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How Covid-19 became “scary” for this cork woman by living with cystic fibrosis

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It was Friday night after work in March 2020. Covid-19 had just been attacked and was worried by Laragh Fitz Gerald’s housemate.

A 27-year-old Cork woman suffers from cystic fibrosis (CF), and Stan and Katie chatting in the kitchen of a small apartment in Klapam Town, South London, are scared of catching and infecting Covid. I explained how it was.

“They knew I had a CF, and they were very afraid that I would definitely catch it from them if they brought it back,” said the 7-year-old CF. Laragh of Crosshaven diagnosed says.

CF, a hereditary chronic disease, primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. A genetic defect produces thick mucus that clogs the lungs and blocks the pancreas, preventing the body’s natural enzymes from breaking down and absorbing food.

Laragh was planning a two-week break in Cork anyway. “So I decided to go back to Ireland a little earlier. We talked on Friday night and booked a flight on Sunday. Covid was very scared-what my doctor saw before. The idea of ​​catching something that isn’t there! There’s more space at home, but in London it was surrounded by people. ”

Ironically, on his way home for safety, Lara got the flu on a plane and was terribly ill. “I was bedridden, unable to eat, unable to raise my head, swollen throat, dizzy and really invisible.”

On the fourth day she vomited blood. “Panic has begun. I thought I had Covid.” Did you think this was my way? “I was hospitalized in CUH for two weeks, administered IV antibiotics, and connected to oxygen. , Clear Covid testing has been greatly reduced. “I was a little traumatized by all of that. In my twenties, to get it sick right away. I wondered what Covid-19 could do if the flu hit me badly. Was afraid. ”

Lara, the business development manager, was fired for five months from a job at the Irish meat processing company Kepac. Her work can be done remotely, but her role includes traveling to different parts of the UK.

“I was relieved that I was recovering from the flu, but it was hard. I lost a lot of London. I can’t stand on my own because of CF, I can’t work, I depend on my parents for the rest of my life. I’ve been afraid of having to do it.

“I was very proud of my full-time job of living in London, but within a few weeks my life in London was deprived of me, my health and my job. I built it for myself and took everything I was very proud of at once. ”

Online therapy was as helpful as physical activity (walking, short jogging, home training sessions). Lara is the youngest of four siblings and lives at home with her parents, who are the only parents with CF. She is fortunate to have a sea, a large yard, and a family dog ​​nearby. Last summer, when things began to open slowly, she focused on regaining her independent life. She returned to her apartment in London in August. It wasn’t ideal – her co-resident stayed with her family and returned to London on the weekends.

“Most of the time I was alone. But I was back at work so I was distracted during the day. Touch rugby and five-player football are back, so take it, I took a walk in the park with my friends. I wasn’t so lonely. ”

In November, London entered its second blockade. “I was suffering a lot. I was paying a lot of money for my apartment in London alone. My co-resident was also paying but I wasn’t spending it. It wasn’t feasible. So we gave it up. We planned to go back in February and look for another place. We lost love. ”

Laragh encountered a similar broken heart in his early twenties when he had to give up playing football with the local Crosshaven team. At that time, she knew she couldn’t keep up with the level she was accustomed to. “I used to be really happy about this, but it ended up causing that pain. I had a hard time breathing during the match. It was too stiff and upset. I had CF. , I remembered that my body wasn’t functioning as it used to be. ”

When she left London for the second time last November, it was as if she had revisited the territory. “This life I was very happy with was taken again because I had just returned, and I was wondering if this would be my reality in CF where I couldn’t do anything. It was. ”

To stay healthy, Lala’s daily routine includes airway clearance, nebulizers, enzymes, and medications. It’s a normal life for her, but there are days when she finds it “really annoying.” The pandemic has increased her awareness of the effects of CF. “CF has made it very realistic how fragile I am. I was always told I was defenseless. I don’t like to think of myself as defenseless.”

However, Caftrio, who received CF treatment last November, helped her turn the corner. Prescribed in London, she had already seen online how US-based patients would benefit from it. By mid-December, the effect had begun for her. Her lung function almost doubled, her cough decreased, and she gained weight. “I put on 10kg within a month. I was happy! I was underweight for most of my life and always thought I was thin and sick. Now I am I love seeing myself in the mirror! ”

She was able to run longer. “When that happened, I just cried. It’s like this for someone who can run and breathe because I thought it was!” When she returned to London in late February, she was different. Around the corner – and a few days later I got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. “While I was in Ireland, my GP surgery sent me a text message. They said they would call them when I returned and they set me up. I don’t know when I got it in Ireland. I felt great coming out of a general practitioner’s surgery. ”

Her housemate is also happy. She, her two former housemates, and two other friends have found a “much bigger and better home” in Clapham. And she has a London Marathon on her horizon. She wants to do it in October, just a few days before her 28th birthday. “I’ve never run a marathon. It would be amazing if I could do it,” says a woman who refuses to be restricted by the CF.

  • Due to Covid-19, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland will not be able to advance the 65 Roses Day collection on Friday, April 9th.
  • Instead, the general public is asked to help people with CF on 65 Roses Day. Donate online Or by participating in the 65 Rose Challenge.
  • The funds raised will be used for a variety of services for people with CF, including funding hospital CF facilities and staff, research, counseling / exercise equipment / fertility drugs / patient subsidies for out-of-pocket costs of transplantation, etc. It is used to support.
  • Follow Cystic FibrosisIreland on Facebook @CysticFibrosisIreland, Twitter and Instagram @cf_ireland. The hashtag is # 65 RosesDay.

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