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  • Writer's pictureLance Blackstone

we're {not} having a baby! ... what happened?

On March 10, 2020 Amy left Bangor, Maine headed to Des Moines, Iowa. She was headed there and elsewhere to promote her book Childfree By Choice. Little did she know that this would be the beginning of a long-term struggle with a new chronic illness.

At some point on this trip, Amy contracted COVID-19. By March 15 she began to feel tell-tale body aches and a sore throat. By the 18th her symptoms had worsened, now including cough, fatigue, and a low fever. Ultimately, she spent over a week in Wisconsin recuperating enough so that she was no longer contagious and so that she could return home.

Amy & Lance at Beth Israel Long COVID Clinic
Amy & Lance at Beth Israel Long COVID Clinic

Back at home, things were never quite right again. Amy was unaccountably fatigued. She had trouble thinking clearly. She couldn't find words, occasionally making truly incoherent statements. She experienced nausea, vertigo, and borderline migraines. Work, noise, motion, and any kind of exercise exacerbated these symptoms.

At first we thought she might have a concussion. She had a history with this. Back in Amy's roller derby days she had fallen backwards, hitting her head, and had been diagnosed with a concussion. Eventually though, it became clear that she was one of the millions of victims of a knock-on effect of COVID-19 ... Long COVID.

As a result of Long COVID, now for over four years, Amy's research and public engagement have taken something of a back seat. We've gone from trying to figure out what was wrong with her to finding health care workers that acknowledge this disease (shockingly few), trying various treatments (there isn't much), negotiating employment issues, dealing with long term disability insurance (thank god Amy has that benefit), and dealing with all day-to-day challenges of the life of a chronically ill person.

w{n}hab! was an unfortunate casualty of all this.

On a more upbeat note, we have a learned a lot. Amy is much better at managing her symptoms through pacing and modern chemistry. She's slowly increasing her workload at the University of Maine - with necessary accommodations. Together, we're working on a new book, tentatively titled Aftershock, that recounts Amy's personal experience with Long COVID set against the background of the larger pandemic.

We've also reorganized all of our online stuff...

  • is now the hub for all things Dr. Amy

  • All legacy w{n}hab! content has been migrated to this blog

  • Amy's new writing, including childfree musings, can be found on substack. Click the Subscribe button to support her work.

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