I really don't know where to start! I know that I always, or most of the time, start with that same phrase. It's been extremely hard to deal with this pandemic, to see the suffering that I have witnessed, and live myself!!! This has got to be the two hardest years of my life, not only for myself, but for many I know, especially people that are living with HIV or affected by it, because we are already dealing with one pandemic and now Covid is the second one. Every time it seems like we're seeing a light, another mutation comes along.
I kept this a secret before, but on 31 December, 2021, I started getting the symptoms of Covid. Omicron was the mutation and I didn't have a booster. It's incredible that the health department came to my home because I could not risk it due to my compromised immune system and still I have not gotten the results to this day. Thankfully I am over the symptoms, or at the end of Covid I hope. I still feel a little fatigue, but thankfully it did not attack my respiratory system. It's ironic that I have spent almost two years isolated, buying groceries online, everything delivered to my home to prevent any of these mutations, and on the 31st, two of my friends wanted me to not be alone again by choice. One of them had Covid and didn't know it. So you see, no matter how much I take care of myself, they came to my home.
I believe that we are all going to contract it sooner or later, and the most important thing is that we take care of our health, especially our mental health, because it has not been easy. It has not only attacked my body and other people's bodies to the point that they have died or passed on to the light, but many people are suicidal, have relapsed on drugs or started to take drugs, or consume some things they would never think they would do. The depression is real, the anxiety is real, the fear is real, but we have to find a way to not let ourselves perish.
It makes me so sad to know that so many think that this is a joke or are not getting vaccinated for whatever reason. We have to understand the vaccines have been around us since I was a child or since I could remember: mumps, smallpox, polio, and some more I can't remember. We could not attend school if we did not have that card that said we were vaccinated, and keep in mind that, for example, with a smallpox vaccine, I still got it at the age of six, but it was less strong. So no, having a vaccine does not mean that you are not going to contract it, it just makes it less harsh on the body.
My biggest fear, Omicron, the disgusting mutation of COVID-19, thankfully did not attack my respiratory system, throat, bronchial area, lungs; my symptoms were severe headaches, high fevers, body aches, extreme fatigue, and dizziness. And through all of this I kept it quiet, I did not make it public because unfortunately, my mother lives in Columbia, and I did not and I will not worry her because she cannot do anything about it so I had to act like everything was OK. I couldn't have anyone help me because I was contagious,so with fevers and all, I had to do what I always do: take care of myself by myself. It was not easy, especially with a fever. I didn't know what was going to happen or if I was going to get worse. Only maybe three people knew, but still they really could not do anything, so I did what I had to do: drink lots of water, take my medicine, take DayQuil and NyQuil, Tylenol for the fever, and even with no appetite I would eat three times a day.
I read today that there is a new variant of Omicron. This demoralizes me, but I understand it's just like the flu or even HIV, of which I am a 33-year long-term survivor. For those that don't know, they will always mutate. I just hope and pray that we will be free from this and that it is going to be around like the flu, that we always have something to protect us and make it less severe.
Ironically, these last two years my bloodwork has been the best it's ever been. my T cells went up and my virus is undetectable. My organs are in optimal shape, even my cholesterol is OK. Basically I got a clean bill of health. Now I ask myself, how could this be possible? Due to my depression, I have not been doing what I'm supposed to do. You see, I was the perfect patient: almost 100% adherence, I worked out at least four times a week, and when I say work out, I mean three hours every time I went. I eat healthy, no junk food, no sodas, no pizza and just things that were not healthy for me to eat. But I said fuck it, and I have been eating anything and everything including sodas. I am not going to say that I have been very adherent to my medicine, because due to depression and so many other factors like anxiety, stress, PTSD, and just so much more I am not ready to talk about, I feared my labs to the point that in 2020 and 2021, I was basically forced by my doctors to come in and do labs. In 2020, I felt that they were going to be the worst labs of my life because I knew I was not doing the right thing for my body, and to my surprise, my T cells went up more than they have ever been. Everything was pretty good, I mean excellent, and I said, "Oh my God, thank you!" because I really know what happens when you are not doing what you're supposed to do. So in 2021 I said to myself, "This is going to change."
And then came the vaccines, more hope, the boosters... But it seems to me like it got worse, so that prevented me to travel, which was part of my life, especially going to see my mother, who is my rock and my everything. That, by far, has been one of the hardest things I have faced, because, you see, I barely have family where I live, so I have learned to be in solitude, and that's OK because one of my biggest fears was to be sick and alone. I overcame it, but I miss my mom, I really do, and I'm hopeful I will see her soon by any means necessary.
In 2021, I was worse than I was in 2020. I don't know if it was self-sabotage or maybe my depression got stronger, my anxiety and PTSD were worse. I'm still facing some of the things, but I am much better. Because I have always been knocked down, but you best believe that I will get up over and over again. And of course, my worst fear happened on December 31, but I already had been forced again to do labs. So basically I've been doing labs once a year since. It's not good, but I was afraid because I knew I was self-destructing in some form or fashion. And to my surprise as I dropped to the floor on my knees crying and thanking God for this wonderful news that my doctor Dr. Sarah Long, who is an amazing HIV specialist and human gave me (via Tele health - and by the way this last appointment she was also with Covid - it’s really scary)... but anyway, I had the best, I mean the best bloodwork of my whole entire life! Now you explain to me, how is it possible that the worst two years of my life as far as taking care of my health I've had the best labs? I mean not working out, eating trash, not doing what I'm supposed to do, and not being totally adherent with it, which is a shame and an embarrassment to me, but I understand I'm human... My T cells went even more up, my cholesterol went even more down and was normal again, optimal organs, optimal health... I just don't understand. Maybe my belief in the prayers of my mother, my own prayers, the prayers of others around the world who take care and love me, people that I work with, they saw that something was wrong. I can tell you that I'm doing better and I'm starting to take care of myself better, but still I would like to know how it is possible that when I did everything right my T cells wouldn't go up, my cholesterol was always up, and again, I have a clean bill of health. Maybe it's just God helping me so I can be strong and I was and I am. So when I got Covid Omicron, my immune system fought it even without a booster.
I will be doing my booster very soon, along with my flu shot, and I'm going to try to get back on track and be the Maria that I have always been, or better yet, a new and stronger Maria with more wisdom, with more life experience, and more light and love to give. Thank you to those that always pray for me or send me love and light; they have stuck with me through thick and thin. At my best and worst times, I am optimistic, but I am a realist. We need to continue to make our immune systems stronger, and by this I'm not saying do everything wrong and you'll get better results. You see, I believe I was lucky these last two years. I am very blessed because the outcome could've really been worse.
We have to continue riding the bike until the chain breaks. As I say, I really hate Covid with a passion. I have had so much loss and so many have lost their loved ones and it irks me to see people laughing like we're stupid for believing that it exists. I worry for my family and my loved ones here in the state of Florida, the state that I represent as an advocate. People do not take this seriously. I will say most people they do not want to wear a mask, they are in clubs without them and many don't get the vaccines - they think it's a little cold. And all of this is supported by a horrific governor. DeSantis has blood on his hands, but that's between him and God, there's nothing I can do about it. To each his own, but remember: it may not affect you in a harsh way, but other people are not as lucky and they die.
It has been a long time since I did a long blog about how I feel, or better yet how I feel about certain things, but today is the first day that I will start blogging again and venting, because by showing what I feel inside, people that relate to me find Hope. And I also find hope in those that are experiencing the same things. Please take care of your mental health. I know I say it over and over and I have to practice what I preach, so I will make my first appointment with a psychotherapist who specializes in trauma because I have so much trauma. I will blog about it in upcoming blogs., We all need therapy because as a collective we're going through it! I have never seen so many people depressed, especially a lot of young people, people that have committed suicide, a lot of young people, and we must hold each other and help each other. We must not ostracize people that are hurting. They don't want to show their faces, they're basically in extreme isolation or they do not know how to ask for help. Just be there, as this is what we should do with our brothers and sisters. An Activist, as I've always said, is an actionist; we serve by actions. Most of the time we don't see what we do because everything is behind the scenes. I believe that those blessings that I received is a way that God said, "Maria, I know you're suffering like many are. Here is a gift for you. You have very good health for when hard times calm." And I'm truly thankful. So I will continue living one day at a time, getting outside more, even if it gives me social anxiety, of course, with all precautions.
But you see, I cannot perish alone. I have a lot to give and I do online, but also in person, because we all need human contact, to hug someone, holding your hand, someone telling you it's going to be OK, physically and so much more. Until the next time, I wanna wish everyone love and light.
Maria HIV Mejia