You Down With The Vog!

Picture yourself sitting in a hot, crowded room with over 50 people. While you tried to find a seat tucked away in the nice shaded corner, it was already taken. Frustrated, you had no choice but to grab the first available seat…between two people. As you take the seat, you notice that the two people are repeatedly wiping their noses with tissue. You also notice that the seats are so tight that everyone’s legs are touching each other. Despite your observations, you have no choice but to take a seat. As you sit patiently in your seat, you can’t help but notice all the coughing and sneezing going on around you…immediate neighbors included. Despite your countless attempts to ignore the sounds around you, it is impossible to ignore the rapid coughing and sneezing. As the sounds of the rapid coughing and sneezing begin to sound far away, the sound of your crashing immune system sounds like thunder. Over the sound of the crashing thunder, you mentally count the germs and contagious droplets in the air and wonder how long it will take before you too are overcome with some virus. As you swallow slowly in horror because of the sounds around you, you notice that your throat now feels sore. Friends, you should’ve had a vog. 

A few years ago my when I started Remicade infusions, my rheumatologist suggested that I wear a face mask when in public or in large crowds. I immediately scoffed at the suggestion. There was absolutely no way I was going to walk around in public wearing that white paper makes and have everyone wondering if I had contracted the swine flu. See, I had been there and done that, and it was not going to happen. Needless to say I spent years fighting repeated infections, BUT, ha ha, no mask was going to make me look sick! You would think that repeated infections woul’ve motivated me to cave and wear a stupid mask, despite being self-conscious about what people would think…YOU THOUGHT WRONG. You clearly haven’t paid attention to the foolishness I am willing to engage in just to preserve a particular view of myself. I, holding true to my defiant nature, pushed on without the mask and just battled the repeated infections as they came. Fortunately, despite multiple infections, I survived. 

Last year when my doctor added weekly methotrexate injections along with my Remicade infusions, my rheumatologist again stressed the need for me to wear a mask when in public and in large crowds. This time though, my rheumatoid didn’t phrase it as optional. She stressed that while she was sympathetic to me being self-conscious about the mask, avoiding an infection with my severely suppressed immune system had to be the priority. Well, no surprise, I didn’t listen and opted again to just deal with the infections when they came. Well friends, unlike last time, things have not worked out so well.  

Since July 29, 2016, I have battled 4 upper respiratory infections. These infections, because of my suppressed immune system, have resulted in 4 rounds of different antibiotics and nebulizer treatments every 4 hours. Now, this has been in addition to my current medicine regime and resulted in multiple ER visits. Yeah friends, its been a fun time. My doctors have been diligently working to get these infections under control because if left uncontrolled for too long, they can jeopardize my remission and send me into a full Crohn’s flare. 

Now, before you get all judgmental, let me explain why I have been so resistant to the mask. This may shock some of you, but the judgmental glares from strangers can be quite off putting. Friends, while I am confident and used to being the odd woman out, I do still have a hard time dealing with being publicly shunned. So much so that I have compromised my health by refusing to wear a mask, simply to avoid public shunning and judgmental glares. While difficult, try to understand. See, you, fortunately, likely have no idea what its like to have strangers stare or refuse to sit next to you because they believe you are contagious with some deadly virus simply because you are wearing a paper mask. Well, I do. You also likely don’t know what its like to have people hurry their children away from you and while whispering “stay away she is sick”, when, in reality, you are in fact simply trying to protect yourself from them and their germs. 

Well friends, public shunning because of my mask is now a thing of the past. I am now down with the V…vogmask that is. Before you ask, yep, that is a word. Better yet, that is a word to describe a life changing mask. A vogmask is a fashionable reusable filtering face mask. Loose translation…it is germ filtering love for your face. I am in LOVE! This mask has completely changed my perspective on wearing a mask in public. Currently, I have 2 and have worn them everyday for a week from the time I left my house until I time I returned. The fit is snug enough that air doesn’t seep out and cause my glasses to fog, but not too tight that it is uncomfortable. The masks also comes in stylish colors and cool patterns that go with both casual and business attire. Friends, if you have a suppressed immune system and need to wear a mask, or you simply like pretending to be a stylish superhero, or both, you HAVE to get down with the V! Check out No more shame for us battling to stay healthy and live normal lives despite our suppressed immune systems. Get down with the germ filtering love for your face!

10 thoughts

  1. How do you have access to my thoughts? 27 years I’ve lived with Crohns and have collected various other auto immune and chronic illnesses.i literally only ever dragged myself to the GPs when I had no other choice. I was a nurse for long time and most advice for issues came from work colleagues. When I had no choice I would sit in a corner, head down on my chest trying to breathe through my collar, getting more and more tense as I seriously try to keep my mouth shut and not snap at the next child who sneezes/coughs without at least covering their face! I would rather suffer for a few more days than enter my health centre during school holidays and if I could only get an appointment after school hours I still refused a mask but would resort to a hanky I could place across my face. Then in 2009 I was at my lowest, just been told that next Christmas might not be in my time line. I needed to get Christmas presents so I gave up totally, I not only donned a face mask but hired a motorised chair as well to get around!! Since then I have given up caring and now always have a face mask in my bag and no worries about using it, I’ve been given a 2nd chance I’m not going to waste it on vanity and the harsh words of strangers! But I am loving these Vogs!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree!!!! After being sick I don’t care WHO takes issue with my mask I will proudly wear it. I have so many now that they coordinate with my outfit. It is so unfortunate how stigma can cost lives….no longer for me and so glad to hear no for you. Sending good vibes and well wishes your way!


  2. The idea of a mask kept me from taking Remicade for several year. But I finally asked my doctor (and some drug safety experts). I was told that a mask isn’t necessary so long as I am scrupulous about hand washing (and purel). I have been and have also been lucky.

    But the cogs are a great solution!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah my rheumatologist said on Remicade she wanted me to do it but I fought it. But, I didn’t do too bad on Remicade. When she added a second biologic Methotrexate she said it was nonnegotiable…but I still fought it. I am so done fighting that because my ability to heal is nonexistent given the combo. Soooo happy I found vogmasks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can understand completely about not wanting people to stare or treat you differently because you have a mask on. But glad that you found some effective and cute-looking ones! Much better to be protected and a bit happier as a result:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For what it’s worth, I can so relate to public stares/shaming. When I was in college, and I had unexplained alopecia areata, my hair would fall out in clumps, leaving smooth, round, bald patches all over my scalp. I looked like a dog with mange. One guy, in my school’s public library, even had the nerve to ask me while looking me up and down, “Are you bald like that…everywhere?” I eventually caved and spent the money (it was a lot that I didn’t have) to get fake extensions to hide the patches.

    I wish we could just all except that everyone’s body is different (and those differences are, more often than not, NOT contagious)! For what it’s worth, I think those vog masks look kind of fun! If we crossed paths in person, I’d promise to wear one out of solidarity. Rock your vog, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwwe this just warmed my heart!! Thank you and i 100% BELIEVE YOU! With respect to what you said, people are such idiots. Looking back, I am ashamed at that I actually let people’s judgmental looks make me compromise my health…but it did. But, I have found a salutation that I am comfortable with and will not look back.

      Liked by 1 person

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