19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA
Burleigh County
I hope my story shows people that you can be a healthy and active person like myself and have your life completely flipped upside down by COVID.

I was a healthy 39-year-old female with no underlying health conditions when I tested positive for COVID-19 from a work exposure in late October 2020.


My husband and I run the Fargo half marathon every year, and I keep active with our three kids by biking literally hundreds of miles around our community. We enjoy hiking, kayaking, downhill skiing, and cross country skiing.


I am a health care provider, and I agreed to help cover a maternity leave between four long-term care facilities in Burleigh and Morton counties. Because these facilities were doing proactive testing twice a week of all employees, I tested positive before I became symptomatic.


Five days after testing positive, I started to experience shortness of breath. It felt like I was permanently wearing an n95 respirator mask and that an elephant was sitting on my chest. Concerned about pneumonia, I would lie on my stomach and make myself cough, even though I did not need to, in order to keep my lungs clear. I never had a fever, loss of taste or smell, or body aches, none of the usual symptoms. I was fatigued, and once out of isolation, I would get really short of breath from walking from my bedroom to the couch.


On day 19, I experienced severe shortness of breath and the sensation that I was going to pass out. My children witnessed me being hauled away in an ambulance, and they had to wait with police officers until a friend could pick them up and take them home.


In the emergency room, we were concerned about a blood clot in my lungs. Thankfully I did not have any blood clots. The physician thought maybe I was experiencing myocarditis and gave me instructions to not do anything strenuous until my symptoms cleared.


Almost 11 months later, my symptoms still have not cleared. I did see a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. My heart and lungs are structurally sound and functioning properly; however, the part of my nervous system that helps control the automatic functions of my body was affected by COVID.


My heart rate would skyrocket to 136 bpm during showers and with simple tasks like cooking and washing dishes. My children (oldest 12) took over tasks such as laundry, vacuuming, mopping, washing dishes, and helping cook as my husband is also a health care provider and was needed at the hospital.


I began researching dysautonomia, specifically postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Because of my background, training, and education, I was able to research and follow the recommendations for dysautonomia and began treating myself to teach my body that it was okay to be upright without having my heart rate drastically increase.


I am now able to go for walks, but I’m unable to run. Raising and keeping my heart rate elevated on purpose is still difficult for me to do true cardiovascular exercise, as I will still experience shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart palpitations.


I hope my story shows people that you can be a healthy and active person like myself and have your life completely flipped upside down by COVID.


I believe my body attacked itself instead of the virus.


I don’t have an autoimmune disorder or any family history, and there is no rhyme or reason as to why my body reacted the way it did. I was infected before the vaccine was available, but I did receive both vaccine shots and plan to get a booster to make sure my body knows how to react if I am infected again.

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