Life with Long COVID: How Avanade continues to support me
- Posted on October 10, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Prior to December 2021, I considered myself to be a reasonably fit and healthy 27-year-old. I was settled, secure, and strong.
I worked longer and harder than I ever had in 2021 and achieved a great deal at work. Securing my third promotion in three years with Avanade, moving team to work in a new area and having successfully delivered my first totally solo project, where among the highlights for me.
On December 9, I traveled to London to celebrate life with a small group of colleagues, but during my visit I contracted COVID. My initial experience of COVID was nothing remarkable and much the same as many others. I was pretty poorly but after bed rest for a week, I was back to feeling relatively human.
My real journey started when it was time to return to work in January 2022, the reality of my recovery hit hard and fast. Immediately, it was clear that I wasn’t operating at 100% and after a few days back at work I sought medical advice from my GP. I was advised to reduce my hours initially and subsequently was signed off sick from work completely.
The plan was: take two weeks off and then return to work slowly over the next month. I ended up having four full weeks off work, followed by six weeks of part-time working, a subsequent week off sick, followed by over four weeks doing part time hours, before finally coming back to work full time over three months later.
I’ve been back at work full time for a few months now, and although I’ve made a great deal of positive progress, the person I see in the mirror is still quite different to the person I saw a year ago. As I write this article, it’s been two months since I started to experience a relapse in my symptoms. In the weeks since, my fatigue has been so bad I haven’t been able to walk my dog, my pain medicine dose has been doubled (and on occasion tripled) and having attempted only two trips to the supermarket during this time, both left me in agony and uncontrollable tears.
From an Avanade perspective, I've always had an aggressive development plan. I get high levels of personal satisfaction from my job, and I love to be busy and productive. For me, my experience of Long COVID has been made more difficult by my motivation to work and progress. For a time, it felt as though I was ‘stuck’, I was static whilst the rest of my world continued to move forward around me.
However, what I’ve come to realize is that the connections I’ve made with my colleagues at Avanade run deeper than being performance related, and in the moments, I’ve not been able to give 100% to my work, I’ve been surrounded by people who have cheered me on, found a way to help me feel useful and created new opportunities for me. It’s these moments for me, the ones of genuine struggle, that you find out how important it is to be around people of value and substance and to work in a place that encourages a culture of wellbeing and support.
I’ve come to a point of acceptance in my Long COVID journey, where I accept my new reality and the limitations that come with it. It isn’t a condition that is widely understood (being quite new) and my doctors and I have to work closely to monitor my progress and react to new or recurring symptoms.
In this journey, I’ve learnt the power of honesty and openness and in return, Avanade have been amazing at supporting me. From my personal career manager to the manager of my Talent Community, from my HR representative to my mentors, and my Delivery Leads and Client Executives - everyone has supported and encouraged and looked after me in a really real way. I suppose a great way to end this piece is to say, well, thank you. To every single person who has checked up on me, loved me, sent me best wishes, asked how I am (and then asked a second time for the real response), thought about me, given me options and had faith and trust in me.
Sometimes, that’s really all it takes to help someone in their recovery, a little faith and a lot of love.