Wednesday, March 15 is Long Covid Awareness Day.
I'm so glad there is an effort to raise awareness about Long Covid, because there are many issues at play, and thousands, if not millions of people have had this illness but many are not getting the help they need.
When I was at my worst with Long Covid, I felt completely debilitated. I couldn't drive, I couldn't exercise, and I couldn't leave the house. I wouldn't dare go out to dinner or be a part of a social event, in case I should I run out of energy. My life revolved around my limited capacity and deciding whether or not something would push me into the "danger zone." Easy tasks before I was sick became tremendous mountains to climb.
However, others have had it way worse than me. I am so grateful to feel better now and be able to do everything I could do before I was sick such as working many hours and exercising, though sometimes, I may not be able to do everything all on the same day. My body remembers, and especially when confronted with an immune threat such as some other kind of virus, it may respond in ways I'm not used to. In spite of this, it's now rare that I have a bad day, and it's been many months since I last had a flare up. I want to help point people to resources and other ideas that could help them get out of the pit of Long Covid as quickly as possible.
My story began with inexplicable, never-before panic attacks that resulted in my going to the ER. This was during the time my husband was sick for the first time with a bad case of Covid. It was so bad, his fever spiked to 105. Thankfully, after monoclonal antibody treatment, he turned the corner.
After testing, everyone (doctors, cardiologist, psychiatrist, therapist), told me I was dealing with panic attacks. Still, because I had never had panic attacks before, I felt that wasn't quite the case. I was unable to exercise, and it felt as though any kind of normal activity that required more exertion than sitting on the couch resulted in me facing a panic attack. It was like my cells were facing an energy crisis. What I didn't know was, they were actually suffocating.
I didn't want to take SSRIs, so I sought the help of herbal medicine, which kept me going day to day. Things like passionflower every few hours, a blend of choline and inositol, and a supplement called True Hope EMpower Plus became my lifeline.
However, I knew I wasn't getting to the root issue, because I started getting other symptoms such as extreme fatigue, a strange "electricity" feeling in my chest, brain fog, POTS, irregular heartbeat, exercise intolerance, waking up out of sleep in a panic, and just constantly feeling like I was on the edge of a cliff. My bloodwork was perfect. I did a series of heart tests, and those were also fine.
I took many supplements and medicines which got me functional again, including one supplement in particular that made my allergies go away. Then frustratingly, I contracted the virus again. I never had a symptomatic infection the first time around, and the positive Covid antibody test confirmed I was exposed.
After the second infection had cleared up, I went to an event out in the heat and the next day, I had a bad reaction. It felt as though I might die or pass out — I wasn’t sure which. It felt like all the tabs were open on my body’s computer screen and I was on the verge of shutting down. I recovered from that day, but I realized even after all of the cell healing I had been doing with supplements and even though I was functional, I hadn’t quite gotten all of the pieces of the puzzle. That’s when I sought the help of Dr. Bruce Patterson's group, IncellDX and their Chronic Covid Treatment Center. After taking their cytokine blood panel, FINALLY something showed up! Now we were on to something.
They prescribed me a statin according to my cytokine blood panel results. This was supposed to get to the root of Long Haul Covid according to their research, which was vascular inflammation. I tried it, and at first, I had possibly the worst panic attack I had ever had.
I was on my way to my mother-in-law’s birthday celebration in the rain, (rain and cloudy weather always made things worse), and I just could not make it there. I called my husband in a frenzy and he and my mom stayed on the phone with me to try to help me get safely home. I had to take Ativan in the middle of that drive because things were just getting too crazy, and I felt as though my body my explode.
Later, I realized that activated charcoal would help these reactions. I sure wish I had known about that in January! I have a theory as to why activated charcoal helped, but I’ll leave that to the researchers. (Note that you should not take this at the same time as other medications or supplements, as it will make them less effective.)
Regardless, several days after taking the statin, the fullness in my head started to go way down. I didn’t realize my head had been so swollen! I was told by the Dr. Patterson group not to do any cardio until I had cleared the vascular inflammation. After about six weeks, I tried exercising again. The same month I entered an online body building competition. I’m not quite where I want to be yet, but I lost 30 pounds compared to my starting weight. I was the heaviest I had ever been at the height of my sickness in early 2022 at 191 pounds.
Solutions for Long Haulers
One of the biggest problems for long haulers is not being believed by doctors and family members, and being written off as just having anxiety or panic attacks, like I was.
This is not the case. Something is definitely wrong in the body that needs to be remedied. I am so grateful to Dr. Patterson and his team, and my naturopath, for helping me through this journey.
It is my hope that we can not only end the gaslighting of long haulers by the medical community, but also that people can get the help they need to heal. Often this requires nontraditional treatments which can be expensive, such as HBOT therapy. Some treatments work for some long haulers, and some don’t. There is an individual component to this, as many long haulers often have other conditions such as Lyme or ME/CFS and may not know it. Long haul Covid can reactivate dormant viruses, and testing and treatment can get expensive.
Some long haulers are so debilitated they cannot work. We need to put legislation into place that can solve these problems.
Another problem I have experienced many times is censorship of solutions. It’s the reason I put most of the information of what helped me into an eBook initially. I was censored if I talked about the first medication that drastically turned my health around. I haven’t mentioned it in this article in case it is still being censored. But regardless, due to this censorship, I believe many many people have been blocked from life-saving information. This is also an issue that needs to be addressed.
This site is not meant to be political. It is a natural health website, and as a certified health coach, my goal is to educate and empower people with information about natural remedies that can help the body heal and thrive. But today, since this site exists because of my journey with long Covid and what I went through, I could not help but talk about the issues facing long haulers and some things that could potentially help. My hope is that every long hauler finds the answers they need!
You can download my eBook, 22+ Things that Helped Me with Long Haul here. You’ll also get access to a free video course I put together along with the eBook.
If you have had long Covid, I’d love to hear what has helped you. Please drop me a line at email@example.com. My prayer is that everyone who is still sick with this debilitating illness recovers as quickly as possible.
Some doctors who could help: