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My Real-Life Nightmare With COVID

-Rachel’s Story

My experience with COVID has been unlike any of my worst nightmares, because unlike a bad dream there was no waking up from this.

It all started at the end of the summer (around mid-August/September) when I noticed feeling more fatigued, stomach pain, and a sense of lingering malaise. Unfortunately for me I didn’t give it much thought because at the time my husband and I were in the process of selling our condo and looking for homes, and I assumed that the stress of this arduous process was the culprit.

So I ignored it.

Overall, I am relatively healthy: I’m a 36-year-old vegan and a former college soccer player who runs 5ks for charity so I’m always active. Even my career as an environmental/wildlife educator has me moving around and working outside so I’m never sedentary.

Throughout this pandemic I have been extremely strict with social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing and adhering to safety protocols at-all-times. So, it came as a complete shock to me when on October 30th I was diagnosed with COVID.

Then my nightmare truly began.

I’ll never forget the pain I felt waking up that day—the sensation that the inside of my stomach was on fire, and I had a terrible blinding migraine I had never experienced before. I was so sick that I could barely keep anything down and most of the next few days were spent laying on the bathroom floor next to the toilet.

At the time I didn’t know which was worse: the pain or the fear I was experiencing.

I had no idea how long this would last and if it would cause any long-term damage.

To make matters worse the doctors told me at this point all I could do was to treat the symptoms and hope for the best.

Let me tell you, when your physician admits she is out of options that’s when the panic sets in and you realize you’re helpless—and COVID is now in control of your body. All you can do is hope it doesn’t ravage it and leave too much destruction in its wake.

Four months later I am still experiencing long-hauler symptoms of headaches, fatigue, and a new disturbing symptom: delayed menstrual periods.

I hope my story can serve as a cautionary tale to others who may not take this pandemic seriously—please wear your mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.

It’s not worth risking your life.