Living with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus

The year 2020 was supposed to be my moment.  The moment I was getting back on track posting regularly and suddenly, I vanished!  Though not by choice, I was smacked in the face with Coronavirus.  Let me rephrase.  Body slammed as it affected almost every part of my being. 

Since this novel virus spread like wildfire throughout the world, by now you may have known someone personally affected by this disease and if not, now you know someone… me.

Mask-Up-Coronavirus

Two and half months after experiencing my first symptom, I can confidently say that I am ready and able to get back into the swing of things.  I needed that down time but till today, I continue to experience daily periods of shortness of breath and my sense of smell is not yet 100%.  It’s slowly returning to where it used to be and if I had to guess, it may be around ~ 70% back to normal with on and off parosmia and phantosmia but I refuse to let this set me back any further.  I will persevere as I always do.  This blog is my pride and joy.  I love coming here to share my kitchen experiences as well as a little dabble here and there into my personal life.  Been around since 2013 and I don’t see myself ending this shared journey anytime soon.  🙂

Strong Mindset is Key…

Going further, I’d like to share some insight and awareness from my COVID-19 experience.  First and foremost, it’s important to know, to not be afraid if you do get infected.  I realize this is easier said than done but know this ahead of time, you must have a strong mindset because this disease can take over your psyche if you let it and will make you more sick than you are and I’ll explain further in a bit.  

Do Not Be Afraid

I say “not be afraid” because many of us hear through the news more often than not on the deaths rather than those who have recovered.  I acknowledge there are many that were asymptomatic and later tested negative which is wonderful but what I want, is to share from someone’s experience of having EVERY SYMPTOM on the CDC list for coronavirus. 

CDC List of Symptoms for Coronavirus COVID 19

June 25th, 2020 – First Symptom

My first known symptom occurred the morning of Thursday June 25th.  I emphasize “known” because a week prior to this date, I had a runny nose; pouring like there was no tomorrow!  It was random and very much inexplainable.  Nevertheless, I dubbed it as a weird moment and moved on but retrospectively, that could have been the very first symptom.  

I was working from home on the 25th and remember having a terrible headache.  I don’t get headaches often but when I do, it’s more of a migraine.  My quick fix is to pop a tablet of Excedrin and within 30 minutes, I’m good however, by 3 PM, I realized the headache never went away.  I took another tablet and fell asleep early.  By Friday morning, one half of my face was in so much pain close to that of sinus pressure, but worse.  As I rose from the bed, the headache quickly returned and it was much more intense.  A friend asked to hang out and as much as I wanted, I couldn’t.  I immediately got a massage to relieve the pressure in my head and during the session, I felt nothing but soreness throughout every joint and muscle.  Mind you, my usual masseuse was not in so I thought this new person was more rough than what I’m used to.  LOL  

My Head Was Going To Explode…

I walked out feeling more sore than when I entered in.  Didn’t think much of it and grabbed an iced coffee with caffeine boosts to knock out the awful and persistent headache, but it only got worse.  By afternoon, my brain felt like it was going to EXPLODE in my skull.  A different kind of headache, I’ve never felt before.

Days leading up to this time, I was redecorating my home and so to distract my mind, I went to a home goods store 30 minutes out.  I took one lap around the store and my energy was depleted.  As I approached my car, my body temperature felt as if it was rising.  An odd feeling I couldn’t understand.  I contemplated taking an Uber home because I began to doubt that I would make it back safe.  Somehow, I mustered enough energy to get home but a turn of events was just about to begin.  

Coronavirus

I Didn’t Know What Was Happening…

At this point, you may know that what I was going through was simply a fever.  As a person who’s worked in the medical field for over a decade, you would think I knew exactly what I was going through but during this time, I couldn’t reason.  My head was going through so much.  It wasn’t until midnight that evening when I realized my body was going through hot and cold spells and then it clicked, I could possibly have a fever.  I took my temperature and saw it was a low grade fever of 99.9 F.  May not sound like much but it was enough to feel very fatigued and confused.  Mind you, Excedrin has acetaminophen as one of its active ingredients.  To think, if I had not taken this medication for the headaches, my fever could have been worse!

Every Symptom…

In the next couple of days, I had a minor sore throat, congestion, a light cough, extreme stomach pain with diarrhea and the most prevalent was that my energy was EXTREMELY LOW.  I remember trying to get COVID tested at an urgent care a mile away and when they turned me down because they were booked, I drove another mile to a different urgent care who scheduled me out a few days later.  I returned to my car and being outside for only 10 minutes, I was EXHAUSTED!  

Never in my life have I slept for hours, and hours, and HOURS on end during the day.  I would sleep so much that by 4 AM, I was wide awake.  My circadian rhythm was completely flipped! 

June 30th, 2020 – The COVID Test

On Tuesday June 30th, I was tested.  Holy shiz, that test was painful!  Tears quickly came rolling down my face.  To give you an idea of what the PCR nose swab test feels like, try to remember a time when you may have accidentally inhaled water through your nose.  It’s that burning, scratching sensation up through the nostrils that hits your eyes.  It felt as if the nurse scraped the edge of my brain, that’s how far back she went.  I was convinced she damaged my nasal sensory cells because later that day, was when I realized, I couldn’t smell anything! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my Lysol test video.  If you haven’t seen it, check out my highlight story titled Me

Sick with COVID-19 Explained
The day I was COVID tested and discovered the loss of smell.

I Stopped Eating…

Shortly after, I completely lost my sense of taste and for the most part, I stopped eating.  Coming from a person who never skips a meal even on her sickest days, for me to stop eating, was serious.  If I ate, it was only to silence my stomach from growling but definitely odd to feel food rolling around in the mouth without a hint of flavor.  It’s amazing how much we take our sense of smell and taste for granted. I did lose a few pounds but gained it right back and more during the following two months of living a very sedentary lifestyle during recovery. 

I Thought The End Was Near…

This disease plays tricks on your mind.  There were many times, when I thought, “Okay, I’m doing better today, let’s get some work done on the computer.”  If I worked even for a few hours, the next day, I regressed.  I began to get frustrated on the length of time it was taking to recover.  Every time I thought I was getting better, it was just a lie.  Then, something terrible occurred.  

You may have heard of “brain fog.”  Quite common for those recovering from illnesses such as the common cold or the flu.  But no, this was something more severe than just fog.  Simpy put, I almost burned down my apartment!  No amount of typical brain fog would actually get to this level.  

Despite the inability to make full sentences from losing my train of thought, the inability to drive, becoming forgetful to turn off the sink water after brushing my teeth, or where I placed my glasses or the constant forgetfulness of why I walked into a room, the worst was yet to come. 

About to Burn Down the Kitchen…

One evening, I decided to bake a frozen pizza (lack of energy to cook).  I removed the pots and pans from the oven that I used as storage.  I had a cake pan in the back while a few bread pans with skewers in its plastic covering was in the front.  I removed everything. Turned the oven on to 425 degrees F, walked to the other room while the oven was preheating and by the grace of God, I walked back into the kitchen 5 to 10 minutes later to find that I left the skewers in its plastic wrapping inside the oven! What I don’t understand, was that the cake pan sitting in the back was removed.  How could this be if I needed to remove the loaf pans first?

The plastic melted but had it dripped into the fire, could have caused a huge problem.  Let’s not forget, I couldn’t smell anything, so the smell of burning plastic was undetectable. It was at this moment, when I decided to make a virtual appointment with the doctor.  I was told to not work for a week and that by me working every so often over the past few weeks, had only delayed my recovery.  I listened and thought at the time I was getting better.  

Plastic Burned in Oven - COVID-19
The plastic melting in the oven.

It Still Got Worse… “I’m Going to Die.”

A week later, I began to lose my breath over the simplest tasks.  Walked a flight of stairs and I needed a few minutes to catch my breath. Walked to the other room and I felt like I suddenly had asthma.  I kept hearing on the news about people in their 30’s dying from COVID, and this is when the paranoia kicked in… FULL THROTTLE. 

It became so intense, full blown anxiety attacks hit me out of nowhere.  In most cases, it came as soon as the shortness of breath occurred.  The anxiety stemmed from paranoia that the virus was spreading into my lungs.  And while laying in bed, my brain kept racing at all hours of the night. I kept thinking to myself, “I’m a healthy 30-something year old and now I’m going to end up in the hospital and be intubated and placed on a ventilator.  I am going to die.” BOOM!  Attack right there.  

I hate having to worry my mother but luckily, she was there for me at 2 AM when I was going through the worst anxiety I have ever had in my life.  I seriously contemplated on going to the emergency room from the chest pain I was experiencing because I thought I was having a heart attack or that the disease was spreading into my lungs.  The following day, I had chest x-rays and was retested for COVID.  

Chest Xrays for Coronavirus
Just before getting chest x-rays. You can see my eyes, I was exhausted.

I Allowed COVID To Take Control and It Needed to Stop!

I finally received some relief when the doctor announced that my chest was very clear and healthy with no signs of COVID.  He further explained that the chest pains were from anxiety.  I was given anti anxiety meds which allowed me to sleep since it had been days since I had any rest.  But you see, prior to getting this news from the doctor, I was mentally, emotionally and physically spiraling out of control.  I allowed this condition to take over my well being.  

Take Care of Yourself, First. It Will Be Okay.

I know it’s not easy.  Going through it first hand, I attest to that.  But if I can shed some light in case you do get infected, know that It Will Be Okay.  Remain calm and allow your body to do what it is capable of doing which is to defend you in fighting off the disease.  You will have good days and bad days.  Count the good days as blessings, stay home, do not work unless it helps to alleviate stress.  But the biggest thing to remember is to have a strong mindset and a support system.  If you have to see a medical professional to rest assure everything will be okay, then do it. Don’t be ashamed or feel any negative way in taking care of yourself. You come first.  

This story was a long one, I know. Maybe it would have been better if I did a video instead.  Been toying with the idea of videos.  In any case, I’d love to hear from you.  If you experienced COVID or if a loved one has, discuss what you went through or what you would like others to know.  Leave a comment down below.  Your messages could help others during this difficult time.  

Thank you for sticking around.  God bless!

Recovering from Coronavirus IG Story Cover 1.1
A video update on Instagram about my recovery. This was a “good” day.

Coronavirus image source from: Montgomery School of Maryland and the CDC.

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