What it Feels Like to Have COVID-19

I am now more than two months out from this coronavirus and still experiencing symptoms...

(Image of the "Fearless Girl" statue wearing a face mask with American Flags outside the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street on April 23, 2020 in New York City. Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP, via Getty Images.)

A lot of you have been so kind to ask about my health and how I have been doing after struggling with the coronavirus for the last several months. It was an incredibly scary experience and I decided to detail most of the important aspects of what was happening every few days here at SHERO so that anyone who had gotten this virus or would get it would not feel so alone. You can read “Trying to Get Tested for COVID-19to get more information on how I handled being sick and what the experience was like.

I also wanted to quickly update you on how things are for me now. I am a few months out and I am still struggling with a few symptoms. I still have that horrible dry cough and every day on the phone with my mom when I sound like I am hacking up a lung she says, like clockwork, “Oh, my GOD that sounds like it really hurts, when is that going to go away.” It only hurts half as bad as it sounds, so no one worry.

I also still have lung and breathing issues and had to go back on my secondary inhaler, which is a medication called Flovent. I tried an inhaler that is a bronchodilator without steroids called Spiriva, but it just could not clear up my lungs after a week or so, so I switched back to an inhaler that I know works. It also took my insurance nearly two weeks to just authorize filling the prescription, so that maddening bonus was super fun.

Now I rarely have to use my albuterol rescue inhaler, but I still have to use it when I do any level of exercise or carry groceries up the stairs. My lungs are officially clear and that cheese grater sound that my breathing was making as I slept has cleared up. I still have some major fatigue, which could partially be a side effect from the Flovent, but I am hearing from people who have had and still have this virus that they are struggling with energy months out as well. Good thing most of us are stuck at home.

You can also listen to this appearance I did last night on The Chip Franklin Show where we discussed my experiences as well as how frustrated we are about areas in the United States deciding to re-open without any real testing or protection. Chip was the first person to invite me to be on the radio and he has always been so supportive of my work, so it was a real pleasure to speak with him about this COVID-19 experience. You can listen to the segment here:

I worry about the long term ramifications for my body and what I can expect the long-term issues to be. Will I have even more decreased lung capacity? Will my kidneys, liver, heart or any other major organs be affected? Will the capillaries in my lungs, which were so impacted by this virus, ever fully recover. I already know my adrenal glands have taken a substantial hit from the stress on my body of being sick. The medical community is doing all they can to triage this situation and we aren’t even testing to the level we need to be…will anyone even bother to examine what the long term side effects will be for people like us?

A lot of you have reached out to me with questions and concerns after reading what I went through and I have tried to get answers to all of you. If you still have concerns, you can comment below and I will try and answer there. If you want to speak with me privately about something, you can always DM me on Twitter or send me an email at avanderpool@gmail.com and I will get back to you as quickly as I can. Keep in mind that I can’t give you medical advice, but I explain what may have worked for me. Reminder that if you are ill, you need to contact your doctor immediately.

Thanks again to all of you for your continuing support in this and all things. Now, let’s roll — we have some elections to win in November.

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