DETROIT – During the first days of the pandemic, at eight months pregnant, MaElena Barcenas came down with COVID-19.
She spent weeks on a ventilator and, more than a year later, still suffers serious symptoms. But she is grateful for a healthy baby girl and the help of her mother until COVID took that away too.
With a brace on her leg, every step for Barcenas is slow and steady.
“We’ve all come to the consensus that I’ll never walk like I used to do, and I’m okay with that,” she said. “I have lost vision in my left eye. The vision in my right eye, we’re trying to save, but at some point it will be gone. We don’t have a timeline on it, but we just count every day is a blessing still.”
“I still deal with COVID fatigue.”
No matter what she is dealing with physically, Barcenas is grateful.
“The baby, she’s doing great. She has no signs of anything,” she said.
Today, 1-year-old Maria Layla is happy and health. Barcenas holds onto that, especially now that she has lost her mother to the virus.
“That for me was a major setback. I don’t care about all of the other stuff that has gone wrong with me,” she said.
Barcenas’ mother, Majorie, was 60 years old. Marjorie was her daughter’s support through the pandemic, caring for the baby while she was in the hospital and helping her recover and raise Maria Layla along with the baby’s father.
“My dad died when I was little, when I was 5 actually. So it’s just been me and her ever since,” Barcenas said. “My mind understands. It was just explaining it to my heart.”
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“You don’t want your story to be mine,” she said. “Get the vaccine, you’re not hurting anybody. You’re saving lives, you’re definitely savyour own”ne else’s life.
“You don’t want your story to be mine,” she said. “Get the vaccine, you’re not hurting anybody. You’re saving lives, you’re definitely saving your own”
Barcenas still cannot work and worries what she will do when her long-term disability runs out.
Her family has set up a GoFundMe account.
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