As I’ve written before, my immune situation is iffy. Because MS causes my immune system to attack my nerves (hence the plethora of “MS gets on my nerves” merch), medications often interact with the immune system. My last one, Tysabri, prevented immune cells from crossing the blood-brain barrier, keeping my brain safe from new damage for five years. My current one, Ocrevus, suppresses B-cells, which play a role in the immune response. Studies show that because of this, folks on Ocrevus may not be forming antibodies post-vaccination. Other studies say, hey wait, don’t forget T cell response, which might be working fine! It’s all a frustrating mess, because while other folks are frolliclking about carefree post-vaccination, I’m doing constant cost-benefit calculations in my head.
A calculated risk
Y’all, I need me some joy. So I went to a Kesha concert last week with one of my favorite people, and I got a heaping scoop of joy. Glitter cannons! Snarly party anthems! Shirtless dancing boys! All in a concert venue teeming with vaccinated, mostly masked (barring the beer drinking) humans. Being of the less abled sort, I sat in a special section for folks like me with just four of us in the immediate vicinity. Barring the occasional queasy look at the people dancing on the floor level, I felt giddy. Alive. Happy. And safe enough.
Panic after the disco
Last night I received a phone notification that I’d been in contact with someone that tested positive for COVID… on the date of the Kesha concert. I clicked through the DC public health website’s questionnaire. Nope, no symptoms. Sure, I’ve been a touch congested of late, but that’s allergies. Right? Surely it’s allergies. Oh good, this says there’s no need to quarantine or worry.
I slept on it and awoke this morning to the news that a friend on Ocrevus has been feeling rotten and is doing tests to see what’s up. So far he’s negative (yay!) but his text sent my worry powers into overdrive. I have a work meeting in less than 2 weeks where I’ll see people I adore whom I haven’t seen since Feb 2020 AND people I adore whom I haven’t even met yet. There obviously is no good time to have COVID, but this would be an especially bad time for it.
In my morning haze I searched for local testing sites.
Okay, cool. Home test it is!
Out of stock
Out of stock
Out of stock
I felt like beating my head against the kitchen counter, and then I found a small local pharmacy that had… appointments! Today!
So now I’m sitting here awaiting 3:10 when I can get swabbed and pricked and know where I stand.
I can and am trying to ground myself in gratitude that I feel fine, which is an excellent sign. I’m also grateful that this is encouraging me to get an antibody test, which I’ve been considering since joining the 3 shot club. Will the results be meaningful given all I said above about B-cells? I don’t know. But the antigen bit will at least put my mind at ease.
A mind at ease-ish
I scootered up to the testing window to have my nostrils violated and finger pricked. By the time I got home, an email awaited.
Yay! No COVID!
Shit. No antibodies.
Am I surprised? Well, no. But there was a tiny piece of me hoping against hope that I’d be the exception. That maybe a few B-cells were hiding out, ready to leap into action when they were needed.
So I continue to calculate risk and find my joy where I can, which is mostly outside while wearing a mask.