It’s February 25th, which means that it is the one year anniversary of me receiving my first Covid vaccine shot. I was driving down Redwood Road on my way home, and got a text from my friend Emily. She sent a link that stated that the State of Utah Department of Health vaccination criteria had been updated, and I was now eligible to receive my shot. My BMI was 43, and those with a BMI over 40 were able to schedule an appointment immediately.
As soon as I got home, I booked an appointment. Because the news had just been released, and the chaos of all of the different vaccine administration site websites made it difficult to book a slot, my appointment was 90 later in Provo. Taylor was in town that day, and he was grateful that we’d have the reassurance of my protection from the vaccine in a few short hours. I cruised down I-15 with a smile on my face, knowing that this day that I had anticipated and prayed for was finally within reach.
I’ve spent the majority of my life (since the upper single digits) in some type of weight loss attempt. My oldest posts on my other (severely neglected) blog Beauty and the Bypass talk about some of the desperate things I did to try to get to a healthy weight. It felt surreal to know that I was eligible to get my shot ahead of most other Utahns because I had failed and so many weight loss attempts. In future posts, I’ll talk more about starting a new diet and exercise regimen to drop 50 pounds. But on February 25th, I was guiltily grateful that my failure became my fortune.
Once I got to the Department of Health building in Provo, the process was really smooth. Admins and nurses were so helpful. Verified demographics, showed ID, moved to the next station. The nurse told me that she would be administering Moderna, and I suddenly smiled. After researching the different vaccines under consideration for approval, Moderna was my shot of choice. I would have taken Pfizer happily, and J&J/Janssen was not approved for EUA yet.
The longer I go along in life, the more respect I have for Dolly Parton. I grew up with her being the butt of jokes, and I didn’t know her other than big boobs and singing. But she is an extremely charitable woman, and I want to be more like her. She donated one million dollars to Vanderbilt University to help develop what would become the Moderna vaccine (aka Spikevax). I don’t think that vaccinations suddenly give out superpowers, but I left the clinic feeling more joyous, hopeful, and ready to change the world.
Now that I’m five weeks into my Covid illness, I have wondered hundreds of times if I would be here without vaccines. Between a many-colored health history, a list of comorbidities, and autoimmune conditions, I was a perfect target for a coronavirus to strike. And because I got sick during the Omicron surge, the treatment options I had for the acute illness period were limited. I very literally missed my chance at hassle-free access to monoclonal antibodies by one day. Omicron was stealthy enough that two-thirds of the mAb options were plucked away. A future post will talk about the fight I put up to get access to my mAb treatment.
As my immediate family members got sick with Covid, my anxiety grew.
I knew I was next.
The crushing migraine developed.
A variety of symptoms increased in quantity and severity.
My shortness of breath increased. And eventually I tested positive.
I was prescribed new nebulizer vials, a rescue inhaler, and a solu-medrol dose pack. I checked my pulse ox often. I managed the symptoms that I could take an over-the-counter pill for. The classic Covid symptoms began to wane, but the migraine persisted.
Today is day 33 of that Covid migraine. I’m appropriately medicated it, but the fact remains that I’ve had a headache with accompanying symptoms to upend my life for over a month. All during the allegedly “mild” variant surge.
I don’t know with 100% certainty that Moderna saved my life. But I’m grateful that it’s the shot I got.