By Nikki Temkin is a functional health and wellness coach in Johannesburg. She helps clients recover from anxiety, stress, burnout and other health conditions to achieve balance, joy, vitality and wellbeing. Follow Nikki on Instagram and Facebook.

It’s been 6 weeks since my Covid-19 diagnosis and I’m finally feeling almost back to normal. But, as a functional wellness coach who talks to clients about immune boosting during an epidemic, it was a horrible shock to discover that I had actually contracted the illness. The wellness coach shares her Covid Story.

My Covid Story

I’d been feeling flat for about a week when I visited my homeopath in mid-May to go through some routine blood tests. As someone with a hormone/immune dysfunction and Epstein Barr Virus that sometimes reactivates under stress (and boy, had 2020 been stressful!), we agreed that I just needed to boost my immune system and also rest as much as possible.

Missing the signs 

The first sign that something else was perhaps going on was when I cancelled my Pilates session (I’d been religious about doing it throughout lockdown) because I’d awoken with a terrible pain in my back. I thought it was a muscle spasm from sleeping in funny position. That week I could barely stand for longer than a minute. I didn’t even consider Corona Virus as a player: I had no other “classic” symptoms of the virus (except for tiredness and a slight shortness of breath, which can happen with mild asthma.) Nobody I knew had the illness, and I’d been strictly observing the lockdown. Plus, I had no cough, no temperature, no flu like symptoms…

Getting tested

I thought I’d better get a test to be safe, though, especially since the kids were going back to school ,and my GP agreed. By the time the positive result came through, I was feeling really weak. The main concern was the tightness in my chest and the utter exhaustion.

Support: Hatzolah, the Jewish paramedics delivered an oximeter and a thermometer to me and called me every single day for the next 2 weeks to check in on me. I am so very grateful for their support.

Testing for Covid-19

At first, I was pretty freaked out by the positive result and cried a lot.  As someone at slightly higher risk of complications (e.g. asthma and auto-immune illness) , I was really unsure of how my body would react. What if I’d inadvertently given it to others at high risk?  And, I was the very first one at our school, and in my circle of friends to test positive. I had somehow been given the infamous mantle of being  everyone’s “First/Only Person I Know With Corona!”

Being stigmatised

I felt worried that people would stigmatise or judge me and my children and so asked the principal to keep it on the down low. His thoughts were that since most of us would end up getting the illness that perhaps demystifying it would be helpful. So, I decided to tell everyone on all my mommy groups. The response from my family, friends and community has been overwhelmingly kind and made my recovery that much easier.  

Self Care

I immediately increased my vitamin and supplement regimen and made sure to have an intravenous drip every few days. Instinctively, I could tell that my case wasn’t just going to be mild and that the chest could worsen overnight. I watched my nutrition, managed my anxiety and stress levels with breathing exercise, meditation and visualisations and ensured, quality sleep and rest. This was all made possible by having a good, solid support system. I also started to make video blogs about my experience on my social media Wellness Coach pages.

Isolation

My family and I isolated at home for 2 weeks. My husband tested negative and never showed any signs of illness and neither did my kids. I believe though that as my husband had to work “out there” during lockdown that he had it asymptomatically and gave it to me.

Two weeks later

By the end of the second week after my diagnosis, the shortness of breath had worsened dramatically. I had some hairy moments: I spent one particular night with excruciating pain throughout the whole of my body, with chills and nausea wondering if I would need an ambulance. It took about a month for my chest to feel somewhat “normal” and before I had enough breath for a short walk.  I knew that when I did too much one day, I would feel rotten the next day so really had to pace myself.

In my experience, this was not a 2- week illness. The brain fog lasted for a while as did the depleted energy levels and shortness of breath. It also activated my elbow eczema and facial rosacea, vascular inflammatory conditions which I am still dealing with. I’m back at pilates, walking in the park and coaching all my clients, but being gentle with myself.  

Back at work

As soon as I felt well enough to work again, I told all my coaching clients that I was recovering from Corona. I truly believe that I was one of the first I know to get it so that I could help alleviate people’s fear and anxieties and show them an alternate narrative to the media’s horror stories as someone recovering at home. 

I also had to overcome my shame of being “the unwell wellness coach.” The very reason I chose this career path is because of my own health struggles and every experience that I go through offers me the opportunity for growth and gives me authentic wisdom to share. I hope by sharing my Covid story, I can help others through this time.

My Covid Story: what I learnt from my experience

  • People are inherently kind and helpful. Be kind– and not just to those who have with Corona.
  • This illness will manifest differently for everyone – take precautions and be vigilant especially if you are at high risk with co-morbidities
  • Your mindset, stress management, nutrition, mental and emotional resilience, rest and lifestyle play a huge role in recovery
  • The illness has an emotional toll as well as a physical one.
  • Boost your immune system and deal with the root causes of any illnesses/ conditions/ diseases

My Covid Story: treatment protocol

*NB:  consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements

  • Buffered Vit C – up to 5000mg broken up during the day into doses
  • Zinc- 30mg twice a day after meals
  • Andrographis x 2 per day (anti -viral)
  • NAC- precursor of Glutathione and mucolytic
  • Anti-viral herbs Eg echinacea, astragalus
  • Selenium x 1 per day
  • Vitamin A 1 x per day
  • Curcumin 3 x per day
  • Vitamin D (most people are low)
  • Sunlight 20-30 mins per day
  • Homeopathic remedies for viruses and lung function and mucous membrane regeneration
  • Natural supplements for lung oxygenation
  • Daily chest physio/ percussion & breathing exercises and Vicks rub.  
  • Intravenous vitamin drips
  • CBD oil at night for inflammation
  • Cordyceps/ Reishi mushroom
  • Rest

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