* I. AM. TERRIFIED.
The novel coronavirus has forever impacted our lives as we know them. For many of us, the impact will linger long after a cure is found.
Yet, for those of us with an existing autoimmune condition, the need to take every precaution to guard against this disease is much higher than it is for the general population.
Because we are more vulnerable, the difference between life and death is much narrower.
In the face of this reality, I refuse to deny the gloominess that sets in. I don’t want to die.There is so much more I want to do … that I must do. I must create a legacy, not only for myself but for my grandchildren. Anxiety takes over as I take extreme measures to avoid public places. My anxiety heightens as I worry about my mother, who also falls into a high-risk category. I cannot thank her enough for sacrificing her own safety for mine. I wait in the car with my rubber gloves and mask as she goes into the grocery store. As I said, I avoid public places at all costs. I try to spoil my mother as much as possible by ordering her favorite take-out or delivery meals so she won’t have to cook as much.
I. AM. TERRIFIED.
I was on the verge of a relapse right before the onset of the pandemic in this country. My rheumatologist recommended I immediately resume a regimen of the highest dose of steroids since my stroke. My MRI showed new developments in my brain. Once again, my immune system is highly compromised. My body cannot produce the white blood cells needed to fight infections. My immune system must work harder to keep my body healthy and protected from day-to-day germs. A common cold or exposure to the coronavirus from a family member can result in certain death for me.
I broke down in tears at first, but then I switched into survival mode. No matter what challenges life throws at me, I give myself twenty-four hours to have a nervous breakdown … twenty-four hours, no more, no less! I followed my doctor’s instructions to specifically go to an academic teaching hospital. Even amid chaos, I am grateful for the smallest blessings. I breathed a sigh of relief when my insurance was accepted at MedStar Georgetown University, one of the best private academic teaching hospitals in the country. A calm came over me as a team of specialists diagnosed my new developments.
I was grateful for the immediate treatment plan and yet, I am human. I was not looking forward to my face swelling to three times its regular size. Again, I try to laugh to keep from crying. The increased steroids fuel my appetite, a challenge coupled with the state-imposed stay-at-home order. I jokingly tell my sister that I will undoubtedly be able to audition for the reality show My 600-lbLife once it is all said and done. Luckily, I am on the road to having my steroids decreased to a lower dose. This new regimen will ultimately strengthen my immune system. Until then, I will enjoy being able to eat what I want, when I want. And besides, I think about how all the women on My 600-lb Life have a man! There is hope as I prepare myself for my future wife … whenever God sends her to me.
I. AM. FAITHFUL.
I remain steadfast in my faith. My health issues during this pandemic have taught me how precious life is to me. Social distancing may be uncomfortable and inconvenient and yet, with each day, I become more grateful. I realize how resilient the human spirit is. I’ve learned to do so much with so little. I am going to be telling a different story soon, one of healing, success, strength, abundance, love, happiness, peace, and great joy. I am going to be stronger, wiser. The power of not giving up is profound.
God has seen what I’ve been through. He has seen every tear I’ve shed. He knows the disappointment and the heartache I’ve felt and this is not the end of my story. It is the beginning. I am not going to come out of this barely surviving. I ain’t got time to die, so I will stay inside!
I know that God is going to bring me out of this pandemic, better than I was before.
Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States Army. Her debut novel, PRETTY BOY BLUE and the sequel, THE DARKEST SHADE OF BLUE is available on Amazon. Pickett is an advocate for the LGBTQ community. For more information on Monika M. Pickett, please visit, www.MonikaMPickett.com. For other inquiries emailinfo@MonikaMPickett.com