We are living in unprecedented times. Years from now, references will be made to COVID-19. Numbers of those afflicted and those we lost will live on in print. Future generations will learn how phrases such as “social distancing” and “stop the spread” originated. This pandemic will leave a lasting legacy.
I envision future generations learning about this period. I want them to grasp more than mere numbers, more than factoids and percentiles. There exists a component that cannot be quantified — a force more powerful than any reference book can ever convey.
And that force is the human spirit.
Amid the sad chaos of COVID-19, there is humanity. I see how doctors, nurses, first responders, truckers, grocery store workers, and essential workers shine. Their choice to help our community lifts me and inspires me to do the same for others.
I want to contribute to the solution. I have to. Energy begets energy, both negative and positive. Each day I make a decision to live with the positive.
Yet, I struggle. Increased anxiety and fatigue challenge my thoughts. I notice how both of these affect manifestations of my disease. And in the absence of Rituxan, I realize how much this medication has helped quell my symptoms. I see my body change as a direct result of our new reality. My manifestation of stress, while unconscious, is profound. Sleepless nights are followed by days of restless fatigue. This is not sustainable.
I cannot control COVID-19. I can, however, control how I choose to respond to its presence. I know this. I live this. Each day, I utilize tools that allow me to thrive with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The presence of coronavirus has impacted my life in ways I cannot control. I refuse to let it dominate my spirit.
I make a concerted effort to become educated but not inundated with the news. I reach out to others because I understand isolation and its effects. I write cards and send emails. I check in with those in my community and offer support. In doing so, I am reminded of what matters most: Humanity, in the throes of an evil invader, is prevailing.
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