COVID-19 which is short for of Coronavirus Disease 2019, has come as a total surprise which shocked and blindsided the world! Despite all the sophisticated modern medicine today it has made us look completely helpless as we have no cure or treatment at this time for this potentially fatal disease. Coronavirus induces a disease process which can be accompanied by symptoms to include cough, chills, sweats, fever, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, and tragically in some cases even death. It also seems we all are potentially going to catch this highly contagious coronavirus at some point as the pathogen can go airborne as well as being able to live on certain surfaces for up to days.
It is as if some alien force is attacking humanity by penetrating the very core of our DNA. Additionally, it would seem to be the most sophisticated contagious virus that has ever hit us. In reality the corona virus is not technically alive and is little more than a packet of genetic material encased by a spiky protein shell just a thousandth of the width of an eyelash. The whole problem starts when it enters the human airway and hijacks our normal functioning cells and replicates millions of copies of itself.
The particularly terrible thing about COVID-19 compared to other diseases, (such as Ebola which is also a potentially fatal airborne disease), is COVID-19 lays dormant from 2 to 14 days before an individual expresses symptoms, all the while potentially infecting many others silently. For many people COVID-19 appears out of the blue hitting them symptomatically like a ton of bricks. Some people that catch COVID-19 will go through literal hell, and will not know if they’ll survive, and so unfortunately some don’t and won’t make it. During this time, we watch the news and hear stories of people dying daily in our state, city, and even local county due to the novel COVID-19 infection.
Believe it or not, COVID-19 has been in the USA for longer than the major news outlets are willing to confirm. Whether the government knew this and kept it as a secret or not, we may never know! This is my story.
I wanted to share my experience hoping it will help someone else out there. My experience is unique, simply because I don’t have a spleen. The spleen is a very valuable organ and while not essential for life, assists the immune system in a number of ways: 1.) It acts as a filter for the blood, 2.) It fights certain kinds of bacteria that may cause pneumonia and meningitis, 3.) It synthesizes antibodies which help to fight infection.
In addition to not having a spleen, my lungs are compromised because I had tuberculosis when I was just two years old while growing up in the old USSR, which left a little bit of scar tissue in one of my lungs.
As you can imagine without both a spleen as well as a personal history of a respiratory ailment, I am more susceptible to the havoc that covid-19 can incur as you will see below!
IT ALL STARTED IN NOVEMBER 2019
Back on November 20th my husband went to a local Chinese supermarket that also served meals in our hometown – Matthews NC, to grab himself something to eat. While being served, the employee at the counter was coughing profusely. My husband was so distraught; he actually snatched a picture of the sick store employee and showed me later that evening, complaining that a food server appeared to be ill as such. Anyway, we all forgot about this and moved on.
In the beginning of December, I started coughing. Thinking to myself that it was a slight lingering cough, I tried to ignore it – hoping it would just go away. Time went on and my cough actually got worse. Come the holidays, I was still hopeful that my cough would go away. But much to my dismay it did not. It got significantly worse and was relentless, and just at the end of the holidays, I was able to schedule myself an appointment with a pulmonologist.
On January 6th, I saw Dr X – a pulmonologist and critical care specialist. On my visit, he examined me, and asked if I had been around sick people, to which I said no. He diagnosed me with unspecified bronchitis, gave me a steroid shot, prescribed some steroidal medications, and sent me on my way. I believed in his treatment and was reassured this was the key to my wellness. Shortly after going home, I was coughing so much that I decided to take the entire week off from work. I was given the option to work from home specifically to potentially avoid making my coworkers sick, and I gladly exercised that option.
Two days later on Wednesday the 8th my cough was still bad. I began feeling chills contrasted with sweats throughout my body, extreme fatigue, and body aches. Concurrently, my temperature was rising. I called Dr X’s office explained my symptoms, and was given a prescription of antibiotics, specifically doxycycline.
I took the antibiotics but my health deteriorated even further. Additionally, my lungs started to hurt, and each night the pain seemed to further worsen. I had difficulty breathing which just kept getting worse with time. The pain got so bad a few days later that I couldn’t even lay down anymore. To sleep I was forced to prop myself to a sitting position and had to take a Tylenol and Advil combination for pain management. The pain in both my lungs felt as if someone or something was cutting into them with a knife!
That weekend although still in pain, I decided to force myself to
get out of the house. My husband and I took our kids to the North Carolina Zoo.
Even though I was sick, I thought it would be a good idea to get a bit of fresh
air and exercise and circulate my blood in nature.
I was still coughing my lungs out, and was miserable, sick, tired, and experiencing shortness of breath. At the end of the day, all I could think to myself was this is not “normal” bronchitis. I have been sick plenty of times but this seemed so much worse. I thought to myself “I seriously do not know if I can make it through this!”
Meanwhile, my husband started getting many of the same symptoms although his shortness of breath and pain was nowhere as severe as mine was. His main symptoms were: relentless coughing, chills and sweats, fever, severe body aches (notably in his upper legs), pain throughout his body, and extreme fatigue.
My younger boys, 3 and 6, seemed to be just fine at the time. I was just grateful it appeared that they didn’t have whatever it was that my husband and I caught. They probably would not make it through otherwise, I kept thinking.
At work, I was then assigned to a big project, which required me to be physically present and return to a building with at least 500 people.
On Monday, Jan 13th, I had no choice but to return to work out of fear I could lose my job. On my way to work, I called the pulmonologist’s office, and told him that the antibiotic he prescribed was not helping and might have even made me worse (I was thinking I could have had an allergic reaction to the prescribed medication which was exacerbating things). I was advised by the office at the time that Dr X wasn’t available for a visit because he was doing hospital rounds.
I cried to my husband that evening complaining about my symptoms and that I was having a really hard time breathing. I told him I’m calling the pulmonologist’s office. The nurse on call called me back and listened to me, and then advised me to go to Emergency Room. She said she was sending them a message and they would be expecting me. I arrived there at approximately 8:30 pm or so, and I waited till about 2 am. I was upset that I wasn’t being attended to by the staff present. I walked out, thinking that I better leave so I can make it to my meeting that morning at work, and that I would then schedule an appointment with one of Dr. X’s pulmonology partners. I thought to myself if I can just survive the evening, I will be ok tomorrow and just see the pulmonologist that next day.
Jan 15th, I was able to secure an appointment that afternoon with Dr P., another pulmonologist and partner of Dr. X. During my visit, I informed him of my worsening symptoms. I thought I was going crazy, thinking maybe I had pneumonia or worse tuberculosis. I requested a CT scan for my own peace of mind, as well as stronger antibiotics. He listened to me, then explained that it’s not possible to feel pain in the lungs and said maybe I possibly had pleurisy (inflammation of the lungs). After some thought, he said that all he could do for me was prescribe Levaquin which is a strong antibiotic used for pneumonia, as well as order me a CT of my chest and lungs. I said, yes please, that’s what I’m here for! So, I began my next course of treatment with 7 days with Levaquin. Then as soon as my insurance approved, I scheduled my CT scan.
At approximately the same time, my 6 year old started complaining of headaches, chills, and began coughing. Him and other kids in his class were being sent home daily. Many in his class seemed to be going through a “bad flu” season. At the same time, we began reading stories of a police officer in his 20s, as well as a teenager, who both died from respiratory issues and flu-like symptoms that was written off as the flu. My husband was quite irritated and consistently coughing to the point where he was regularly downing Dayquil and Nyquil to little avail, while consecutively fighting a fever. He was busy during this time but was getting ready to call the dr. as well.
Being upset that I wasn’t able to go to the gym due to being sick, I asked my husband to go to a local park for a hike. We went late in the afternoon when almost everyone was gone. Still coughing, I somehow made it through our 4-mile trek.
I even decided to join the Peloton app to help me exercise on my spinning bike or treadmill. Even though I coughed like crazy, I still tried to get fitness in my life to enhance circulation and my immune system. Not having a spleen, I know the importance of keeping moving and getting my blood flowing.
After 7 day course of strong antibiotic treatment, my cough was still pretty bad. I no longer had chills, but I was still coughing a great deal and experiencing shortness of breath. I scheduled another visit on Feb 3rd, with Dr X again to go over my CT scan results and ask for a refill of my antibiotics.
On my visit, Dr X seemed quite surprised. He looked at my CT and said things looked pretty normal. Also, he reiterated his partners view that it wasn’t possible to experience pain in the lungs and I perhaps had pleurisy. He also advised me that it was risky to refill Levaquin due to the dangerous side effects of this potent medication.
I took another course of the antibiotics and my cough seemed to finally get somewhat better, however it would not go away entirely. Many of the same symptoms persisted– cough, shortness of breath, pain in the lungs, body aches, and fatigue.
For my birthday, which was February 10th, I decided to go to Folly Beach, South Carolina to be by the ocean. I thought the ocean air could help heal my lungs. We stayed at the Tides Hotel right on the ocean.
After my birthday celebration weekend, I demanded that my family clean our house from top to bottom with a mindset it may help me recover.
Being upset with Dr X and Dr P as well as the aforementioned course of events, I was determined to find another Dr now. I needed to find myself a primary care physician anyway, since my old PCP closed his practice.
At the time no one thought I had the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as it was only in later February that more prominent news started surfacing about this novel disease.
Come March, even more news broke out concerning COVID-19 hitting cruise ships and cities around the USA, which eventually shut down schools, public places, and many businesses.
Listening to the reported symptoms, it became crystal clear to my family and I that COVID-19 is exactly what we all had! While antibody tests are not “currently” available for people who think they were infected with COVID-19 and recovered, we are convinced our very serious ailment could not possibly be anything else but the novel corona virus!
As soon as antibody testing for COVID-19 is available for us, we plan to get tested and will post our results here!
While dealing with what I firmly believe to be COVID-19, following is my specific diet and supplementation to make sure my family and I recovered: Read How to Win the War Against Covid-19