The Long and the Short of My Long Covid Update
Before I get into an update, I wanted to thank everyone that contributed to the GoFundMe established by three of my very good friends. As I've mentioned, I've been both embarrassed and humbled that my name was associated with such a fund raise. I set aside my ego and looked at my family's situation and accepted the notion and donations with as much grace and certainly gratitude as possible. I will get around to thanking everyone that's donated thus far. In terms of friends I am a wealthy man. With mounting symptoms, I was no longer able to manage my job and filed for disability in January. For now, I have been able to maintain health insurance which is critical from a financial standpoint as I've had over $160,000 in medical bills.
One thing I'm working very hard on these days is a bit of a "mind shift" in my long Covid journey. "Mind shift" in the sense that it's been difficult to put a positive spin or outlook on my conditions. Put another way, "snapping out of " a "Debbie Downer" mood. Easier said than done, but I did take a good step forward by recently participating in a two day post-Covid recovery clinic with Mayo Clinic.
The clinic was a two day class that was broken down (no pun intended) into Day I; what is happening to my body and (partially why.) Day II was focused on the building blocks to a healing journey. As I shared on the Today Show in my interview with NBC Correspondent Tom Costello, I spent twelve days at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota this last month. Since then, I've had a number of virtual (Zoom) consults and the class mentioned above. I will head back to Rochester, Minnesota again in May.
My post Covid class included eight others who shared similar heartbreaking journeys as long Covid patients under the care of Mayo Clinic. I will be careful and brief as I don't want to share personal information of others or disclose intellectual property of Mayo. I can say that I am not alone in my journey. Despite Ted Nugent's idiotic claim of doubting Covid deaths (and no, dumb shit Ted, there weren't eighteen precursors to Covid-19. Nineteen refers to the year it showed up--not the number of SARS/Covid predecessors) Covid is very real; both in fatalities and debilitating lives.
I say not alone in that my symptoms of shortness of breath, brain fog, chest pain, fatigue, and new neurological issues (neuropathy) rang familiar with my classmates. Not alone also in the context as there are upwards of 30% (according to Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn of Mayo Clinic) of the over 30 million Covid cases in the US alone that are reeling with the after effects of Covid infection.
Short summary of Day I is that many Long Covid patients suffer from Central Sensitization. Central Sensitization (I'm not a Dr. nor expert) is fundamentally sending the wrong signals from the brain to the body after a viral-type event (in this case Covid) which creates a myriad of symptoms and havoc--the "tornado" I've talked about.
As it relates to my symptoms and journey, I've used the the analogy of Willy Wonka's experimental (and un-released) gum that replicates several portions of a meal as you chew. By comparison, my body has morphed over the months, varies day-to-day, and each day can be a wild roller-coaster of symptoms. Mornings tend to be the best for me and some days lure me into overconfidence as I start the day feeling well, but as I chew Wonka's gum, my body changes just as Ms Beauregarde goes from elation to turning into a giant blueberry.
No, I'm not heading to the Wonka de-juicer, but just when I think I have a day going well; things change. I talk about some of the new changes in the included video from this post.
Getting back to the mind shift, Day II of the class talked about my wellness journey. One of the first fundamentals of that is to stop talking about my symptoms. I'll still update and write about it, but I'm tired of lamenting how my body feels. It's time to heal. There were a variety of topics that were covered in the healing journey; moderate aerobic activity (starting with five minutes a day,) meditation (I've ordered a Muse biometric and meditation device,) breathing exercises, diet, and gratitude.
As part of my healing journey, my wife and I decided to return to sea level. Needing a break from everything, last October I told my Dr. in Denver we were heading to the mountains. Not a good idea as Dr. Goldstein suggested the opposite as he'd had a number of athletes that have done better by spending time at sea level. As a result, you'll see part of my update is from one of my favorite places on earth in Santa Barbara, California. We will spend a few days there then head to San Diego to stay with my Aunt before heading back to Denver for my second Pfizer shot; than back to Mayo in May.
Thanks again for all the love and support. On to "hope" and my healing journey.