I Was a Montana COVID Breakthrough Case. Here is My Experience
My story today is a little different than most of the articles I typically write. I'm sharing something fairly personal with you, and I've waited over a week to write it. I'm hesitant even now to share, considering how ridiculously controversial COVID debates have become. I'm a long-time Montana resident (Laurel), family guy, and I'm now a COVID-19 "breakthrough" case.
My family has been so careful... and COVID still hit our household.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we followed all of the recommended protocols. Last year we opted for remote-learning. We limited contact with crowds, restaurants and large gatherings. We have family members and a child who are considered "high risk" for developing severe complications from COVID, and my wife and I did whatever we could to limit exposing them to COVID. Even if the virus didn't kill me, I didn't want to be the one to spread it to someone it could.
We chose to trust the recommendations from our medical providers, and were able to get the vaccine early last spring. Various pre-existing medical conditions qualified four of our age 16+ family members to get the Pfizer shots in late February/March.
As springtime rolled into Montana, we were optimistic. I understood the vaccine is not some magical shield, but it felt good to be protected. COVID numbers were dropping, restaurants were reopening and the mask mandate was dropped. Finally, light at the end of the COVID tunnel! Life was starting to return to normal. Or so we thought.
I tested positive for COVID on August 30th, 2021.
My college-aged stepdaughter was the first to test positive in late August. This occurred about a week after she went back to work as a bus aide for Laurel Public School. A day or two later, my high school kid exhibited flu-like symptoms. My wife promptly took him and my two younger kids (under age 12, unvaccinated) in for tests. They all tested negative.
We tried to stay away from each other as much as possible, but a family of six in the same house makes in nearly impossible. I started feeling a little wonky on Friday, August 27th, but I kind of ignored it, thinking maybe I was just tired. Monday morning rolled around and I was exhausted. I stopped by Riverstone Health on my way to work that morning for a test, just to rule it out. Five minutes later, I was honestly a little shocked when the rapid test revealed I was positive. "But I got the vaccine! How could this be happening?", I thought to myself, as I turned my car around and let my employer know that I wouldn't be in that day... or the rest of the week.
So, how bad was it?
Overall, my symptoms weren't horrific. The main thing I experienced was overwhelming fatigue and body aches. I slept for 12 - 14 hours per day for a week. Getting up to do even the most menial tasks, like feeding the dogs, wiped me out. I had some minor headaches, but no fever. I never developed a severe cough or congestion. Two days after I tested positive I noticed my sense of smell and taste were completely gone. A blob of hot sauce was like flavorless ketchup. Now, almost three weeks later, those symptoms are still lingering. I can taste salt, but that's about it. And I'm still pretty tired.
People might read this account and say it's "proof that the vaccine doesn't work." I'll argue that it likely prevented two-out-of-four people in my household from catching it. I'll also argue that it likely prevented me from becoming much more ill, as CDC data reveals. I wasn't even close to calling my doctor, let alone visiting the ER during my bout with COVID. If the vaccine prevented that, then I'm still all for it.
PLEASE NOTE: Sharing my experience with COVID is not meant to cause controversy, nor am I urging you to blindly do whatever the government and health officials tell you. I absolutely believe in personal freedoms. I also believe in doing what I feel is right for me, my family and my community. Thank you for reading.