I've Got COVID: Here's My Story
I had a pretty terrible March 2021. My father went into emergency overnight surgery after a routine operation that went badly. He thought he was going to die, and I was told to prepare for it. He lived. There were other family stressors, too. After a check-up with my rheumatologist, I discovered I have osteoporosis in addition to AS, and was readying to start Cosentyx.
My mental health was suffering
More than that, we moved houses, totally changing burrows, neighborhoods, building types, and lifestyles. I collapsed in a heap of anxiety and found myself having panic attacks, insomnia, and horrific flare-ups. My mental health was the worst it's been in a long time, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I think being honest about it reduces stigma and lets my readers know that, hey, we're all human. Bad sh*t happens and sometimes the darkness takes over.
Then, I got COVID
The darkness, like a veil, shadowed over my entire life. I felt powerless, in constant anticipatory grief, and like I had no anchor, home, or place. The change was all around me and happening too quickly — and change and I are not friends. Just a few days ago, I was fully moved into my new apartment — and still reeling from the anxiety of change, feeling like I had no true home. Now, I'm stuck inside, forced to get to know my new home — because I have COVID and I'm in quarantine.
How did I find out? I was supposed to see my dear pregnant friend at her small baby shower. Before attending, I needed to get a COVID test. Easy. I had no symptoms, I was excited to see my friend, and I was looking forward to pulling myself out from all the boxes and getting out of the house. Ben, my partner, and I got rapid tests. His was negative. Mine was positive.
In cap locks, all red: POSITIVE.
How could this be, I thought? I'm fine. I had just seen friends. I had made plans to see more. Right away, I went to get another PCR test (which is the "gold standard" test) to confirm. Shortly after, two friends of mine tested positive. We were all in the same bubble, and we all had it. We don't know how we got it. I told everyone I'd seen even for a small speck of time, and encouraged them to get tested. It was my first move. I'd been safe, too — always wearing masks, using sanitizer, and avoiding too-crowded places. But I'd also been living my life — getting groceries, going to the doctor's, seeing a small group of friends.
It became clear that I was sick
My symptoms didn't start for two days. It became clear pretty quickly that I was sick, though: Stuffy nose, a heavy chest, painful throat, extreme fatigue, a sense of malaise and wooziness, and a loss of taste and smell. I would say that my case is mild — but noticeable enough to warrant worry. Funnily enough, the flare-up I was in a few days ago completely subsided. I think it's because my immune system has a real job to do besides attacking itself.
Suddenly, all of those stressors and anxieties I had paled in comparison to being faced with COVID's potential problems. I started thinking in terms of gratitude, stopped worrying so much about everything else, and jumped into self-care gear.
I'm hopeful, tired, and worried
Right now, I'm still sick. I'm in quarantine for 10 days, and I'm nervous but hopeful. I'm so tired. I'm so worried. But I'm doing what I can to pull through, and encouraging my body's ability to keep me going, alive, and well. I'm sitting with discomfort and fear, and I'm praying for myself and my friends. I'm hyper-aware of the fact that I'm here right now. And I'm doing what I can to get better.
Do you use the word disability to describe your AS?