Stewart's Story - Institute for Respiratory Health

Stewart’s Story

“I feel like I’ve been given a second chance thanks to Trikafta.”

I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of four with a three-month stint in hospital. Ever since I’ve taken between 20-40 tablets a day and have had to do physiotherapy two to three times a day just to try and live a normal life.

Dad got me into soccer when I was eight as the doctors advised being active could be beneficial with the disease. I then started playing cricket and football as a teenager. The disease started to significantly affect my life as I got older and it began to impact my work life and ability to continue playing sports.

From 2012, things got pretty ugly for me. Most of the day I would be coughing and would constantly feel exhausted. I started to lose weight and was in and out of hospital with pneumonia.

I had to give up my love of sport and was trying to hang on to my job but was constantly in physiotherapy and the rest of the time I would have to go to bed due to constant fatigue. 

But Trikafta has been a game-changer. I was just existing as opposed to living. Now I’m living.

None of this would have happened without medical research. It’s been my mini-miracle  –  my second chance.

As part of the clinical trial, I started taking two small orange pills twice a day and one at night for twelve weeks. When you do a trial, you don’t know if you’re on the actual drug or a placebo. But within a week I could feel a difference. 

I noticed an improvement in my breathing and appetite. I stopped coughing almost straight away and I didn’t feel like I was drowning in my own mucus. 

My energy levels were up and the fatigue was gone. My fitness improved, I started to gain weight and I could play cricket again. 

I also got to continue working and keep my independence and ability to look after myself. 

What’s even more miraculous is that I’ve been able to fulfill a dream and explore the world, something that I could never have imagined before Trikafta. I’ve travelled to New Zealand and Tasmania – my whole world has expanded.

Medical research has given me the chance to hit the reset button on my life. I’ve been on the clinical trial for three years and I feel great. I have a renewed purpose and an explorative spirit. 

There can be more happy endings like mine if medical research is adequately funded. 

One in three Australians will experience a lung condition in their lifetime. But despite this only 2% of research funding goes to lung health research. 

Thanks to game-changing research I’m able to share my story with you today. Thank you for reading my story, I hope it will encourage you to want to help change the lives of other West Australians living with a chronic lung condition.