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From:

My Story

Colleen Twine

It can happen to anyone.

Anzac Day coming up is a good time to tell my story.

My grandfather was one of those men gassed in the trenches with mustard/chlorine gas, he was invalided out and spent the next 30 years in and out of hospitals critically ill. I remember his wheeze and hacking cough. A tip for all of us.

In later years he walked, come rain or shine. Instead of the 7yrs of life predicted, he died at 84yrs!!

I was a fit and healthy young lad, I danced and swam competitively. At 19yrs of age I had the lead dancing role in “Brigadoon”, was hostess for my home city of the year, worked and completed a dancing examination. The next year I became an airhostess and flew for 6 years.

My husband was also with the airline, so I was mum and dad a lot of the time to my two wonderful boys. We renovated 4 homes, and I’ve since renovated the 5th by myself and my friends. I was a swimming teacher/tutor while the kids were young, moving on to coaching as they did. I figured it was a great way to work and be with your kids! This is when my troubles began.

I seemed to have respiratory infections except when I was away from the pool. I had heaps of antibiotics getting sicker over the next 20 years! I went doctor to doctor trying to sort out my problems. At this time, I was beginning to think it was all in my head!

Finally, a respiratory specialist who had just read an article in the medical journal put the puzzle pieces together. I am allergic to chloramines from the indoor chlorinated pool. GAS! I now have huge sympathy with my grandfather and his mates in the trenches in World War 1!!!!

I was still getting sick. Finally, lab tests at Auckland hospital showed virtually no immune system. CVID! That was over 8 years ago. I have built up to infusions every 3 weeks (I tried sub-cut but it wasn’t for me).

Like my granddad all those years ago I too get a wheeze and a cough and spend time in hospital most years. Unlike him I also have immune problems, with new ones seeming to pop up all the time. The one I hate most is the constant need of a toilet. (I have one in my van for emergencies)!! Ferry’s work well, but busses are a mission. Every trip away from the house has to be carefully planned. A couple of years ago I went too Australia. My lovely immunologist organised infusions for me. I was staying with my son and started getting sick. My intensive medical kit wasn’t working and my lad took me to his local Manly Hospital. I was admitted to intensive care and proceeded to give the family a bit of a fright. The thing worrying me most was I had to get out of Manly Hospital to get the arranged infusion at another hospital! My kids don’t invite me to stay now!

We are so lucky in New Zealand; the hospitals and staff treat us well and for FREE!!!!

We are so lucky to have IDFNZ to tuck is up under their wing, with all the super sponsors who care and support us!! THANK YOU!!

Colleen