• denissetakes

New York Times Cover

Updated: Jul 16

I was interviewed by Amanda Morris (New York Times) in the article titled, Push to Move On From Covid Sharpens Pain of Those at Risk. I openly talked about my life as a transplant recipient amidst a global pandemic. It was a cathartic experience but a very difficult and personal conversation. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share a bit of my story and have it grace the front page of The New York Times. But...I shouldn't have to do this. The immunocompromised, disabled and chronically ill shouldn't have to plead for our lives. I want to believe that humanity is capable of more.

I know I'm responsible for ensuring my own safety to the best of my extent. I know what it means to modify facets of my life as well as my own behavior. But even with that effort I require our communities and governments to do their part. It takes a village in the same way it took a village to save my life in 2015. I did my part back then. I searched for donors. I altered my life and behaviors. I went through procedures and all of the tests required for my second chance. But aside from my own efforts I could not survive without the work of countless others - donors, doctors, all of the scientists, researchers and people that came before them.

I want to expand on some things mentioned in the article: Suicidal Ideation: I have good days and bad days. My will to live has been tested. I keep fighting not only for my husband but also because my kidney was a gift.

You are not alone. If you are struggling please reach out to the National Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Antibodies & Vaccination: Not all transplant recipients are developing antibodies against Covid post vaccination. Additionally, many transplant recipients have had to get antibody testing out of pocket because their teams and doctors do not recommend them. They believe it provides a "false sense of confidence". However, there are doctors and researchers who are demanding that guidelines be changed. Imagine how difficult it is for us to protect ourselves when we aren't even granted the recommendation to asses our risk. Review study on Breakthrough Infections in Adult Transplant Recipients.

Review latest study, "A Fourth Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine Does Not Induce Neutralization of the Omicron Variant Among Solid Organ Transplant Recipients With Suboptimal Vaccine Response"

To make matters more difficult, we are advised to avoid close contact with unvaccinated individuals. How are we supposed to know who is or isn't vaccinated? We can't card everyone as we go about our daily lives. Masks at the very least provided a visible way for us to determine who was willing to consider the lives of others.

All immunocompromised people can't live the life I've been leading since March 2020. They don't all have the option or privilege to work remotely. They need to be able to navigate their lives with a considerable measure of safety. Those who can live like I have also need protections. Service providers can also expose us to Covid.

  • We need research on vaccinations to continue.

  • We need people to wear masks - especially indoors. Access to basic needs is essential: work, transit (bus, trains, planes, medical transit, etc), grocery stores, pharmacy, medical care. This is the bare minimum. Abled people can already access concerts, bars, restaurants and more without a mask. They can be outside without a mask. Compromise to save a life.

  • We need doctors to contact their patients and schedule those who are eligible for Evusheld treatments instead of letting those treatments go to waste.

  • We need transplant centers to order antibody testing for transplant recipients so we can assess our risks.

  • We need to find a different way to approach those who fear vaccinations.

  • We need to work together.

I'm not an expert. I can only speak of my experience. I can only speak of my suffering. I hope that sharing our stories allows for reflection, introspection, growth and visible change. Do your part within your own community and demand better from your governments.

You might be done with Covid but it is not done with you. We are worthy of life. Fight for it. Fight with us. For more information about what transplant recipients are going through please follow Dorrey Segev on Twitter. #immunosuppressed #spoonie #highriskcovid19 #covid19

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