Immunocompromised During a Pandemic

Anonymous Author –

My experience with the pandemic has been varied. Some days, there was immense fear. How would I fare if I got it? How would my mom? I had to have hard conversations with her. What would happen if she got sick, or worse? I couldn’t talk about wills or life insurance without a lump in my throat. Other days, quarantining felt almost normal, like a lazy summer day. That is, until the news would remind me of just how unprecedented this moment was. Or until my mom would come home from work and talk about how afraid she and the other nurses were. I feel I’ve been luckier than many, but being immunocompromised while living with an ICU nurse has presented its own challenges.

Prior to the beginning of this pandemic, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and put on two immunosuppressants. My doctors and I were still trying to manage my symptoms and find the right treatment plan when my city, and the country, began social distancing. Suddenly, it became a bit harder to treat my disease. We had to weigh treating my worsening symptoms against weakening my immune system, and therefore my ability to fight the virus if I were to get it. This was further complicated by the fact that my mom was exposed to the virus every time she went to work. And what could we do? While she was terrified for my health, not to mention her own, she felt like she had to help. We committed to isolating as much as possible and hoping for the best. We’ve barely been in the same room, let alone hugged (as she continues to mention).

Eventually, I had to begin taking another immunosuppressant, but now there was the issue of how we would know if it was working. Only blood work could show us how well it was treating my disease, and it hasn’t been safe to get it until recently. While a lot about the future is uncertain, we know that this virus is going to be a part of it for a long while. We’ll have to learn how to continue to live with it. Regardless of how FSU’s fall semester unfolds, I will not be returning to campus next semester. I’ll have to learn how to stay connected to campus and be the best student I can be from home.

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