One piece of Covid/autoimmune life that I have really enjoyed has been connecting with others. Although my journey has been a long one, it has given me the opportunity to meet people around the world who have been suffering as I have – and many, much worse. I also have learned so much about being a Covid survivor from the people who became afflicted in the spring. Their knowledge has been incredibly insightful to those of us infected since. I cannot imagine how terrifying it must have been to suffer alone with so few options for treatment or answers.
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of sharing my Covid-19 story with the Spondylitis Association support group in San Diego. I had meet one of the group leaders when he attended my support group presentation in October. It was great to share my experience with a new group of people. I also appreciated the work many of them have been doing to research how Covid has impacted arthritis patients – specifically those taking different types of medications. Zoom has made these meetings possible, and the hard work of patients continues to bring collaboration and answers.
Both my daughter and I take biologics for our arthritis. My daughter takes Stelara and I take Remicade. We were encouraged, and able, to keep taking our medications throughout our illnesses. Many doctors have opined that continuing the medications might have been life saving. Biologics are incredibly strong therapeutics used to reduce inflammation in the body. Most medical professionals have seen the obvious connections between Covid response and the body’s inflammation. Internists, rheumatologists, and pulmonologists have all commented how continuing taking our biologic medications were likely lifesaving for us. So although the medications make use more susceptible to infection, taking the medications might save us from the worst of the disease. We are not certain if this is true, but considering the amount of rheumatological drugs being used to fight Covid, it seems there is at least a correlation.
I was excited to receive the most recent issue of Spondylitis Plus magazine and see my face! I am so honored that they were able to take my story, a patient with Ankylosing Spondylitis who contracted Covid, and share it with AS patients everywhere. I am hopeful that my experience is informative to others, and also brings hope.
Yesterday, I wrapped up a series of phone calls and Google doc exchanging with the Arthritis Foundation. They also will be using my story to share with arthritis patients around the world. It was great to update my story now that I am over 3 months out. I also appreciated having the chance to work with the magazine editor and learn more about her process to bring this to print, web, and advertising. I am so thankful that what I went through can potentially help others.