When the coronavirus hit NYC and things began to be shut down, I was facing a conundrum. My doctor had found a growth and scheduled an emergency biopsy surgery. Afraid to be anywhere near a hospital with a deadly virus spreading, a part of me wanted to cancel. But the next available appointment was in five months. Since I knew I couldn’t live with the uncertainty of whether I had cancer or not for five months, I went through with the surgery.
Afterward, though NYC was not yet on PAUSE, I decided to do my own shelter-in-place. I work from home and all influencer events were being canceled. So there was no need to be out and about. But despite my best efforts, five days later, the first symptom occurred. I got a headache that I couldn’t shake with any amount of aspirin. Then came a low-grade fever, body aches, chills and a tummy upset. I knew I had the coronavirus right away. Because what would be the likelihood of me getting sick right when this thing had hit the city.
Fortunately, since it was the first week of NYC being hit, getting tested only involved a trip to my clinic. Three days later, the results came back – positive. Though I already knew, I was very relieved to get a confirmed diagnosis. Because if the all-encompassing sickness I had had not been the coronavirus, it would have meant that I was suffering from something else horrible and could still catch the COVID-19 later.
I cannot begin to describe the fear and dread that sets in when you have a novel virus that there is no cure for, no treatment protocol and people are dying from. However, I thank God, that I got it early enough to get a test and while there were still resources available should I have needed to be hospitalized. It has been more than a month now. Though my lungs don’t feel completely the same, I do feel like I have rounded the bend on this beast of sickness today.
Thus, I wanted to do a post to let readers know what to look for, what I did, and what products I used to ease the symptoms and begin the long healing journey. I am still a bit tired and the doctors say it can be up to six weeks before I am 100%. But I am so grateful that God decided that it was not my time to leave this plane and to give me another life. I will save my spiritual feelings about the virus for another post. This one is more focused on the practical things you can do if you get the virus. I am not a medical professional, so these are strictly my personal tips on what helped me.
Take This Virus Seriously And Stay Home
I am going to start by saying, don’t be a covidiot, like Arielle Charnas, the vapid, self-absorbed influencer from Something Navy, who made headlines and destroyed her brand, by posting herself and her family out and about after she allegedly tested positive for COVID_19. Everyone needs to stay at home to eradicate this viral monster. EVERYONE unless you are an essential worker. Influencing, while now a vital part of marketing, is not essential work. I may have gotten the virus from a fellow journalist, who I saw on the same day as my surgery. He claimed he had it and still attended the International Restaurant Show, while feeling sick! With testing still limited, my doctor said that every New Yorker with flu symptoms should act as if they have the virus and shelter-in-place. I have only been out four times once my initial 14-day quarantine ended and that was only to go to the pharmacy and local pick-ups. I was heavily masked and away from people at all times. Even though I am now on Day 36, I plan to still stay in as much as possible. Because there simply is no need for any of us to be flitting about till this thing passes. In addition, since the assumption is that everyone either has, or has been exposed to the virus, I am wearing a mask during the few times I do need to be out.
Focus Solely On Your Healing
The coronavirus is a tsunami of sickness for most people. It is a different thing every day and we all seem to be getting different symptoms. For example, I got a rash on my torso and even a scalp rash. The sickness itself coupled with the uncertainty of whether you are going to be one of the people, who need to go on a ventilator that you hear we don’t have enough of, or die, adds to the stress of this thing. So I recommend doing healing meditations – there are tons on Spotify and YouTube – and focusing solely on your healing. I listened to a lot of positive talks and meditations, like the one below, from Marianne Williamson.
Because hearing about the deaths of other people from COVID_19 and watching the spectacle playing out every day in the WH was upsetting and not conducive to healing, I had to start limiting news reports. Skip the Trump press briefings, which are full of lies and angry rants that will only piss you off. Whatever you do, avoid watching YouTube and other videos about what the virus can do to you. Because what you think about you bring about. Again, just focus on your own healing.
Keep The Virus From Getting Into Your Lungs
The most important thing you can do is to keep this virus out of your lungs at all costs! Do everything to avoid that. The people that are being hospitalized and dying are having their lungs attacked by this horrible thing. So I slept on my tummy to make sure nothing drained into my throat and headed towards my lungs. I also coughed up every teeny bit of phlegm and cleared it from my throat, as soon as I felt it. Blow your nose frequently and rinse it with water. Gargle with saltwater.
Another thing I did that helped is regular steaming. Just put a pot of water on the stove, add some water, orange peels, and peppermint oil and bring to a boil. Put a towel over your head and breathe through both your nose and your mouth. This was particularly helpful when I had the severe sore throat that came with the virus. Regularly breathing the minty steam into my throat for two days virtually eliminated my sore throat.
Supplement with Care
When I first got the virus, it was my natural inclination to start supplementing with everything I could find that boosts the immune system and stops inflammation. This turned out to be wrong-headed. Certain supplements, like Echinacea and Elderberry Syrup, have been found to possibly cause an unwanted immune response. So I advise against over supplementing. The virus is just too new to know what works and it seems some things actually are more harmful than helpful. I may have prolonged my illness by taking too many things early on.
So what should you take? My favorite holistic doctors, Dr. William Martin and Dr. Andrew Weill recommend Astragulus, garlic and Vitamin C. I use the Gaia Herbs liquid form of Astragalus and am alternating between Ester-C Immune Support and BodyBio Vitamin C Crystals for Vitamin C supplementation. Be careful and only take the recommended doses. Because I got a nasty, unintentional, tummy cleanse from consuming too much Vitamin C! I also took the Zarbee’s Naturals 99% Honey Cough Soothers to soothe my cough and sore throat. Since there is nothing to cure the virus or prescribe for it, doctors are mostly saying to take cold and flu meds and/or Tylenol. Ibuprofen can cause that same immune response that Dr. Weill said to avoid, so stay away from it.
Heat Is Your Best Friend
I was so cold and my chills were so severe, especially at night, that I pumped my heat at 80 to 83 at all times. You do not want to let the virus turn into pneumonia because you got cold while damp in the night. Hot showers and hot baths, as well as the aforementioned steaming, seem to help. While I disagree with the moron in the White House that once the weather gets hot the virus will totally just disappear, heat does seem to help when you have it.
This Is Not The Time For Family or Frenemy Drama
Dealing with a potentially deadly disease forces you to take stock on all the aspects of your life. I realized that my main issue has always been the people around me and their negative influence on my life.
Times of adversity bring out the best or the worst in people. When I got my diagnosis, I notified all of my family members and friends in the event that I did not make it. It was very interesting to see, who stepped to the plate with support and who saw this as an opportunity to try to kick me when I was down. Few were surprises. The same people, who were not good people before the virus, are not good people now. I had to block my oldest nephew for a while. There was also the back and forth and abusive female friend, who stood me up as my escort from my surgery then tried to claim she had the virus though she didn’t have the symptoms and wasn’t tested. There was a passive-aggressive friend, who left a nasty comment on my Facebook and IG posts, implying I was out when I should not have been. Then worst of all, there was the hater disguised as a concerned friend, who brought up some past drama, claimed that she on multiple occasions sat around while other influencers lied and talked about me behind my back. She then tried to undermine my self-esteem and plant seeds of doubt in me about my business. Click, blocked and canceled! The virus shone a spotlight on all of these shady people.
This sort of drama is a no-go. You are in a battle for your very life. This virus does so many different things that you need to keep 100% of your attention on fighting it. Stress from family and frenemies could literally kill you. My temperature went up and I felt generally unwell after these incidences. These people are never being allowed back into my life. Nor should you allow people, who are not 100% for you in a time of crisis, back into your Life once the crisis blows over. Even if you do not have the virus, use this stay-at-home time to really look at who you have around you.
Do What You Can To Keep Your Pets At Bay
I am worried about my cats. I kept them away, as much as possible. But Yoko is so attached to me that when I went away for a few days, she became sick. So I didn’t want to risk exiling her from my room completely and creating emotional distress. That would have been more likely to make her sick than the virus. I had to force her to sleep at the bottom or extreme side of the bed instead of cuddling with me. She was not thrilled but at least got to be with me, like she has been for her whole life. I washed my hands every time I gave either cat a pet. The verdict is still out on whether our pets can get the virus from us and there are conflicting reports. There have only been about three cases of human-to-pet transmission. But there were reports of a big cat getting COVID_19 from a handler at the Bronx Zoo. So my best advice is to do what you can to at least keep your fur babies out of your face and wash your hands before playing with, grooming or petting them.
Utilize All Available Resources
There are some lifesaving organizations that will help you through these times.
The number one service that was instrumental in helping me was Invisible Hands. They usually deliver food and medicine to the elderly. But they have pivoted to help people with COVID_19. The system is easy and wonderful. You ask for a delivery on their site listing the items and preferred store. A volunteer picks your items up, delivers them to your home and you pay the bill via Venmo.
The devastation of COVID_19 is not only to our physical health, most of us have taken a substantial financial hit and there is no end in sight. Since my primary business is small business client and event-based and my other business is a cannabis start-up, the spread of this virus and subsequent lockdown shut down everything for me. Almost completely recovered from the virus itself, I am now dealing with mounting bills. If you need help, do not be too ashamed to ask for it. Post to your Facebook and Twitter with any needs. Some truly kind friends and strangers each separately sent a week’s worth of groceries and money to help me out while I was sick. Since so many of us are out of work, Congress passed the CARES ACT, which provided both extended unemployment benefits and SNAP. Both are taking weeks to get through to so, as soon as you are up to it, apply for everything you can. If you are a female business owner in NYC, check out both the SBA and the NYWCC have info on grants and loans to help.
On Day 36 of this crisis and because of the mess that the WH has created, I am still living in uncertainty with a little bit of fear. The whole year seems to be canceled. Finances are tight since I can’t coordinate any preview events.
In addition, COVID_19 is still so new that my doctor said they do not know what the long term effects will be, have a protocol for aftercare or know if we are immune once we have recovered from it. The thought of thousands upon thousands of Americans dying due to the incompetence of the narcissistic moron in our White House, the GOP and his supporters’ inability to take this virus seriously, is also weighing heavily on my mind. I cry daily over the deaths of my fellow Americans and worry for our future. The whole year seems to be canceled. Finances are tight since I can’t coordinate any preview events.
But I am hopeful that this darkest will soon pass. From the increasing awareness of the madness and ineptitude of the Emperor with no clothes in our White House to the clear need for Medicare-For-All to the now exposed need to better prepare for pandemics to the need to take better care of ourselves to the exposure of the rampant racism that has put people of color at a greater risk of dying from the virus – this pandemic has pulled the carper back on the many things about our society that need to change. Hopefully, now that they have been brought to light, we will be able to make those changes. I am just sorry so many of my fellow Americans are getting sick, dying, losing their businesses and/or jobs and facing other horrors for the nation to wake up.