Faith, Family, joy, Multiple Sclerosis, Not Today MS, Uncategorized

COVID-19 and living with Multiple Sclerosis

I know. The last thing the world needs is MORE NOISE right now. Don’t worry… I’m not here to debate or say anything negative. ALSO, as always, I’m not a doctor (shocker!) and anything I say here is simply my experience. PLEASE talk to your doctor… Or follow the guidelines found on the CDC or National Multiple Sclerosis Society websites.

As you know, I am on a Disease Modifying Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (Tecfidera). The medicine works by suppressing my immune system (particularly my lymphocyte count) in an attempt to keep rogue WBCs from attacking the myelin in my brain. So far, the drug has worked beautifully and kept my overall WBC count right at the very bottom of normal range, and my lymphocytes right at the .7 where they want them at. Wonderful news.

The not so great news is that when I do contract viruses, they take longer for my body to fight. A recent example happened just a couple of weeks ago. My husband came down with a little stomach bug. In fact, it was so short-lived he thought it was just a touch of food poisoning. A day later, I came down with the bug. What lasted four hours for him, lasted four days in me. I would think I was better, and then I would live on the toilet for a the next several hours.

With all of this coronavirus (COVID-19) craziness, I never ever thought it would have an impact on me. I sat a restaurant on Wednesday night and declared “the whole world has gone crazy” as I laughed that the NCAA had said the basketball tournaments would be played without fans… how quickly things would change from there…

By that evening, I had received messages from fellow MS friends asking if I had been contacted by my neurologist regarding safety protocols those of us on DMTs needed to take. I reached out to my good friend Cheryl to see what she had been told as she lives in California, where many more cases of COVID-19 have been discovered.

By Thursday morning, I had my official answer. My Neurolgist’s office reached out to me to let me know this was my new routine “until further notice”:

  • No crowds.
  • No shopping.
  • No gym.
  • No church.
  • I may run outside as long as I avoid people.
  • My day will consist of home and work, as long as I stay 3 feet away from people, wash my hands, and stay out of all public areas in our building.

Some folks out there are still making light of all of this. They are still declaring “the whole world has gone crazy” like I did on Wednesday night. But, you guys. From what I understand, the people like me and the ones much sicker than me on medications that are even harder on their immune systems, they just don’t have the physical capability to fight this thing on their own. If we contract this virus, we will likely be in the hospital. And there are only so many hospital beds in our areas. We can’t all get sick at the same time. THUS, safety measures are needed to try an keep this from being widespread in a short amount of time. If you go and read from reputable organizations such as the CDC or WHO or National MS society, hopefully this will help you get a better understanding so you won’t make harsh judgments or post things on social media out of complete ignorance. You’re not helping. I don’t mean to sound so mean, but seriously… We don’t need more noise, we need to encourage each other and do what we can to help.

Thanks for hearing me out. The world has not gone crazy. I believe our leaders are doing their best to control this thing. Everyone is doing their best. Be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

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