ME & Me Series: Catching COVID during an ME flare up

People with ME have understandably been worried throughout the pandenic of contracting COVID on top of their already fragile health. Recently Lucy Rhodes, from Saltaire, got in touch and wanted to share her story of testing positive.

“Even the thought of getting COVID was enough to make palms sweat. It took me a while to accept that I fit into the ‘vulnerable’ category and that catching this virus could send me into another year of being housebound and unable to live my life. 

Lockdown itself uprooted anxieties that I thought I had long since dealt with. Being trapped inside, although it was the rest of the world too, felt too similar to the year I had spent bed bound. The cabin fever seemed to set in much more quickly for me than other people. But then the world started to get back to normal slowly, and I was lulled into a false sense of security – or I wanted to be. I still took precautions along with everyone else, but the opportunity to carry on living my life was too attractive and I made the most of it, within the confines of what we were allowed to do. 

Then, after a month long (COVID unrelated) ME flare in September/October I headed back to work weakened and only just recovered and within a few weeks I had contracted COVID. At first, I panicked. Did this mean another month, or potentially longer, recovering? Was my ME going to flare again? Was I going to suffer worse than other people because my ME would exacerbate my symptoms? 

Luckily, I fared no worse than the majority of people. I didn’t feel well, but I didn’t require medical attention. After a few days, it actually felt like a relief. I knew now that if I contracted it again, I was likely to be ok. But on contemplating the reasons for this, I believe the biggest factor that played into me handinging COVID was that I had spent a month housebound. My body was already rested and probably more able to fight it off than it would have been a month previously. I was lucky and everything had aligned perfectly so that I was able to deal with it. 

My take away? We can’t live life fearfully. I was terrified of getting it but in the end I was ok. I might not have been, but I would have dealt with that too. ME takes a lot away from us, and COVID has too, I choose not to let either of these illnesses dictate how I approach life.”

Sadly not everyone has been so fortunate, many people have reported relapses after infection.

Please do get in touch if you’d like to share your story.

If you’d like to hear more of Lucy’s story you can read her experience of living with ME but visiting our ME & Me Series. We’re always interested in hearing more of your experiences.

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