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How I Tried to Explain My Immunodeficiency to My Niece

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How do you explain a disease to a child that you don’t even fully understand yourself? When it comes to illnesses, I’m a bit of a casserole — many illnesses and co-morbidities all baked together to make one medical train wreck.

But one of my biggest struggles this past year has been my diagnosis and battle with common variable immune deficiency (CVID), which is defined as “an antibody deficiency that leaves the immune system unable to defend against bacteria and viruses, resulting in recurrent and often severe infections primarily affecting the ears, sinuses and respiratory tract.” And yes, I’m one of the lucky individuals who got diagnosed with an immune deficiency right before the beginning of a worldwide pandemic.

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