I am an immune deficient triathlete. In 2008, I was diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID). The diagnosis is an incurable, chronic and life debilitating genetic disease. Like many with PI, I looked healthy but spent years battling infections.
The tipping point came when my 3-year-old daughter so eloquently summarized the situation and asked one night, “Dad, when are you going to be sick no more?” Devastated by the reality my family and I found ourselves in, I agreed to be my wife’s training partner and race with her in a sprint triathlon. I figured that making it through a couple of hours of an endurance sport couldn’t be much harder than my average day. I had not ran since high school, biked since middle school and had never swam a lap. Why not torture myself? The truth is, I was desperate.
I got into triathlon looking for a way to feel better and found that I was better. I gained a better outlook on life, more energy and a renewed involvement in my family. Over the past few years my triathlon journey has taken me through many highs and lows. Triathlon has taught me to accept the limits of my body and figure out what I can and can’t control. Then focus on controlling those things. It has become my medicine to manage not only my disease but also my life with CVID.
I still have difficulty fighting infections, managing chronic fatigue along and dealing with day-to-day symptoms, but I will not let it stop me from trying for better.