Lupus and My “New” Normal

Living with lupus, I had to be very cautious when it came to my health, even before the pandemic hit. The common cold or the flu could affect my immune system negatively, and I could end up in the hospital again.

Even before it was mandated, wearing a mask in public, especially on the subway, was already my "normal." When NYC and the rest of the world went into lockdown, I knew it was serious. I barely left my house, and when I did, it was for doctor's visits or to get my labs completed. No one besides the people I was living with was allowed in the house. Vacations were canceled. I worked from home full time. I was starting to feel like a prisoner in my own home.

The daily walks I would take would be in my backyard, and the people I saw and talked to were through the telephone or computer screens. The news on the television was so grim, and NYC was at the epicenter of it all. I also had lost 2 family members from COVID. Everything was really starting to take a toll on me, mentally and physically.

COVID vaccines

When the vaccines were finally out, I had a long talk with my doctors about the pros and cons. I was very skeptical at first, but in the end, I decided to get it, and it was the best decision for me. I felt it provided me with some sort of protection with the vaccination and was starting to ease up. I started walking around the block. I decided to mobile order a drink from Starbucks. I went grocery shopping with my mom. I was just over the moon about the little things that people took for granted. Of course, I was still extra cautious cause news about the vaccines and COVID was still evolving every day. I double-masked and wore gloves. Hand sanitizers were always in my purse. On some occasions, I even wore a face shield. I could feel the stares, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Feeling on top of the world

These past few months, I was starting to feel like things were falling back in place. I had just gotten married. I had finally spent some time with family and friends. I dined indoors and outdoors. I hopped on the subway several times. I went on vacation and rode a plane to my destination. I went to the movies. I saw 4 Broadway shows in less than a month. It just felt so refreshing, and I was feeling on top of the world.

Holiday plans

Now here we are with 2022 slowly approaching, and my holiday plans are at a standstill. With the news of the Omicron variant, I'm beginning to freak out again. Just when I thought I might have a semi-normal holiday with family and friends, these manic thoughts are running through my mind. The days of spontaneity were long gone. Living with lupus, I was very conscious about my health and my surrounding people. It's a different level of precaution when you have lupus or any other autoimmune disease or comorbidities. The pandemic just added on an extra layer of worry.

Others may say that I worry too much, but it is my health at stake at the end of the day. So, I will do what it takes to ensure that I am healthy. I am due for my booster dose in a couple of weeks, and I know that will bring some sort of relief to me. But, the thoughts will always be there lingering. COVID or not, this is my "new normal," and I'm sure for a lot of others as well.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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