Jennifer V

Jennifer V., IL

My Name is Jennifer. I am only 29 years old and I am currently battling Pots/Dysautonomia and partial seizures caused by COVID-19.

I caught Omnicron around December 29, 2021. Only a few days until the new year. I was very hopeful and had many goals and dreams that I wanted to accomplish. I had a job that I loved very much, I also was given the opportunity to share my art around the city with many beautiful people and I couldn't have had it any other way. 

I was convinced that 2022 was going to be my year that I would flourish. During the infection,  I had mild symptoms until I began to experience chest pain, high heart rate and a semi-collapsed lung. I went to the hospital and was told I was fine and to rest up. I had recovered perfectly fine within the week and decided to continue my life and go back to work. Three weeks later, my resting heart rate was sitting at 130, and as months went on I had tachycardia, weakness and shortness of breath.

I began to experience symptoms of dementia and starting hallucinating. Soon, I had blood pooling, tremors, severe changes in blood pressure and I lost my ability to walk all of a sudden along with exercise intolerance. I couldn't walk 10 steps without almost collapsing and began to experience more than 30 symptoms along with my first partial seizures. It was like spiraling and being dragged into something terrifyingly indescribable. My whole life had changed in a matter of months and I wasn't sure what to think of this situation, how to process it or if I was even going through live through this. 

I was afraid to die, I was afraid to be left alone. I was afraid of what every single day was in store for me and didn't know if I even had the strength to pull through this. I had lost my job, I lost everything I had ever worked hard for, went to the ER more than 60 times. I lost my dreams, I lost my sense of self, I lost my creativity, I also lost friends along the way. I lost everything.

I have survived and pulled through a year later. The universe lent me the strength I didn't know I had, along with the support of my family and the few of the friends who have remained, and my doctor who diagnosed me with POTS/Dysautonomia. I slowly began to work my way into standing up because I no longer wished to be bedbound. I had and still have the hunger to rise from this. I cried whenever I would fail, I would get frustrated but nevertheless i wasn't going to give up on myself. I started therapy, I learned from other long COVID survivors and I began to work with a physical therapist and today, I am able to stand on my own two feet with better stability, but still need a lot of work to be able to walk longer distances.

Out of the 30 symptoms I experienced, I am going through about 15 of them today. Remember when I said 2022 was the year I would flourish? It came true. I have been expressing my pain, story and art to inspire other COVID Long Haulers to never give up no matter how deep and difficult this gets. I learned to hold my loved ones closer and to live in the moment. I've found happiness in the little things and learned that the journey that truly matters is within. I hope to one day say "It was only a bad dream."
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