My COVID Journey: The Struggle is Real

In this short post, I wanted to explain why posting has slowed down over the past year or two

Written by Jonathan "JD" Danylko • Last Updated: • General •

People sitting down with different masks/helmets on their head

For those who regularly read the blog, you may have noticed my regular posts aren't as regular as expected.

There's a reason for that.

In the first week of February 2020, my family (all at once) got COVID. For the whole first week of February, we isolated ourselves in a bedroom. I was surprised the cat was even fed that week. We were in BAD shape.

After the first week of fighting it, everyone recovered...except me. I wasn't in bed and could walk around, but I lost my smell, taste, and fatigued all the time. With the fatigue, I thought to myself, "I have to push through this to keep things moving forward for my career, on my blog, and the newsletter."

During that week, I also started experiencing cloudy brain/foggy brain/brain fog (whatever you call it) where I couldn't focus or concentrate at all. I struggled to put thoughts together. Something considered second-nature for over 30 years and I couldn't even write a line of code.

I also thought "ok, this is temporary and my body's immune system will kick in and I'll be back to normal in no time."

First week? Nope.

End of February? Nope.

At the beginning of April, I received the vaccine because heck, it couldn't get any worse than the way I felt. I could only go up.

Waited until the end of the year and I still never felt the same ever again.

For those who know me, know that I run in high-gear with technology/programming. When COVID hit, it stole two of my favorite senses and my energy (Sidenote: I have FOUR bottles of Bourbon on my shelf and couldn't smell or taste any of them...do you know how HARD that is?...BTW, three are still not opened) ;-)

Fast-forward to February of 2022

I heard about the term COVID "long-haulers" and automatically accepted the title.

I still had no taste or smell with fatigue still an issue. Everything still tasted metallic. The fatigue stuck with me to the point where I was saying no to opportunities because I could only do so much during the day. My regular "9-to-5" would exhaust me and, even now, I have to take extended naps in the afternoon to recover, but I've been trying to push through this.

For the past two years, I was struggling to keep the regular pace I had pre-COVID, but realized I had to do something about it.

By the end of February, I realized that I needed to make some adjustments in my life and push some things away.

  • After a closer examination of the newsletter, I decided to let it go after 5 years (issue started in 2018; last issue is here).
  • For blogging, I remember someone saying they couldn't believe I would post 1-2 posts a week where others post once a month. As you can tell based on my posting dates, I've slowed down writing blog posts.

For two-and-a-half years, no smell; no taste; still have fatigue.

Recovery Period? 2.5 years

During the week before Thanksgiving of 2022, I started to smell again. I don't know what caused it and I'm trying to remember where I was and what triggered it. I got excited and was waiting for my taste to arrive as well.

No dice. Thanksgiving sure smelled great though, but everything still tasted metallic. Definitely a Thanksgiving to be thankful.

Two weeks before Christmas, I felt nostalgic and haven't had eggnog in a long time. I thought back to a party I attended in 2000 and had some outstanding eggnog during the party.

After grabbing some eggnog at the store, I took it home, cracked it open, poured a small glass of it, and thought about the party. I took a sip.

I started to taste the eggnog.

As my eyes widened, I took another swig and finished off the glass. I still tasted eggnog. My taste was back.

Since I got my taste back, every once in a while I taste a tinge of metallic in almost everything I eat, but it's waning.

Looking back

Over the 2.5 years, I've come to the following conclusions:

  • While I'm not a brain surgeon (obviously), I feel the memory of the party coupled with the taste of eggnog linked to the party triggered something in my brain causing it to remember what eggnog tastes like. I feel somehow they may be connected. I say this to help others who are considered "long haulers." There's still a lot we don't know about the brain. Isn't it a funny thing? Who knows?!?
  • This is somewhat of a theory: since I'm still fatigued (yes, even today as I write this), I'm wondering if my struggle to continue to work at my pre-COVID pace with a cloudy-brain is why I'm so tired by the end of the day? I'm trying to compensate the cloudy-brain by trying to do what I've been doing for the past 30 years making me exert more energy, but my body just isn't having it. Just a thought...a cloudy thought, but still a thought. ;-)
  • Gut-feeling: I seriously think this has affected my brain (1, 2) where I don't think I'll ever come out of this. While I'm not suffering from anxiety or depression, I feel it's changed me.
  • Pre-COVID, I had a number of posts created in a draft state so I could "polish and publish" them with little effort.

Overall, I'm trying to pick-and-choose the right opportunities and leverage my career skills to what makes sense in the long run. For example, near the end of last year, I was asked by a publishing company to write a book. I accepted the offer since it was on my bucket list. Still another reason I've been busy and not blogging as much since I'm focusing on the book.

In the coming months, I'll have an announcement on my site about the book. Stay tuned.

Man...I remember when the number of infected was around 174,000 (screenshot on my Collection: COVID-19).

Has anyone else had COVID and experienced the same symptoms as me? Post your comments below and let's discuss.

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Picture of Jonathan "JD" Danylko

Jonathan "JD" Danylko is an author, web architect, and entrepreneur who's been programming for over 30 years. He's developed websites for small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies since 1996.

He currently works at Insight Enterprises as an Architect.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "I like to write and I like to code. I also like to write about code."

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