Dedication: The NHS
My names Kiera, I’m 18 years of age and from the age of 3 weeks old I have been suffering, and I’m finally at the point where I want to share my story. When I was 3 weeks old, I was covered in red blisters, I was taken to the doctors and this turned out to be eczema, a very severe case. For 18 years I have been suffering, the itch that constantly over takes my body never goes away, I don’t even know I’m itching most of the time, and it’s something I’ve had to deal with all my life. I have had different types of treatment, I had light therapy, oral steroids, steroid creams, moisturisers, bandages head to toe, all which had no effect. Being a young girl at the time, when I started high school my anxiety was through the roof. I had to go into school covered in bandages, open wounds on my scalp and face. I was bullied for all of my high school years which really had a knock down effect on me. I was referred to a dermatology clinic, where they suggested immunosuppressants. I have had 3 different types. Methotrexate, azathioprine and cyclosporine, all which didn’t help. These drugs lower your immune system, and from being on the drugs I was admitted into hospital numerous times. I had suspected sepsis at the age of 15, pneumonia at 16 and my chest didn’t seem to be improving. I have asthma as well as this so when I do get an infection, my body finds it extremely difficult to fight it off. After having the immunosuppressants, my nurse decided she wanted to refer me to see if I could start a new medication. The medication she suggested was a biologic injection. I was referred to salford where they assessed me and decided I was eligible for funding. I’m on the dupixent injections and I have to inject myself every 2 weeks for the rest of my life. However, this isn’t the only problem I have to face every day.
I have frequent check ups with my respiratory nurse, my asthma didn’t seem to be improving. She decided to do some blood tests just to make sure everything was okay, a couple days later I got a phone call. I had to make an emergency appointment and when I came in she told me my bloods have come back abnormal. She told me that I had a high count of aspergillus in my blood. The normal range was 100, mine came back at 8,000. Therefore, I was referred into a specialist hospital where aspergillosis can be treated. Aspergillosis is an allergy to a mould that’s in the air, many people don’t have a problem and breathe this in every day, however I’m severely allergic to it and this causes me breathing problems. I turned up to my appointment and I was put on an anti fungal medication called itraconazole. I’m on 500mg a day plus a maintenance set of steroids daily. I have a nebuliser at home and this has to be used quite frequently as my breathing isn’t the best. I’m on a bronchodilator and steroid inhaler, montelukast tablets and have to be frequently checked at my hospital.
Being 18 years of age, and having to go through this is very tough. I can become very anxious and scared because my breathing could increasingly become worse, or my skin can break out at any time. I’ve realised that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, I’m under the best specialists and my conditions are being treated very carefully. I can only thank the doctors, nurses, specialists and consultants for helping me when I never thought I would get better. The moral of my story is to never give up, keep on fighting and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve anything, because you can. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.