News of a life-threatening virus blanketed the world in 2020. With the uproar mainstream and social media caused by portraying the countless deaths happening daily, I couldn’t help but think, will COVID-19 be the death of me? 

Hearing the virus was predominantly attacking the respiratory system frightened me to complete isolation. I shut down in immense panic, afraid to even hug or get near my loved ones. However, with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), that’s not even an option. Depending on others is my way of survival. 

Meanwhile, my parents and I made a unified decision to stay completely isolated until we heard of some kind of treatment or cure for the virus. And unfortunately, my mom was forced to retire early from her teaching career to protect me. This quite literally was one of the hardest seasons of our lives. Through it all, we kept trusting God for protection. I knew my faith was the only thing I could depend on for a source of hope. 

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Emotionally, I couldn’t help but feel drained, however.  For a couple of months, I didn’t see my brother, his wife, and their children. I’m a social person. Not being able to spend time with the people that I love, and who support me the most, made life in my situation that much more challenging. It put a lot of things in my life on hold but so did it for the rest of the world, too. 

Months began to go by and we started to feel more comfortable being around close family and friends. They took every precaution before visiting me, which was greatly appreciated. And, once the vaccinations were available for people to receive, I started to gain greater confidence for living life a little less confined. 

Nevertheless, just recently, the inevitable happened. The virus chased me down and caught me off guard in my escape to bypass it for good. I was able to manage not catching it for almost 2 years, but here I am 12 days in, and still fighting the symptoms. Fortunately, I believe I contracted the less severe version. 

At first, I was struck with disbelief and a quick panic attack when the test came back positive. I had no idea what to expect. With each passing day, I feared for the worst symptoms. And although it hasn’t been a walk in the park, it resembles nothing more than a bad cold. I did however experience a few moments of shortness of breath, but nothing where I felt the need to go to the ER. Compared to my parents, the sickness is lingering much longer with me than for them. The congestion is the hardest to eradicate. 

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Overall, the only difference I felt COVID presents more heavily, compared to a cold, is the fatigue. It may take me some extra time to regain the strength I’ve lost. I’m still very exhausted and my head feels a little full, but I’m getting better. Nonetheless, I’m thankful to God it wasn’t worse, and yet I still wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. 

What I’ve learned the most about this experience is how important it is to continue to listen to yourself. When I found out I was positive, I immediately felt some guilt for not getting vaccinated. I’ve had pressure from people for and against the vaccine. I know there is so much controversy regarding the topic. However, everyone’s body reacts differently to different substances. I’ve heard stories where people got vaccinated with SMA and had bad reactions. I’ve also heard the opposite, where it was effective. Most importantly, do what you think is best for your body, and at the same time respect and protect those who might be vulnerable to it