Tamika Harden, a 30-something fitness trainer and instructor runs a fitness gym in New York City that trains over 200 women a month. When she fell victim to Covid19 virus, it took a toll on her professional and personal life. To make it even more difficult for her, she was denied testing twice, a stark reminder of the health care disparities that still exist for minor communities in the US.
For the last 15 years, her healthy lifestyle has inspired and helped many to live a life of health and wellness. And when the illness struck, she did exactly what she had been doing for years – she fought back with a positive mental attitude and positive action through healthy living and wellness.
Tamika shares her story of triumph, optimism, hope and strength to Tempo through an email interview. Here are the excerpts:
Could you share with us briefly your life before the Corona virus pandemic?
My life before COVID-19 was one filled with daily workouts and helping others improve their fitness level. Just 3 years ago, I started Body By Tamika, a fitness and training program designed to improve clients from the inside out. For over 15 years, I’ve lived a healthy and very active lifestyle that has encouraged me to help others change their lives for the better. And I believe that my lifestyle choices helped me fight COVID-19.
How do you think you exposed yourself to the virus?
Servicing over 200 clients per month, it is very hard to tell. My symptoms were asymptomatic, so it’s hard to know, which is one of the reasons COVID-19 is such a dangerous virus. You could have the virus, spread the virus to several others, and not know you have it for some time.
Tell us about your fight against the illness and the challenges that you faced.
I am grateful that I made it through COVID-19 alive and well enough to tell my story. My first symptoms of the virus made me lethargic like never before. COVID-19 knocks you down to a place where your body feels like giving up. Your body feels like the fight is too great to win. I experienced heavy and rapidly recurring cough that felt as if my chest was vibrating when I coughed, a very uncomfortable feeling. I felt lightheaded, chills, no sense of taste or smell, and weak. I also experienced challenges to get tested to confirm I had contracted the virus. I was denied testing twice at my local testing site before I was granted access only on my third visit. This challenge spoke of the lack of preparedness as a country. It also shed light on the continuing health care disparities that continue to plague minority communities in America. Mentally, I stayed positive and I told myself I could handle this like every other obstacle I’ve faced in my life. Mentally and physically my body fought COVId-19 with all it had, and gratefully I won.
What advice would you like to give to the victims of COV19 and their families?
I know this is a tough time for us all in one way or another. Time will heal the pain and grief experienced by COVID-19. It’s important to focus more on the things we can control and less on the things we can’t. We can choose to take action and begin to live a healthier lifestyle. You are not alone in your fight. Together we will survive the quarantine and we will come out better than before. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
What is your life-strategy post this pandemic?
Immunity besides precautionary measures is the best tool we have to fight viruses such as COVID-19. Living a healthy lifestyle is now more essential than before. Now more than ever I want to increase my reach and help people all around the world. In memory of all who lost their lives to COVID-19, I will not give up until my goals are reached.