As the world hides in their homes with freezers full of meat and no shortage of toilet paper, I sit in my backyard in the sun, drinking home made herbal tea, smoking my medicine and writing to you.
For myself, and millions of other chronically ill people, isolating is nothing new. Stocking up on supplies, being told you cannot work anymore and people keeping their distance from you, comes with living a ‘sick’ life. For some, they do not see the outside world for weeks, months or years on end.
‘Stay away from big crowds’, ‘Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer’, ‘If you are sick, do not touch other people’, is what we keep hearing on the news, as well as ‘Immune suppressed people are at high risk’ and ‘Don’t leave the house if you are sick.’
Avoiding big crowds, constant hand washing and avoiding people with the flu is common practice for a chronically ill person. Some of us have such severe fatigue that getting out of bed is the hardest thing we may do all day, let alone being able to leave the house. Feeling a little under the weather? You better keep your runny nose at home, immunocompromised
people are at high risk of catching the common cold.
To those who do not know, immunocompromised (immune suppression) is when your immune system doesn’t work properly and has a hard time fighting off infections, or cannot fight off infections at all. This is usually caused from chronic infections (bacterial or viral), certain cancers, or immune suppressing drugs if you are in need of a transplant.
Someone with a weakened immune system may experience recurrent infections like pneumonia, bronchitis or meningitis, skin infections and digestive issues. Other problems with having a weakened immune system can be autoimmune disorders, inflammation of internal organs
and blood disorders, or abnormalities like anemia. I am no doctor, this information is from WebMd. However, being someone with chronic immunosuppression, I can attest to all of these things.
Not being able to go back to work for the foreseeable future and having to figure out how to pay your bills, is also something that is not new to us. For many, we have lost more than one job out of the blue. Having your world turned upside down and living in fear from being in the constant state of the unknown, is something we know all too well.
Those of us who are immunocompromised, living in isolation and with the fear of the unknown, are excellent at staying ‘healthy.’ Every single day of the year, whether there be an Ebola outbreak, Covid-19 or the common flu going around, we take precautions to stay healthy. Realistically, we do not have a choice. Being immunocompromised raises the risks of us catching all kinds of things.
I personally take eight different kinds of supplements and two antivirals twice a day. I take things like Bosweilia, Curcumin, Quercetin and many other supplements that help keep my body functioning. I also utilize over 20 different herbs and four different kinds of mushrooms, including Psilocybin (aka, magic mushrooms) in micro dose amounts for my memory loss and brain fog.
I drink over three litres of water a day and try my hardest to avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, gluten, dairy and processed foods, to name a few.
Getting lots of rest, eating healthy, light exercise and knowing how to handle stress are also things chronically ill people are well trained in. We have seen every good series on Netflix, have the comfiest beds with all the pillows, have tried every diet you can think of and know a thing or two about yoga and meditation. Yet some daily tasks that may be simple to most
people can be extremely challenging for us some days. It is hard to navigate your day when your body is fighting against itself and you have no idea if you will be able to walk one day or send a text the next.
All in all, the self-isolation guidelines set out to the public right now are not anything us chronically ill folk have to stress over. Our lives revolve around keeping ourselves healthy, because at one point we no longer had a choice. We realized our health was the absolute most important thing in our lives and we had to learn to put ourselves first for the first time.
One piece of advice I can give, from a ‘healthy’ looking 27-year-old, is do not take your health for granted, because one day it may be something you will end up fighting for.
Stay safe out there friends, much love.
-Dana Lee Vlogger at Let’s Talk About It