MANILA -- Here’s a cautionary tale about letting our guards down during the pandemic.
Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1985 and actress/host Joyce Ann Burton revealed Monday her struggle with COVID-19 and how she and her husband, Ron Titular, contracted it during the Christmas holidays.
Burton was discharged recently after being treated for COVID pneumonia for nine days at a hospital.
“I have been home for five days since I was discharged from the VRP Medical Center. Even if mine was just a moderate case and my body was fighting well, it was a scary journey. Inaamin ko nagkaroon ako ng takot na baka hindi ko makakayanan ang COVID," she told ABS-CBN News.
In her moving testimony of faith, Burton also praised God for His presence in her days of isolation at her hospital room.
“Every afternoon, I would watch the sunset with God, listen to worship songs and read his word. And that is when my true healing happened,” she told ABS-CBN News. “Doon ko naintindihan 'yung 'Be still and know that He is God.'"
Burton took her time to tell her story given the stigma attached to the disease but now she felt ready to share her redemption to the world.
She recalled in her Facebook post over the weekend that before and after New Year, she and her husband went to the mall almost daily.
“This is something we did not do during the pandemic, but it was the holidays and we were feeling celebratory. During one of those mall visits, we ate at a cafe for the first time without masks on. This was on Dec. 30 at about 11 a.m.There was hardly anyone in there and we were feeling festive (and hungry) so I thought 20 to 30 minutes should be safe. So, for the first time ever, we took off our masks in a closed public space (low-ceiling pa) to enjoy a meal," she narrated.
“Four days later, I came down with fever, body aches, mild headaches and brain fog. I knew it was COVID so we isolated," the CBN Asia anchor narrated.
“Et voila! On day 5 of symptoms, I lost my sense of smell. It was soooooooooo eerie! I could not smell my perfume, I could just sense the fumes. Ach! It was both strange and frightening. After a swab test at home, I was informed I was positive for the SARS-Cov2 virus.”
Burton’s husband tested positive too but his case is asymptomatic.
“Thankfully too, I never needed oxygen and I was not intubated,” she said.
Burton also shared the importance of staying safe amid the relaxation of quarantine protocols.
“I believe we caught the virus kasi naging lax kami ni hubby ko. 'Yung araw-araw na lakwatsa sa mall during the New Year's season was risky. Eating in an indoor cafe without our masks was risky. We must follow the protocols. They may not protect us 100% but they will lessen the risk,” she said.
Burton also appealed for more spiritual support for her total healing.
“I still need your prayers, my dear friends, I may be out of the woods but I’m still in the shade. I just got my second swab result taken on January 20, 2021 and I am still positive for SARS-COV2," she said, citing the probability that the positive result may be due to the remnants or debris of the virus. “But, with your prayers, I know God will help me fully shed this virus and keep my household safe!”
Through her ordeal, Burton cited the need to be spiritually calm amid crisis, and to appreciate the value of life minus its material perks.
“Fear kasi makes your symptoms feel worse than they really are. It can also worsen your condition," said Burton who experienced an epiphany during her isolation.
“I was able to get past the fear when I realized that my desires were for the gifts of God and not the giver of gifts himself. In the hospital, I kept dreaming and praying for healing, my family, my work, travel and wonderful times. Don't get me wrong... those things are good things. But what I realized is that I needed God's presence in that room. That there is nothing I should desire except to have Him with me. Suddenly, all my earthly desires left me and I just wanted Him.”
“I realized this time with God in hospital will never happen again. 'Yung kami lang dalawa. 'Yung 100% nakasandal ako sa kanya. I better cherish this time, I told myself, because it's extra special,”
“I am now home and full of thanks. I am amazed because i journeyed through the valley of fear and yet found faith. God is truly good.”