A Little Bit More Under the Weather

Remember that post I wrote last month about my bout of covid? If not, you can read it here…and then come back to this post for the update.

The update is that my covid experience wound up lasting longer than I thought it would. You see, after completing my doses of Paxlovid, I was starting to feel great! I think I had about 5-7 days of normalcy before things took a turn and I officially got a case of rebound covid.

That’s right, it came back to haunt me. On a Sunday, days after finishing my Paxlovid, I noticed that my throat began to feel a little funky again. It was just as tingly as it felt at the initial onset of covid, which was a sign to me that perhaps I wasn’t out of the woods just yet.

I spent most of May feeling…a bit under the weather.

Sure enough, the next couple of days my symptoms intensified slightly. Only they were a different set of symptoms compared to my first round – this time, I was dealing with an extremely itchy and agitated nose. It could’ve been so much more worse, and I’m grateful it wasn’t, but my mental health seriously suffered when I took another at-home covid test that Monday and learned I was still positive.

At that point in time, I’d been in isolation for three weeks. This meant I’d have to complete another 10 days, at a minimum.

I was devastated. I was missing my family and friends. I felt like a prisoner in my own home, bound here because it was the right thing to do in order to protect my loved ones, but also resentful of how confined I was because overall, I really didn’t feel that bad. But I wouldn’t change a thing about my quarantine period because it was ultimately the only thing I was in control of throughout the whole experience, and having control over whether or not I exposed people to covid provided me a sense of comfort.

I was also extremely distraught because my business trip to New Orleans was rapidly approaching, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to travel again unless I started testing negative. So the following Tuesday after I tested positive again, I began consulting my healthcare team and we decided that I might benefit from receiving a monoclonal antibody infusion to help my immune system recover faster. Just like that, all my hopes became tied to this infusion as I longed for it to both alleviate my symptoms (even Benadryl wasn’t helping my itchy, sneezy nose) and help me produce a negative test as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the infusion did its job. Within 48 hours, I was feeling much more like myself. Even better, four days after receiving it, I began testing negative. I was beyond elated and relieved.

My covid ordeal taught me a few things. Number one, I feel so very lucky that I had access to the means to get better: a capable healthcare team, medical treatment, an understanding employer who let me take as much sick time as I needed, and the like. Number two, I feel similarly lucky that my diabetes seemed totally unaffected by the illness. I can’t imagine how much more difficult (and frustrated) it would’ve been if I’d also been chasing lows or highs. Number three, I’ve got so much more appreciation for the people and things I took for granted prior to my quarantine. I was absolutely giddy the first time I left the house after testing negative, and honestly, that feeling hasn’t changed with every subsequent plan I’ve made in the weeks that have followed.

Most of all, I’ve got a new level of gratitude for my support system: my family, my friends, my partner, and everyone who checked in on me when I was feeling depressed and lonely in quarantine. I would’ve been lost without them.

How I Did My Part to Help Prioritize All Types of Diabetes as it Pertains to COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout in My State

Across social media, I keep seeing the same type of photo pop in my feeds that sparks jealousy, triumph, fear, confusion, and hope all at once: the COVID-19 vaccine selfie, fondly referred to as the “vaxxie”.

I’m beyond happy that dozens of family members and friends have received the vaccine. It makes me feel good to know that they’re doing their part to help protect themselves and others, and it’s wonderful to know that the vaccine is being distributed to some extent.

However, I take issue with part of the distribution plan in my state.

Using my voice to hopefully change/improve the rollout of the vaccine in MA felt good.

In Massachusetts, COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been chaotic, to put it mildly.

It’s probably similar in many states, but the part that I find most frustrating is the fact that people with type 1 diabetes (and seemingly no other co-morbidity) are being lumped together with the last group of individuals to be vaccinated.

My endocrinologist confirmed this for me the other day during my virtual appointment: “Why is it [presumably her computer system] showing you in phase 3? You should be in phase 2…” I nodded vigorously and we talked for a few minutes about how disconcerting the whole vaccine rollout plan is. I explained to her that the Massachusetts chapter of #insulin4all was coming up with language to email to local representatives to implore them to do everything possible to prioritize vaccination for all people with diabetes, and a couple days later, I got my chance to do just that.

I looked up my local and state representatives with a quick Google search and emailed three individuals who are in positions to revise public guidance regarding COVID vaccinations. As soon as I hit “send”, I felt this amazing sense of empowerment – it felt good to do something about an issue that I’m very passionate about.

While I wish that I could do more to ensure change, I do feel a sense of pride that I tried to do something by using my voice. It represented the first (but certainly not the last) time that I plan on contacting legislators to help improve diabetes care, management, and accessibility of supplies – not just for myself, but for all people living with diabetes.