Karen – experiencing the "COVIDcoaster"
Karen’s Long COVID journey started in January 2022, eight days after her initial COVID-19 diagnosis. Prior to Long COVID or what she describes as the “COVIDcoaster”, she worked full time as a store worker in a warehouse, was reasonably fit and active, healthy and double vaccinated.
At the completion of her seven-day period of isolation and typical COVID-19 associated symptoms of a sore throat, headache, fever and cough, she began experiencing additional symptoms, some of which were quite alarming. These symptoms she describes as extreme fatigue and weakness, anxiety, blurred vision and a racing heart. Additionally, she was “shaking all over”. Karen was taken to hospital and underwent testing. All tests came back clear, and she was prescribed Panadol and discharged.
From this point onwards, Karen’s health significantly declined. Her symptoms, which had intensified and broadened in number, were so debilitating that they began to interfere with her day-to-day functioning.
Her hair began to fall out and she states, “I became so weak and fatigued, I couldn’t even walk or shower unassisted.”
As her symptoms had worsened, she presented herself at the hospital. The same tests were completed and once again she was told all clear and that she was experiencing post viral illness from COVID-19. She was prescribed Stemetil and Panadol and was sent home “feeling as she was going to die”. Six weeks later, with no improvement in her health, she was told that she was experiencing post COVID-19 / Long COVID-19.
Although she started to see some improvements at the three-month mark, she would quickly revert to her usual symptoms which now included a sensation of internal vibrations and dizziness. She describes that she kept experiencing this “wave”’ like collection of symptoms which would present all at once, one episode lasting a total of nine hours.
Karen says she found some symptom relief via seeing a physio, consuming celery juice and specific nutraceutical supplementation including vitamin b12, vitamin D and probiotics.
At the four-month mark, Karen began to improve and was able to return to work part time.
It has now been eight months and Karen feels she is 95% recovered. She still experiences cognitive symptoms and body aches, but she feels thankful that she can walk, work, breathe and drive again.
‘’I have my life back,” she states.
Karen’s urges that more awareness surrounding Long COVID, and ways to access support, needs to be provided and accessible to others who may be suffering.