A San Diego ICU nurse is looking back at the pandemic following her 10-month long journey since contracting COVID-19. On Thursday she shared how she's feeling extra hopeful after the CDC said fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks outdoors and indoors, in most circumstances.
“Getting back to living is what I’m excited to see in the future,” said Marianna Cisneros.
While the days ahead look bright for 30-year-old Cisneros, her journey since testing positive for COVID-19 has been dark.
“I started losing vision in my right eye and that didn’t make any sense, my blood pressure was skyrocketing, I didn’t have any underlying health conditions at the time so none of it made sense,” said Cisneros.
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In July of 2020 the ICU nurse contracted the coronavirus and began feeling atypical symptoms. Things took a turn three weeks into her infection when she was hospitalized for six days.
“It was very traumatic, very traumatic,” said Cisneros. “At that point is when I thought for a brief moment that COVID was probably going to kill me, I had no idea what was going on. My doctors had no idea what was going on.”
The active ICU nurse said she lived a healthy lifestyle. She was also a fitness competitor with no underlying health conditions. She credits the nurses and team that cared for her during her hospital stay.
“It was like they were taking care of one of their own that was fallen, like a fallen front line healthcare worker,” she said.
The mother of three won the hospital battle and was sent home to recover, during the winter surge is when she began dealing with aggressive COVID-19 "long hauler" symptoms.
“That was scary, very scary and it was awful for me to be at home sick knowing that I had a set of skills as a nurse and I couldn’t be there with my team helping at the bed side,” she said.
Cisneros fought to get back into the hospital to work, but her road to recovery hasn't been easy. In the winter she was diagnosed with a little-known syndrome called POTS, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system.
“But, I am fortunate enough to be here and my husband still has a wife and my children still have a mother and I know that's not the case for a lot of people, so I try to wake up very grateful every day for the fact that I'm still here,” she shared.
During her time recovering she began advocating for post-COVID care clinics, and now she's thrilled to see them appearing across San Diego County.
“I’m so grateful and I’m so blessed because if you looked at me, gosh, like six, seven months ago I couldn’t even stand for five minutes, and granted I’m still on medication and it's given me a quality of life,” she said. “But I’m back at work full time, I can play with my kids, I can go hang out with my husband.”
In March following doctor approval, she received her COVID-19 vaccine, and while she's not back inside the emergency room yet she is back as a nurse under a different role.
“So now I’m able to reintegrate myself in my roles as a mom, wife, nurse and that in itself is amazing,” said Cisneros.
Cisneros urges others to not give up if they are still feeling lingering symptoms and to ask for help from a post-COVID care clinic, which are becoming more and more accessible.