An Army veteran who survived COVID-19 went from recovered and working out to sick again, and wondering whether or not her lungs will ever heal.
Yvette Paz is a fitness fanatic and fighter. The former San Diegan battled back from COVID-19 after taking part in the hydroxychloroquine clinical trials in March of this year.
She even video blogged her recovery. In one clip she recorded from her bed, she said, “My blood cells are probably losing their mind right now.”
For a while she thought she was recovered and eventually ramped up her fitness routine. Then, nearly five months later, the 30-year-old started noticing something wrong during her workouts.
“My lungs just felt stuck again. I took the inhaler and took two puffs," she said ending with a cough.
Paz went to the hospital August 12 and got quite a scare.
“The doctors said my lungs had COVID patches. I called my best friend and I was crying,” she remembered. “'It’s happening again,”' I told her. I got so scared."
Paz's recent COVID-19 tests came back negative, but she was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Wednesday morning after her follow-up visit, Paz shared her x-rays along with unfortunate news in a video.
“The COVID damage that has been created has now spread to more parts of my lungs," she explained.
Armed with medication to help her recover, the Army veteran is now wondering about her future health.
“In patients who do develop a severe lung inflammation and injury, they do become more susceptible to subsequent infections," said Pulmonologist Dr. Viji Sankar.
Dr. Sankar isn’t Paz’s doctor, but she treats COVID-19 patients at Kaiser Permanente’s Intensive Care Unit.
When asked about infected people ever being able to get back their lung capacity, Dr. Sankar said the true impact of COVID-19 will only be known over time and that the severity of the illness determines the recovery.
“Based on our prior experience with other viral infections, which includes influenza which has put people in the I.C.U, we do know people actually do lose some lung capacity, possibly when they have a severe infection,” said Dr. Sankar.
“Here I am five months later still going through it and possibly susceptible to getting sick in the future. So I think we all need to slow down and realize we’re not invincible," said Paz.
Paz is chronicling everything and working with her doctors to help others.
She doesn't know how she contracted the virus, though she did work two large-scale events before the March shutdown.