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A Long Hauler's Vaccine Experience

I share this 3 weeks after my last dose, and while the side effects are magnified in us #longhaulers (what the public experiences is a fraction of our daily, year-long fights) and each dose required a week of sick leave, I feel that I can provide an update and in response to the headlines stating that the vaccine is “curing” patients.

The short answer is: yes and no. Nothing can cure organ damage other than time, medications, and surgical interventions. Can those with milder cases of Long Covid feel cured? Although we don’t yet know the science, we have to believe patients (experts on their bodies) and say ‘yes’. But for many with #longcovid, it isn’t so simple: it’s a confident “no” or a contemplative “so-so”.

For me, I fall into the latter group: yes, I feel some change, but no, not holistically.

In my case, I’ve noticed a decrease in my severe fatigue*, severe nausea, chronic pain, exertional tolerance (physical and cognitive), gastrointestinal issues, eye redness/pain, chronic migraines, brain fog and POTS. These symptoms haven’t gone away, but they’ve been downgraded from severe to moderate/mild (but I’m cautious since this may only last as long as the antibodies: we don’t yet know).

For me, the symptoms that remain unchanged are the ones caused by the organ damage inflicted by Covid: my vision loss, seizures, tremors, arthritis, severe insomnia, aphasia, brain damage, reproductive pain, and my trouble communicating. All persist.

While I’d love to say that I’m cured, I can instead say that it’s helped me regain some vitality. But again, I’ll say it: chronic illness is chronic, and for reasons doctors have yet to understand (because #ableism).

We may want fast fixes, but in the world of chronic illness, this isn’t a luxury we have.

But what you have as someone unaffected by Covid is a vaccine that protects you from a virus that results in long-term damage, and a mind that can grasp the continued importance of masking and social distancing to protect you from it and its variants, until we reach a state of slowed viral mutations.

And that’s the most lasting fix of all.

*I’m still on 1G Valtrex daily for #mecfs: this may be an improvement source.

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