I’ve Learned a Few Pandemic Lessons, but Not How to French Braid

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by Michelle Gonzaba |

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Strength in Weakness column by Michelle Gonzaba / grief

Like most people with myasthenia gravis (MG) and other health conditions, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home over the last year. During this time, I’ve tried out several new hobbies with differing degrees of success.

I’ve gained some new career skills via Google, yet I still can’t get a grasp on French braiding my own hair. I can sing along to various commercials against my will — especially this one — but I quickly give up on sourdough bread after reading just one recipe.

Although some of these skills may come in handy, I am ready for how things used to be. But before I can start to relax more, I needed to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to news reports, vaccine availability has been all over the place. In the United States, where I live, most adults 18 and older can now receive a shot.

Since I’ve been lucky enough to stay at home during the pandemic, I’ve waited as long as possible to get the vaccine. When I say I don’t go anywhere, I genuinely mean it. But the moment my state opened up vaccine shots for anyone older than 18, I rushed to book my spot.

After refreshing three different devices over two hours, I finally was able to schedule an appointment.

Initially, I felt relief. So many people have commented about their inability to find a vaccine appointment, so I immediately felt grateful. But the next day, my anxiety kicked into overdrive.

I’ve spoken a bit about my post-traumatic stress disorder due to a myasthenic crisis. This stress, combined with my normal levels of anxiety, made me incredibly nervous to get the vaccine. Even after reading several articles about the vaccine’s efficacy, I still felt incredibly nervous about getting it.

I read MG websites that discussed the vaccine. I spoke to my neurologist about it, and she strongly recommended it. I tried to meditate, but I fell asleep. I attempted breathing exercises, but the woodpecker outside my window distracted me. I did everything I could to relax before my appointment, but nothing could keep my mind from racing.

I shouldn’t be surprised that my dramatics led to a whole lot of nothing.

When I arrived at the vaccination site, the wait time was so short I didn’t even finish filling out the paperwork before the doctor was rolling up my sleeve. I didn’t have time to be afraid.

After the shot, I waited 15 minutes for a possible allergic reaction, drove home, and had only a sore arm to remember the shot.

The older I get, the more I realize the impact MG has had on me, both physically and mentally. While my doctors prepared me for the physical aspects, no one told me how much it would affect my mental health. In new situations, such as getting the vaccine, the “what ifs” always spin out of control in my mind.

What if it triggers my MG? I wonder. What if I end up back in the hospital?

Nevertheless, although the stress has become overwhelming at times, this time, I made it through getting the vaccine without any major complaints. And from this experience, I learned that no matter what causes our worry, we have to try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, getting the COVID-19 vaccine was my first step toward one day returning to a “normal” prepandemic life. Now all I need to do is learn how to French braid — then I’ll be ready for anything.

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Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Comments

David Riklan avatar

David Riklan

My Myasthenia Gravis (MG) symptoms started at the age of 51, I have had countless plasma exchanges as my veins are bad. I also needed Hickman lines inserted. I have been on azathioprine, mycophenolate (CellCept), methotrexate and none have worked. I'm currently done with my herbal remedy I purchased from multivitamincure. org which has totally cured my condition with a surprise after almost four months of their usage, I was discouraged and never thought I would be myasthenia gravis (MG) free today,to me the best way to get rid of this condition is multivitamincure. org herbal recommendation because all medications I used never worked include mycophenolate (CellCept).

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