How the Pandemic is Working in Our Favor

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Lara Govendo

In a world that's disconnected by a pandemic, we have to find the positives when we can. It’s been a challenging year of uncertainty, change, and underlying fear. This has especially been the case in the CF community as we are more at risk and immune-compromised. We have all felt this and been affected on a deep level.

I live alone. My immune system is suppressed on purpose because of my double lung transplant. It’s felt scarier than before transplant when I knew my immune system could fight even though it was already taxed. Now, my immune system can’t get above a certain level or else my body will reject my new lungs. So every virus, cold, or illness is a risk. Covid-19 is even more because it’s new and unknown. Me and every other person with CF/transplant can’t partake in the “herd immunity” illusion of control. Each step is calculated for us.

At the beginning of the pandemic it was terrifying. I shut into my house and didn’t leave for a month. My sister and friends ensured I had groceries dropped off. All forms of medical interventions were postponed to avoid the hospital. I was utterly and completely alone. It was a very strange reality to be thrown into. It didn’t feel real at first. It was as if a horror film was taking place before my very eyes and I was stuck in the middle. A nightmare I couldn’t wake up from…

Processing these strong emotions was difficult at first, especially because I was alone. I spent a few weeks depressed and anxious that the virus was going to penetrate the walls of my house and attack me. We’ve all had our unrealistic forms of imagination, right? Nobody and nothing felt safe. But I was safe in the confines of my walls, thankfully.

In true Lara fashion, I had to pull myself out of this dark space mentally and emotionally. In true CFLF fashion, I used exercise as the main source of activating this. Working out has always been an effective way of jumpstarting my journey out of the dark hole of depression.

Starting with what I had at home, I hopped on my exercise bike and did the strength training I had done in the past. I’ve learned through pulmonary rehab before my transplant, one-on-one physical therapy, and various influences in my life how to strengthen my muscles without leaving my house. I also partook in the free classes offered by the CFLF’s STROLO University and Beam CF. I had to drag myself out of the sticky stuckness of complacency.

Isolation forced me to be intentional. I had to be more deliberate with my time, energy, and social engagements. Participating in various interactions has had to be carried out by me. With the lack of in-person meet-ups, I’m the one that has to hop online for whatever I’m participating in, it’s not like I have to be at a certain place by a certain time. It’s actually sparked a stronger commitment in me, which has been a pleasant surprise. It’s much easier to cancel when it’s in-person if I’m not feeling well, now with the gift of technology I can attend meetings on my couch without any pants. What a time to be alive!

Relationships have become more authentic, I’ve noticed. There have been more facetime chats with friends and family during this season than ever. Scheduling phone chats has made a comeback, which is such a lovely treat. And I’ve been able to build more community through common interests such as writing groups, book clubs, and faith conversations. There have been so many opportunities and people that have made me feel less alone in this season of life. Truly grateful.

What’s been most interesting during this season is the absolute revolution of the virtual world. Before the pandemic, everything was geared towards those that could attend events or classes in person. This often left those of us with chronic illness out because our health is unreliable. I’ve signed up for exercise classes before and had to cancel or back out because of hospitalizations, pain, bad CF/transplant days, etc. With everyone stuck at home, communities were called to action quickly. They revolutionized the way they had done life before to tailor their services to everyone because we are all in the same situation.

Want to take an art class in NYC? Easy, sign up online and attend. Want to take a tour of the National Parks? Click here to see them virtually. Want to attend educational classes or courses on any topic your heart desires? Wonderful, click here, pay online, and complete them on your own schedule.

This has opened up a whole new world that we can finally partake in. Courses that are available forever, can be unpacked on our timeline, and are readily accessible with the click of a button. A world we can access even if we are in the hospital, sick on the couch, or unable to leave our homes due to infection risks. We’ve been waiting our whole lives to be included in the world everyone else lives in.

For years our tightknit CF/transplant community has been begging for inclusion, who knew that it would take a pandemic for everyone to listen – to hear what we have desperately been longing for. To be included in every aspect of communities from the comfort of our homes.

 

 Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER-

 

 

Lara is 33 years young and resides in Vermont. She has Cystic Fibrosis and received a double lung transplant in August 2017. A beacon of light for the existence of miracles; Lara enjoys adventures, nature, and belly laughs with her loves. She believes Jesus walks and pants are the devil. Passionate about spreading encouragement, she always lends an ear to those in need.
Follow Lara’s blog on her website: www.laragovendo.com or connect with her on Facebook & Instagram: Lungs4Lovey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Views expressed in the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily of the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation*** 

 

***Please speak with your physician before making any changes to your CF management***

 

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