For me, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 is potentially a life-threatening event. It all started in November 2016 when consistent severe back pain led me to the local emergency room, which revealed three compression fractures in the middle of my back. No history of trauma was evident so a referral to an orthopedic surgeon also revealed no causative factors. Based on a suspicion of cancer, blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy were ordered. The results were less than positive — I had multiple myeloma — an incurable bone marrow cancer.
Seeking treatment from an oncologist, I was placed on a weekly regimen of chemotherapy injections with monthly infusions of a bone calcium supplement that continue to this day. My healthy white blood cells were being replaced by cancerous cells, significantly impacting my immune system. Since 2016, I have been consciously avoiding crowds, tight quarters and generally unhealthy environments. It has been my own COVID quarantine well before COVID raised its ugly head.
And now it’s serious. Most who suffer from multiple myeloma die from pneumonia as a result of exposure to bacteria or viruses. Any infection, even a common cold, could have devastating impacts on my respiratory health.
So this is why people need to use face coverings. I avoid circumstances where people are not heeding this important advice. You may have a mild cold or unwitting infection with COVID-19, shedding the virus as you cough, exhale or even speak, which puts me and people with my affliction at great risk.
Face coverings are not an infringement on your rights — it is an exposure reduction measure for people like me. Please heed this guidance. It can mean life or death. Please wear a mask.