID, I don't produce many antibodies to fight off infections. A common cold can leave me ill for months with a greater severity of symptoms than someone with a normal immune system. The blue "Y" in the picture is an illustration of what a typical antibody looks like. Because we don't produce enough, we depend on generous plasma donors. Many plasma donations are mixed together and are separated to create pure antibody vials ready for infusion. I receive it via an IV every 28 days for life. Essentially, it's borrowed immunity. A typical antibody lifespan is 28 days.
Now we've got that all explained..... can you imagine already having a deficient immune system and then a big bad pandemic hits the world? As many of you know, I'm a Registered Nurse. My last day working with patients directly was March 13, 2020. As someone with CVID, respiratory infections are my greatest weakness. I've been near hospitalized for the common cold. The threat/idea of getting COVID-19 was scary. I soon learned to turn that fear into productivity. I began to focus on what CAN I do? I began to cook more at home, learn to eat healthier, learn my local wild herbs and other edibles that were in walking distance to my home, and opened my own business to help others through the safety of a Zoom call.
I no longer live in fear, but I do live with caution. You see, I'm still "sheltering-in-place". I do go to the grocery store once every other week or so, but avoid the local grocery that is too small for its size and doesn't allow for social distancing. I always wear a mask and probably will for much longer than this pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic, I wore a mask in highly trafficked places such as the airport. In regards to the vaccine, many with PID (including myself), don't react to produce antibodies as others' do. We must still behave as though we are not vaccinated and continue to shelter in place.
I have to say, that this pandemic has brought on many blessings amongst all of the loss and pain that it's brought to many. I began my business, I prioritized my health with nutrition, and I've actually been so much less sick than other years because people are more aware of washing their hands or sanitizing, and are sheltering in place. My immunologist has said the same is true for many of her other patients with PID. My heart goes out to anyone reading this that has lost a loved one due to this horrible pandemic.
One of my many goals with Ames Alchemy Coaching is to help others with PID to live as abundantly possible. Abundance in living a life filled with moments of happiness, passion, balance, and life purpose. Having a PID is challenging no doubt. Challenges are just hurdles to the same destination. How can one best navigate that hurdle? That's my job to help you discover those answers in yourself through my coaching. For me it was hiking near my home and learning the local herbs and edibles, living a whole-food-plant-based lifestyle, and birthing this new baby of mine: Ames Alchemy Coaching. For you, it could be focused on other areas of your physical health, learning a new hobby, practicing meditation, learning to de-stress..... the possibilities are limitless.
To learn more about how to get a free initial coaching session with me, go to the home page and scroll to the bottom. I'd love to get to know you more, your hurdles, and help you to jump them with confidence, pride, and grow into a healthier and happier you.
To all my fellow PID and CVID warriors, STAY STRONG AND INFUSE ON (and keep washing those hands)!