Local pathologist shares her experience getting COVID vaccine | KOB 4

Local pathologist shares her experience getting COVID vaccine

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: January 19, 2021 10:36 PM
Created: January 19, 2021 08:00 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —During a normal year, Dr. Favia Dubyk—a pathologist at a local hospital—would spend her time diagnosing cancer. These days, however, her work revolves mostly around COVID and getting tests out. 

"We've now shifted almost everyone towards diagnosis COVID,” Dr. Dubyk said.

Dr. Dubyk is not a typical doctor. 

"I'm a professional climber. I specialize in bouldering. In climbing, there's different types of climbers and bouldering is when you don't use a rope. So we carry a large pad on our back and you climb up. And if you fall, or when you fall, you land on the mat. Hopefully, that's the plan,” she said.

The doctor’s climbing ability and strength led her to compete on the TV show American Ninja Warrior. However, in 2012 her health took a turn for the worst. 

"And I got diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, lymphoma, and they gave me a few weeks to live,” she said.

Dr. Dubyk said those were dark days. 

“I wasn't climbing, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't even swallow liquids or foods,” she said. "Unable to use three out of four limbs because they cut both my pecs and I had a device in my leg to get chemo which rendered that leg useless."

After beating her cancer, Dr. Dubyk recently had to make another choice as an immuno-compromised doctor—getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"I would say, I am 100% with you. I was nervous getting the vaccine,”  she said.  "I saw, in the hospitals, what happens when you get COVID. So, I weighed the risk of a definite disease that can kill you, or some possible risk factors.”

Dr. Dubyk received both Pfizer shots and said she experienced some mild vaccine-related side effects.

"Slight fever, body aches, chills, my cough worsened. Pain and swelling around the injection site and that lasted about 48-hours,” she said. 

“And I know it sucks, like it sucks to know you might get some mild symptoms. That's not fun, but it's definitely not fun spending weeks in the ICU because what I can tell from what I'm seeing is that you don't go to the hospital for a couple days with COVID. You're there for awhile,” she added. 

Dr. Dubyk said she has no regrets about getting the vaccine. 

"If I could go back again, I would do it all over. 100%,” she said.

Now she can focus on doing what she loves by climbing to new heights. 

"This is it. This is my passion in life,” she said. 

To follow Dr. Dubyk on her climbing adventures, click here. 


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