“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but wash your hands and wear a mask” by guest blogger Josh

Hi, hi, Leigh Ann here for just a second. I cannot stress enough the importance of today’s post. As Covid-19 cases have been spiking all across America, I feel that it’s really important for stories like this one to be on your radar. You’re about to hear from Josh, one of my very best friends. My hope is that this reiterates that this virus does not discriminate based on age, diet, level of physical activity, etc.

And listen, I get it. We are inundated with conflicting media coverage on this monster all day, everyday. I can see how you might consume the statistics with a chaser of skepticism if this virus (fortunately) hasn’t affected you or any of your loved ones. But as someone who’s spent hours on the phone with their healthy best friend struggling to get out of bed (on a good day), I have to plead with you: wear a mask, and practice social distancing. Whether you think it’s stupid or not, you likely won’t regret it. And now, let’s hear from Josh…

I tend to keep personal stuff off of my social media, but given what I continue to see daily on my feeds I think it is important to share what I’ve been experiencing for the past few months.  

Since March 17th, I have been dealing with what my doctor has diagnosed as “assumed Covid-19”.   This has been classified as “assumed” because my symptoms of shortness of breath, chest tightness and pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of taste, aches/pains/chills, heart palpitations, brain fog, dizziness, weight loss, GI issues and headaches were not enough to qualify me for initial testing due to my “mild case’”, age, and no underlying health conditions. Given the lack of testing at the time, I, along with many others, am not a statistic that you see in the media.   

To be completely transparent and upfront, I have never been this sick for this long in my entire life.  As someone who, prior to this, exercised daily and stuck to a well balanced diet, the need for paramedics to come to my house because I physically couldn’t walk down a flight of stairs to get to an emergency room is a testament to how ruthless and non-discriminatory this disease is.  The fact that even being able to walk down the street 3+ months from onset of symptoms still feels like a daydream is, to put it lightly… terrifying.  This happened to me, an individual who is “young and healthy”.

The first 2 months were mostly filled with days spent entirely in bed.  The thought of getting up and walking five feet to the restroom was absolutely debilitating.  I had lost 15 pounds (140 down to 125).  I barely had the strength to send texts to my family (who I haven’t seen in 5 months) how I was feeling.  I felt completely helpless as the world literally continued to shut down around me.  I wasn’t getting better and every day felt like groundhog day.  I would somehow manage to get to sleep at night, despite not being able to properly breathe, only to wake up and live the same exact day over again.  This happened everyday for two months straight.  TWO MONTHS.  Multiple emergency room visits and messages/video calls with my doctor occurred, only to be told that it’s just going to take time and rest, and that no treatment is available.  This thing takes a severe toll on you both physically and mentally.  

After dealing with symptoms daily for two months straight, I finally had the strength and lung capacity to get back to doing basic activities such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning around the house, but they were, and still very much are, tough and exhausting.  The things I used to do effortlessly and mindlessly are now strenuous. I truly didn’t understand how much I took for granted prior to this.  At least my lungs no longer felt like they had steel wool in them.  So how do I feel now?  I am still unable to be physically active, as I am still suffering from shortness of breath, but I continue to stay hopeful that relief is right around the corner.  The past month/recent days can only be described as a swinging pendulum.  I will have a few really good days where it seems like I can finally breath again and then out of nowhere, the symptoms will return and I will be down for the count for a week.  This thing is not linear.  However, I am looking forward to the day that this pendulum stops for good and I can resume a normal life.   

My doctor is confident and reassured based on my EKG’s, chest x rays, bloodwork, and other vitals that I will get through this thing.  That my body is just taking more time than others.  That I cleared the virus a while ago and now I’m just dealing with the aftermath.  I’m someone I have been seeing termed as a “long hauler.” 

I have hesitated to speak about my experience, but 100+ days later, I am now seeing how fortunate I am to have the ability to do that, as hundreds of thousands of people can not.  If my words/experience can potentially be influential and eye opening, it is 100% worth it for me to share.  This thing is very real and you don’t know how it will affect you until you get it. Which I genuinely hope you do not (I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy).  Be kind to others and continue to practice social distancing, washing your hands and wearing a mask until we can figure out how to effectively fight this thing.  Like everything in life, this is only temporary.

So yeah, I don’t share Josh’s story to scare you. I share it because I care about many of you, and no boat ride/beach vacation/bachelorette party/martini on a patio/whatever else is worth a potential situation playing out where 100+ days of feeling like shit is actually a best case scenario. I’m glad to have Josh here today, and I’m glad to have you here if you’re reading this. Let’s protect each other and come out on the other side of this better.

Thanks so much to Josh for sharing his experience!







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