MS & Coronavirus

Coronavirus and Multiple Sclerosis

Coronavirus Pandemic & MS

Here we are in April of 2020 in the middle of a global pandemic. The state of Washington is under a stay-at-home order as are many other states (but not all). It is absolutely crazy to me how unprepared we are for the scenario unfolding. I always believed that the United States would be prepared for something like this, with what feels like endless resources and top healthcare systems, and we failed to have enough of what we needed most: masks and cleaning supplies; and failed to have enough of what we think we needed most: toilet paper.

Something that I did not expect was how calm I am about the fact that there is a deadly virus spreading rapidly around the world. And, that in the United States, it started in the city neighboring the one I live in. Maybe part of it is that the world is finally taking sickness seriously. Anyone who knows me knows how much I hate cold and flu season. I dread getting sick and I hate how quickly people go out and about when they start to feel a bit better. I am all about the “stay home” memo when you get sick. I personally feel like people should be forced to stay home for 14 days when they get the flu. I am so serious about protecting others that back in December and January when I was going to my OBGYN appointments, I would walk into the office and put on a mask that they had out for those who were sick. I had several doctors and nurses question and almost laugh at me, for wearing a mask just because I had a cold. They would say, “oh, we all get sick, don’t worry.” The last thing I wanted to do was get my OB sick and have him pass it on to someone else’s baby or even Audrey. But, that is clearly just me being concerned about getting people sick. I know before Coronavirus was around people NEVER wore masks when they were sick. Maybe it will become more of a standard practice moving forward.

Underlying Health Conditions

There has been a lot of warning to the public to stay home especially if you have an underlying health condition or if you are over the age of 60. However, to me, it feels as if there has been more special care put on those over the age of 60. Being that Costco’s special hours are only for those with physical disabilities and for the elderly and that I was scolded by a store clerk at Haggen for shopping at 6 AM on a Tuesday during senior days, even though it isn’t supposed to start until 7 AM. But, don’t worry, the Woodinville community really impressed me a few weeks ago. I thought I had successfully ordered toilet paper through Costco online, but my order was canceled. I put out a request on our Facebook neighborhood page to see if anyone was going that didn’t need toilet paper and could pick us up a pack. Within minutes I had multiple offers to pick some up and offers of people just wanting to give us toilet paper that they had. We were about to be the most well-stocked house on the block. I turned down a few offers, but it was awesome to see strangers caring so much. 

Since I have two underlying health conditions, MS and asthma, I am trying to be cautious. My new normal routine is to go to the grocery store once a week at 6 AM. By the way, there are usually only about 5 other people shopping in the store with me at that time, so it feels worth it. I haven’t been to Costco since early February before Audrey was born. We have been taking a small risk on ordering take-out once and a while and getting a drive-through coffee, but to me, the risk feels low. 

MS and Coronavirus 

Since the start of Coronavirus, I have been trying to pay close attention to what they are finding out about how it impacts those living with Multiple Sclerosis. Wanting to be extra cautious and careful knowing that there isn’t a whole lot known about the virus and I have an underlying medical health condition. Based on what I have found out, having Multiple Sclerosis does not make me more susceptible to getting the virus from someone else. There is an exception for some people who are taking specific disease-modifying therapies, but I am not taking any at this time. However, the virus does pose more of a risk to my long-term health than the average healthy individual. This virus, along with any other virus, puts my body at risk of activating my MS symptoms. That would be the main reason I wouldn’t want to catch Coronavirus. My goal is to try to keep myself healthy and avoid anything that would put my body in stress and activate my MS symptoms. Activating my MS symptoms does not necessarily mean I have a full-blown relapse, but it does mean that my MS is getting worse and I have lesions that are getting bigger and losing nerve function. I clearly don’t want my MS to relapse or to be active. I want my disease to be dormant for as long as possible.

Possible Coronavirus

I thought this mask might save me from getting Luke’s sickness back in January even though he threw up on me. Turns out, he should have been the one wearing a mask!

On the plus side of the stay-at-home order, our family has been healthy the past two months. Before Audrey was here it seemed like someone in our house was sick constantly this year. Between Luke picking sicknesses up at church and Mitchell getting sick from work, we were being bombarded. To be honest, we are wondering if what Luke picked up in January was the Coronavirus. Luke was incredibly sick for 3 days with a high fever. I assumed it was the stomach flu because the first day he threw up, unfortunately on me, a couple of times. Even after his fever broke, he was pretty lethargic for a couple of weeks. It took me about a week before I started getting sick. At first, I just thought I was getting a cold. Then, it got worse. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I didn’t throw up like Luke did, but I could hardly stay awake. My temperature never went above 100 either, that is the only part that makes me question what we had, but I felt horrible. I remember by lunch time one day I couldn’t keep my eyes open. All I wanted to do was sleep and it felt like I couldn’t get enough sleep. There were several days that I just layed on the couch watching Mitchell and Luke play. Thankfully, Luke wasn’t back to 100% either and so he wanted to read a lot of books. I also experienced a bit of achiness and overall just feeling like crap. But, it didn’t feel like a normal cold or the normal flu. It took Mitchell over a week to get sick from us. Luke and I were doing much better by the time Mitchell finally got sick. His experience was similar to mine where all he wanted and needed to do was sleep. He actually went and got tested right away for the regular flu and it came back negative. So, we may never know if it was just a terrible cold, or if it was the Coronavirus. My understanding is that the Coronavirus impacts everyone a bit differently. 

Either way, we have no way of knowing for sure if what we had was the Coronavirus, and we don’t want to risk getting sick with it. Hopefully, we can continue to stay healthy.

Take Care and Stay Home

I know that there are many people that are ready for this stay-at-home order to be over. Myself included! I hope that everyone is being safe and cautious. This is not a virus that I would want to “take a chance” with even if I didn’t have an underlying health condition. It is also important to not get sick to protect those who are risking their lives to save ours. Stay home, go outside, and be gracious to others.

Loving this special family time at home.







One response to “Coronavirus and Multiple Sclerosis”

  1. Debbie Avatar

    I love ❤️ your blog Rachel. God’s Peace to you.