Surviving COVID-19: The Onset and Aftermath Explained by ‘Long-Haul' Survivors

Imagine it's three months after you have recovered from COVID-19 and you can still barely get out of bed.

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People who have recovered from COVID-19 are sending a warning: Do not take this virus lightly.

The 85,000-plus members of the Facebook group Survivor Corps want you to know the virus can have lasting effects on your body long after it has left your system, most of which doctors are still trying to understand.

Photos: COVID-19 Survivors Journal Symptoms and After Effects

“I just struggle with just basic things, like I have to lay down and rest after I do the dishes," said Rancho Bernardo’s Catrina Webb. "The laundry is always impossible because I'm just lifting and it's heavy and my hands will start to hurt and swell.”

This is not how Catrina Webb expected to spend her year: struggling to recover from COVID-19 so badly that she's unable to care for her 9-year-old daughter.

“The more we know, the more know it attacks so many parts of your body and it affects your blood cells and your brain and your lungs, Webb said.

She says the virus leaves many survivors with long-lasting complications and doctors don’t even know if the symptoms will ever go away.

"There is a significant number of us who don't' get better after two weeks,” Webb explained.

Jennica Harris from San Marcos is an active, healthy and young mother whose world has completely changed since her diagnosis.

“I’ve been an athlete my entire life,” Harris said. “I was walking up hills, walking miles during pregnancy, working out, lifting weights. I'm not the active person that I used to be.”

Harris said the virus has left her with lingering after effects, things she struggles with long after the virus left her system.

“It's this is how I feel, I have this ache, I have this pain, joint pain, headache, brain fog, I lose my train of thought. I lose the words that I'm trying to find, I'm forgetful, shortness of breath,” Harris said. “It's every single day, all of these symptoms remind me that it's still here or that my body is still reacting to it.”

Mackenzie Saideman, a 23-year-old from Mira Mesa was doing what she loved when she contracted the coronavirus. She attended an outdoor music festival in early March and started feeling symptoms shortly after.

“Shortness of breath, chest pains was probably the scariest part,” Saideman said. “I lost my smell and taste and it's been about 4 months now, actually over 4 months and my sense of smell and taste is not completely back.”

Saideman now has a daily regimen of pills and vitamins to help her deal with long lasting after effects that the virus has left on her body, something all these women say not enough people understand.

“It's been hair loss, joint pain, my feet sting so bad that some days I can't walk,” Webb said.

“It’s been frustrating because there are no answers and I still feel sick,” Harris says. “My body has been broken down and COVID has wreaked havoc on it.”

All say they want people to understand just how much they're struggling and that it can happen to anyone.

“I don't know if anything I'm dealing with is going to get better and I don't think that it's something that should be taken lightly,” Harris said.

These ladies and the other members of Survivor Corps say they aren’t trying to scare anyone, but they just want people to truly understand what recovering from COVID really means.

Just because a patient is considered recovered from COVID-19 doesn't mean they're done battling physical ailments associated with the disease.
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