A Mild Covid Christmas

It finally got me. Last week I tested positive for Covid. For what it’s worth, I basically consider the virus to be endemic at this point. My behavior is (and has been) back to pre-pandemic normal. I’ve gone to sporting events, social events, and tried (keyword) to make it to Orangetheory Fitness 2x or 3x per week. I’ve traveled by air regularly for work (including to a conference in Las Vegas) over the last year, and basically no longer mask unless I’m on an airplane, in an airport, in a medical center, or in what I perceive to be a highly questionable situation. I’ll also mask if an acquaintance asks me to mask as a general courtesy.

I’ve also been vaccinated. Aside from my primary Moderna series, I received one additional Moderna booster and the Pfizer bivalent booster.

Interestingly, in October, about 13 days after getting my bivalent booster, I took a direct and prolonged exposure to a covid positive family member, and never developed symptoms or tested positive.

And yet… only after Darcy and I moved into our new home did I test positive. It’s possible it came from the movers, the handymen, a friend who helped us move, the pediatrician’s office, or some other unknown source, and frankly I don’t really care.

I asymptomatically tested positive on Wednesday. I decided to test after a restless night of sleep and because I wanted to be extra safe around my newborn niece for Christmas. Since Kaspar is so young, I routinely test after I travel or if I feel some sort of tickle in my nose or throat, so it wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary that I ran a test.

Hilariously, I swabbed my nose, made coffee, quickly checked the test kit after only 7 or 8 minutes, and saw that the positive line hadn’t yet appeared. Feeling confident, I walked into the next room to flip on the TV and drink my coffee. Several minutes later when Darcy walked downstairs, she discovered I had taken a test without her knowing and was shocked to see that the positive line had appeared every so faintly. The alarm bells went off, and I quickly took a second test only to see that it, too, was positive. And with it, I went into isolation (though, I continued to walk the dog daily outside and alone).

I was completely asymptomatic for the first 48 hours, and since I wasn’t feeling crappy we decided not to treat my obviously mild case of Covid with Paxlovid, the oral antiviral medication made by Pfizer. Interestingly, Trikafta has a counter indication with Paxlovid, which requires that the drug either needs to be halted or its dosing needs to be substantially altered. Frankly, I didn’t want to have to deal with since I wasn’t feeling sick. From my perspective, I felt there would be a greater risk to my health if I had to withdraw or reduce my Trikafta dose for some finite period.

I finally felt symptoms on Friday morning. I woke up with some congestion, a dry cough and that’s really about it. I never spiked a fever, nor did I feel excess fatigue or aches. Importantly, I never felt like I was short of breath.

My congestion escalated throughout the day and peaked on Saturday morning, Christmas Eve. I treated my congestion with some Advil decongestant (kindly delivered to the house by our friend Hailey!), but otherwise my CF treatment routine basically stayed the same. The only difference is that instead of cutting my Vest sessions short at 15 minutes, I ran them all the way through the 30-minute timer.

By Christmas, it was clear that my symptoms were abating. I had a good night of sleep on Saturday night, and that was really, it seemed, all that I needed. On Christmas day, I was a little up and down, but one final Advil seemed to the do the trick. By this morning, my symptoms have all but vanished.

All in, my 5 days with Covid were easy. Although Friday and Saturday were a little rough, I never lost my appetite and made sure to eat well and stay hydrated.

On the spectrum of past colds, it was certainly closer to the mild end. I can’t sit here and tell you that it was the mildest cold I’ve ever had, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the most severe.

I chalk that up to a few things. The first is Trikafta. There’s evidence to suggest that Trikafta is protective for patients with CF who also come down with Covid. My anecdotal experience very much validates those findings. It goes without saying that my experience with head colds since starting Trikafta has completely changed relative to the times before I started the drug. Basically, any time I came down with a cold before starting on Trikafta, my health would deteriorate so rapidly that I would need additional supportive care (typically IVs) to beat back the ensuing pulmonary exacerbation. Since starting, Trikafta my head colds largely have not led to any additional medication or supportive care beyond cold medicine even when they have been severe. That Trikafta was approved in the months leading up to the pandemic is a miracle unto itself.

Secondly, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that the vaccines did their collective job. My lungs are beat up from years of fibrosis and baseline inflammation. While Trikafta has allowed me to live normally, my lungs have weathered some rough days, and so I would presume that my baseline lung disease would put me into the exact population you’d expect to have a bad outcome from Covid, and yet I didn’t. My respiratory health is still intact, and my treatment burden didn’t increase during this illness.

In fact, after going through this course of illness, I suspect I did have Covid towards the end of January 2020 (pre-vaccines) when I was very sick. That illness lasted about 10 days and came with everything from intense fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, and cough. I was so sick I did a flu test and was negative. The symptoms I experienced then were so similar to what I had this past week (albeit a lot more intense) that I think I’ve run this rodeo before.

It was, of course, disappointing to come down with Covid over the holidays and over Kaspar’s first birthday, but I think we’re all just excited to have this behind us. Not to fear, we will be celebrating Christmas and Kazmas next week, so the silver lining here is that we get to keep the holiday cheer going.

And yes, unfortunately Darcy and Kaspar also tested positive for Covid. Their symptoms were a bit more severe than mine, but they are both doing well now and have turned the corner towards better health!

I hope everyone had a Merry, Merry Christmas!

…I chronicled my Covid case on my IG stories… the Corona Files… so if you want to check that out, they’re available there!