Long COVID: "It felt as if the symptoms I had before were multiplied by 10!"
Published 22 Apr 2021 • By Andrea Barcia
MarthaM, a member of Carenity Spain, talks about her daily life with Long COVID and how it has affected her other health conditions.
Read her story below!
Hi MarthaM, thank you for agreeing to share your story on Carenity.
First of all, could you tell us more about yourself?
Good afternoon, I am 43 years old, I am an auxiliary nursing technician, I work in the emergency room of a hospital in Madrid, I am trying to get a degree in neuropsychology. I have 3 children: the boy is an engineer in robotics, my middle one is a cartoon illustrator and the youngest is in high school.
Passionate hiker, in my free time I practice drawing, painting and photography.
When did you contract COVID-19? What were your symptoms and for how long did you have them? What was your experience like?
I contracted covid in October 2020. The first two days post-confirmation test, I only had nasal congestion, the third day I had fever, muscle pain, cough, headache and fatigue. This went on for a week.
After that week the symptoms were decreasing, until I had fatigue for a few more weeks; and not forgetting the loss of taste and smell.
My experience with this disease was as if the symptoms that I had before the covid, were multiplied by 10, I felt that they were enhanced by the virus.
You’ve been having COVID-19 symptoms for several months now. Could you tell us a bit more about them (nature, frequency, intensity)? What are the after effects of COVID-19?
The intensity and frequency of symptoms during covid were very high. Too much for me, but it only lasted a week; the sequels are fatigue, anosmia, ageusia and regular headaches.
Are these symptoms incapacitating in your daily life?
I have bad days, when I can't carry out what I have planned, and other days when I have to plan, because out of three things I only do two, or one.
I have had to learn to live a day to day life of small plans, or none at all.
Also, according to specialists, you have an autoimmune disease, which one is it? Why haven't the doctors given you a definitive diagnosis yet?
I started with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism 7 years ago, 5 years ago my blood tests started to be more altered than normal: ANA+ and with a very high titter, pathological liver profile, but without symptoms. And 2 years ago symptoms common to autoimmune diseases started to appear.
I have had many blood tests, biopsies, exams, studies and they conclude that I have diffuse symptoms of an unspecified autoimmune disease.
For two years I have been receiving the common treatment for this type of disease (dolquine, prednisone and methotrexate) and my body has responded positively. They have tried to withdraw it, but I am relapsing again.
The doctors say that more specific blood tests are needed to be able to give me a diagnosis.
Do you feel that Covid-19 affects or has affected this disease? In what way?
Yes, I have felt that my symptoms have worsened over a period of about 3 months. Now, I don't know if it's the treatment I've been taking or the time that has elapsed, but I feel much better.
Regarding your current treatment, did you have to modify or cancel it because of Covid? What was or is your experience regarding this?
I did not have to modify anything. I followed the same guidelines. I had no problems.
Do you have any other conditions? If so, which ones? Do you think these conditions can cause any of the symptoms of long Covid?
Yes, I have degenerative osteoarthritis. But I don't think covid will alter my osteoarthritis any further.
What do you think of Long COVID care? Do you feel understood or supported by healthcare professionals?
In this sense, treatment has been very good on the part of my doctor and my nurse, and the health center in general. They were and continue to be attentive to me and my family, because covid hit us all at home.
And when I tell them about my persistent symptoms, they say that I am amongst the general population of people with the same post-covid symptoms.
How do you see the future? What are your plans?
I see a hopeful future, slow but positive.
My plans, which are going slowly but surely at the moment, are to finish my career, have a proper treatment after a definitive diagnosis and return to work.
What would you like to say to other members living with Long COVID? And to those affected by an autoimmune disease?
To those with covid and long covid, patience, in my case the symptoms subsided, they took their time, but they are gone.
To those who have autoimmune disease, I advise you the same thing that I was told in several support groups and that I take as a motto for my day to day life:
"don't feel bad for doing little or nothing, don't wear yourself out giving explanations, and if you can't do it today, it will be done tomorrow."
Any last words?
Although I don't have a diagnosis, and I can't put myself in a specific group, I empathize with many of you, whether by symptoms, thoughts, feelings... to tell you that positivism, a small dose of good vibes, a little exercise, doing an activity that we like, make difficult moments be just a fraction on that continuous horizon that we have every day to live and enjoy.
It has been a pleasure to share this piece of my experience with you.
Thanks again to MarthaM for sharing her testimonial with us on Carenity!
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