Kylie Drew is one tough cookie. Battling with health issues like Dysautonomia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID), her family moved to Bendigo in search of a better life.
Thirty three year-old Kylie is married to Martin, her full time carer, and they have two beautiful children aged 10 and 2. Originally from Sydney, the family moved to Bendigo in 2015 after illness prevented Kylie from working any longer. Before her health declined in 2012, Kylie led a very active life; working full time, attending the gym, swimming and running marathons in under 3 and a half hours.
Kylie battles serious health issues on several fronts
Kylie has been diagnosed with Dysautonomia – postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). If that term sounds familiar, it might be because this little known condition hit the headlines when it was revealed that Greg Paige – aka the “original” Yellow Wiggle – is also a sufferer.
In addition to Kylie’s primary diagnoses of Dysautonomia she also deals with a number of challenging and serious health issues including CFS, CVID, Neuroinflamation, chronic bronchitis and gastroparesis. In addition to this, Kylie was born with bilateral hip dysplasia which required extensive surgery as a teenager. She has also suffered from a small stroke.
Kylie forced to sell her home
Kylie worked full time up until 2014 as a Risk and Compliance Officer for a large superannuation fund, but became very unwell and spent a lot of time in hospital. Her employer was very flexible, accommodating her additional needs and making it possible for her to work from home part time. Unfortunately the onset and progression of Dysautonomia has had a huge impact on her capacity to work.
Dysautonomia causes Kylie many debilitating symptoms, one of these is that she faints regularly. Her treatment to assist in limiting fainting is 24/7 IV fluids. In 2015 she made the difficult decision to resign from her employment. This change meant that Kylie had to put her house on the market, leaving Sydney for Melbourne where Martin secured worked as Head of Investments for a superannuation fund. He had to resign less than three months later, in order to care for Kylie.
A fresh start in Bendigo for the Drew family
The Drew family made the decision to move to Bendigo, enticed by the cleaner air, the slower pace of life and less stressful environment. Moving away from the city was not just better for Kylie’s health, it was a lot more affordable than living in a major city and offered a sense of community that appealed to their family.
Despite having their life turned upside down, Kylie and her family have embraced the move with a positive outlook to make the best of their situation. They enjoy the quiet life that Bendigo offers, and their daughter enjoys her new local school. Kylie and Martin also have more time for their 2 year old son.
Kylie’s new power chair helps bring the family together
Kylie has a suppressed immune system due to her diagnosis of CVID, requiring monthly treatment in Melbourne with IVIG – this means she can’t spend a lot of time in public areas as she gets sick very easily. Kylie has been receiving her 24/7 IV saline and Hartmans infusion through a peripheral inserted central catheter (PICC) line in order to treat her Dysautonomia for the last four years. She will probably need this treatment for the rest of her life.
When Kylie is well enough the family likes to spend time together outdoors, and this has been made much easier since she purchased her power chair from Active Rehab. The use of this equipment has given her the freedom to be able to go to the park with her family, enjoy some fresh air and time in the sunshine with them.
Kylie has recently been invited by the Royal Melbourne Hospital to participate in a genetic research program exploring her CVID. With any luck, this valuable research will eventually lead to a better quality of life for people with CVID and their families.