Your cold gave me pneumonia

Exhibit A:

Normal-looking girl with an ostensibly normal cold (and abnormally adorable cat).


But don’t be fooled. This cold isn’t going to be cured by a day’s rest and a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

If you don’t already know, I struggle with autoimmune diseases — namely Crohn’s Disease and psoriasis. What is an autoimmune disease? It’s when your immune system attacks the healthy cells in your body. Your body is basically overworking to fend off the illness you have. Simply put, your body attacks itself. Yeah. You are literally your worst enemy.

With both Crohn’s and psoriasis, it’s very common to be treated with something called an “immunosuppressant.” These drugs — like Remicade, Humira and Stelara —  further suppress your immune system in order to counteract that over-attacking your body is doing with the autoimmune disease.

As you can imagine, this means your body has a far more difficult time fighting off any other form of disease. Colds can turn into pneumonia. The flu can put you in the hospital. I’ve had both of these things happen multiple times.

This past week, I caught a cold from someone. That cold rapidly turned into a horrible sinus infection that triggered Crohn’s symptoms and awful migraines.

My lovely friend, Dena (a fellow spoonie), asked me “Don’t you think we [people with autoimmune diseases] should be exempt from all other disease?”

Yes, Dena. I do think that.

TLDR; A cold (for those with autoimmune diseases) is not just a cold.

3 thoughts on “Your cold gave me pneumonia”

  1. Dear Karolina,

    This was a really moving post, especially for me (and thanks for including the Stelara shout-out, lol – I felt like you were intentionally including me in that mention, which was really special, so thank you if that was the intent 🙂 hah). I’ve always had trouble explaining this unfortunate repercussion to my colleagues and friends who don’t seem to understand why/how I get so sick from time to time. Wishing you a speedy recovery from your recent bouts of infection. Sending all my love and positive vibes!!

    Take care, and happy Monday tomorrow 🙂

    Cheers, Nick


    1. YES! I did have you in mind 🙂 I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s so hard for friends and coworkers to understand. I took off 3 days last week from work — unheard of! But my body needed it. I know it’s difficult because we want so badly to be normal and to push through the pain … but we have to listen to our bodies. We need to rest up and heal before we go forth and slay 🙂


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