Navigating the Sudden Lifestyle Changes with COVID-19

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by Karen Del Vecchio |

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It’s hard to believe that only a week has passed since I wrote my last column. Everything is so different that it feels like months ago, not days.

In the interim, COVID-19 has turned everyone’s world here in the U.S. upside down. While the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has been in the news for months, and I’ve been hearing about it from family members who live in Hong Kong, everything has picked up speed in the past few days.

I first heard about COVID-19 in the news just after the new year. While I’ve probably been more engaged in the coverage than most in the U.S. because I have family in Asia, it’s a bit overwhelming to see what happened there begin here in a matter of days. It seems like we went from “let’s keep watching this” to “we need to take drastic measures now” in a span of about 72 hours.

At work, we’re rallying to convert our entire school into a virtual one in just a week. Like other teachers and administrators across the country, our stress level is high and we’re scrambling to provide quality content to our students in a short time frame. Like many others with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, I manage anxiety, so I’ve had to work from my toolbox to keep my stress level under control.

I also wonder what I should do about my therapies. I don’t think there’s anything more antithetical to social distancing than massages!

I rely on my twice-monthly massages to keep my pain in check and manageable. If we continue this for a substantial period of time (which looks increasingly likely each day), what should I do? Without massage, I certainly won’t be feeling my best. I can manage for a bit with heat and some easy bodywork on my own, but I’m not sure what I’ll do if this continues for long.

The same goes for Pilates. While I go to a private facility and they’re always great about hygiene and disinfecting equipment, it’s virtually impossible to keep everything in a gym clean at all times. Cleaning everything top to bottom between clients would be unsustainable in terms of time, but without doing so, should I go? I honestly don’t know. At least with Pilates I can do some exercises at home, even if I’m unable to go for my regular workouts. 

While we’re all in uncharted territory here, the best thing we can do is to be there for one another. As a friend said, social distancing is really physical distancing; we can still talk on the phone and provide support. Reach out virtually or via phone to those in need, especially anyone who may not have friends or family to check in on them. It’s that kind of community that will help us get through these uncharted waters.


Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


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