For the next almost two years, my health was good and managed, but in January of this year, I started having pain in my right eye. My medication had failed me. I didn’t imagine that it would come back. Another week of steroids and my eye was almost back to normal. My neurologist prescribed daily low dose steroid pills until we figured out a new plan. Fast forward to March, I started new infusions and was feeling more hopeful about my condition. However, in mid-March, I somehow contracted coronavirus (COVID-19). It started with loss of appetite and by Day 3, I had developed a cough. By Day 7, I started experiencing shortness of breath and I developed a fever. The next day, I went to the emergency room (ER), and as soon as I mentioned that I was immunocompromised, they admitted me. I took the COVID-19 test, and the next day they told me I tested positive.
Over the next few days, my breathing got worse and I was put on three liters of oxygen. They started me on Hydroxychloroquine, the drug used to treat malaria, and gave me antibiotics for my pneumonia. The worst part of all of it was that I was alone. Through only phone calls and Facetime, I could see my family. I was transferred to University of Southern California Keck Medicine, and my doctor told me that things didn’t look good. I kept a positive attitude and a smile on my face, and I prayed. In a couple of days, my doctor came and told me that my chest X-ray was getting worse but that my blood tests were getting slightly better. In the following days, my breathing improved, and they took me off the oxygen tank. My doctor said that sometimes a patient gets better faster than their lab results show it. This was true for me because by Day 8 of being in the hospital, I was discharged. My labs were still not normal, but I didn’t need oxygen and had had no fevers for the past couple of days.
Now, a little over a month after my hospitalization, I am still recovering, but I feel so much stronger. I haven’t started my new medication for NMO since it’s an immunosuppressant and right now I need my immune system to recover from the virus completely. This puts me in an uncertain position since I could possibly have a flare up of my disease, but I’m not focusing on the negative. Right now, I’m just happy I was accepted into the University of California, Los Angeles as a Biology major. Now, I can pursue my dream of becoming a doctor and helping others like me.