By ERIN HORROCKS-POPE
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, East York resident Rebecca Hogeterp worked as a professional pianist, accompanist, and teacher. Music has always been a passion for her, studying piano performance in both Canada and Europe.
Rebecca’s ability to play the music she loved so dearly was drastically affected when she got sick two years ago. Amongst other hardships, she found herself unable to play her piano for months.
Rebecca tested positive for COVID-19 on April 13, 2020, just one month into Ontario’s first stages of lockdowns and restrictions.
At that time the virus had been contracted by 6,259 Ontarians. By the end of January, there had been more than 971,000 COVID-19 cases in Ontario since March 2020.
According to a September 2021 report from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, post-COVID-19 symptoms affect roughly 10 per cent of those infected. Those long-haul symptoms like brain-fog or chronic fatigue, and can last from weeks to months, and potentially years.
When Rebecca continued experiencing the prolonged effects of the virus in 2020, there hadn’t yet been much research into long-COVID. A lack of answers regarding her symptoms and understanding from medical professionals left her feeling unheard and concerned about the deterioration of her health.
The year 2020 felt long to many, but for those impacted directly by the COVID-19 virus, it felt that much longer.
At the end of 2020, the CBC produced a special segment highlighting the experiences of Canadians suffering from long-COVID. Rebecca was given a chance to share her story on both CBC’s Marketplace and The National with people across Canada.
During her interview with CBC’s David Common, Rebecca told him and the world that even throughout the stress and trauma of her illness, she maintained her hope and positivity. When asked how, she smiled and simply said…
“Because I survived.”
It was this televised interview that inspired Rebecca’s uncle, Jacob Hogeterp, to write her story with the goal of sharing inspiring strength with others who may be having similar experiences with illness.
“I thought it was a poignant human story,” said Jacob. “At the time [Rebecca did her interviews with CBC], none of us knew very much about long-COVID. Rebecca herself was learning about it on the fly.”
BETWEEN THE NOTES: How Long COVID Paused My Life tells the story of Rebecca’s onerous journey with misunderstood illness and the frustration in her attempt to find support in an already overwhelmed healthcare system.
Though her story is at times one of fear and desperation, more than anything it is a resounding tale of hope, perseverance, and triumph.
“I don’t want this to be a ‘woe-is-me’ story,” Rebecca told her uncle Jacob while they put the pieces together for the book.
It is the hope of both Rebecca and Jacob that this book will provide insight into the experience of individuals and families suffering from long-COVID, as well as serving as an inspiration to all who have undergone hardships during the pandemic.
BETWEEN THE NOTES: How Long COVID Paused My Life was published in November 2021 and can be purchased on Amazon.ca in Kindle or paperback format.
Other titles published by Jacob Hogeterp include Smitten and Meanwhile on Cloud Nine.
To purchase BEYOND THE NOTES: How Long COVID paused my life, please go to https://www.amazon.ca/Between-Notes-Long-COVID-Paused-ebook/dp/B09KQ11CMK/ref=sr_1_2?crid=34B5DWK1PETFM&keywords=between+the+notes&qid=1643305248&sprefix=between+the+notes%2Caps%2C72&sr=8-2
To watch Rebecca Hogeterp’s CBC Marketplace interview, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-mfARylRDE